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Friday, October 28, 2011

Forty-six organizations sent letters of support for MPO's TIGER III complete streets project grant application


On October 31st, the Lee MPO submitted it's application for a TIGER III grant to fund a complete streets initiative. As part of the application, an amazing 46 organizations & entities responded to BikeWalkLee's request for letters of support. We would like to thanks the following organizations for their letters of support:
• LeHigh Acres Economic Development Board, Edd Weiner, CEO
• Florida Wildlife Federation, Nancy Payton, Southwest Florida Field Representative
• School District of Lee County, Dr. Joseph Burke, Superintendent
• Lee County Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, Dr. Margaret Banyan, Chair
• Easter Seals, Debra Lynne, Vice President
• Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Liz Donley, Interim Executive Director
• Lee County Board of County Commissioners, Frank Mann, Chair
• Housing Authority of Fort Myers, Marcus Goodson, Executive Director
• Southwest Florida Addiction Services, Kevin Lewis, Chief Executive Officer
• Estero Council of Community Leaders, Don Eslick, Chair
• Department of Health, Judith Hartner, Director
• Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, Tamara Pigott, Executive Director
• Boston Red Sox, Katie Haas, Director of Florida Business Operations
• Healthy Start of Southwest Florida, Cathy Timuta, Executive Director
• United States Senate, Senator Bill Nelson
• Florida House of Representatives, Representative Gary Aubuchon
• Palm Beach Boulevard Community Panel, Kenneth Breffle
• American Planning Association of Florida Chapter Promised Lands, Alexis Crespo, Chair
• AARP, Jeff Johnson, State Director
• BikeWalkLee, Darla Letourneau
• Sheriff Lee County, Mike Scott, Sheriff
• Fort Myers YMCA, Jim Sanger, Area President
• Lee MPO, MPO Board
• Stay Alive Just Drive, Jay Anderson, Executive Director
• LeeTran, Steven Myers, Transit Director
• Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO
• City of Bonita Springs, Carl Schwing, City Manager
• Florida Gulf Coast University, Wilson Bradshaw, President
• Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency, Don Paight, Executive Director
• Lee Memorial Health Systems, Jim Nathan, President
• Sanibel Bicycle Club, Michael Miller, President-Elect
• Florida Bicycle Association, Timothy Bustos, Executive Director
• Town of Fort Myers Beach, Terry Stewart, Town Manager
• Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Colleen Depasquale, Executive Director
• Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Bert Hamilton
• City of Sanibel, Kevin Ruane, Mayor
• Spikowski Planning Associates, Bill Spikowski
• River of Grass Greenway, Maureen Bonness Co- Director
• Florida Planning and Zoning Association, Paula McMichael, Chapter Director
• Residents of lee County, Robbie B. Roepstorff
• Reconnecting Lee County, Beverly Grady
• Collier Smart Growth Coalition, Stacy Revay, Chair
• United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties, Clifford Smith, President
• ULI, David Farmer, Chairman
* State Representative Matt Caldwell
* Fort Myers City Mayor, Randy Henderson

THANK YOU!!!

Now we wait until the Winter/Spring to hear the results of the national competition. Fingers crossed!

Funding for Lee County MPO transportation projects in FDOT’s 5-year work plan


Report by Darla Letourneau: 10/28/11

Background: In June of each year, the Lee MPO submits its 5-year list of priority projects to FDOT for consideration. FDOT reviews the list against available resources and decides what projects to fund. In October of each year, the "FDOT draft work plan" is presented to the MPO for approval. Finally, in December, the FDOT work plan is finalized by FDOT and it becomes the funding plan. Of course, as funding shortfalls occur or additional funds become available, FDOT revises this work plan.

BikeWalkLee reviewed the FDOT draft plan 2012-17and made comments about the plan at MPO committee and board meetings in October. The work plan was approved by the MPO Board on 10/28/11. The following are highlights of BikeWalkLee’s analysis and comments:

Global Look
For the MPO’s 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan ( LRTP) and policy priorities by the Board to be meaningful, they need to track the results and keep policymakers informed as to how these decisions fit into that big picture framework vs. just reviewing a list of projects.
• What is split by mode share & how does that compare to last yr?
• How are we implementing the goal of making road improvements first before creating new road capacity?
• How does FDOT plan compare to the MPO Board’s June 2011 priority request?
• Did FDOT support the priorities the Board established?
• How does the mix of types of projects change from what the Board requested?

BikeWalkLee’s analysis shows that:
• Overall, we’re moving in right direction, consistent with LRTP goals and with MPO priorities.
• There is a major increase in transit in this 5-year plan—mode share to transit jumped from 11% to 20%--which is consistent with the LRTP. The recent LeeTran federal competitive grant award of $13.9 M further adds to the increased investment in transit in our community.
• With respect to road improvement vs. increased capacity, our analysis shows that split is 22% improvement and 73% increased capacity, which is a better split than in the MPO’s June request (15/85).
• As a share of the total transportation dollars to the Lee MPO, bike/ped has increased from 2% to 3%.—up 1/3 over last year.

Bike/Ped Projects in 5-Year Plan

FDOT District 1 (thank you, Trinity Scott) again prepared special tables that allow us to easily see what’s in the work plan for bike/ped.
Click here to see the tables.
• There are 24 bike/ped stand-alone projects in the 5-year plan, 5 more than last year, totaling $11.3 million (up slightly from $11.2 M last year.
• The list of bike/ped priority projects submitted the MPO in June was funded—with exception of 2 regional enhancement requests--10-Mile Linear phase V, and the complete streets demonstration project in Fort Myers. Hopefully, they’ll be considered next year.
• On projects where a portion of road project will benefit bike/ped –there are 26 road projects totaling $91.8 million that include bike/ped facilities. Of these, 4 safety projects, totaling $4.1 Million, (using federal highway safety funds (HSIP)), should help improve safety for bike/ped/transit users.

Action Needed by LeeDOT and Local Jurisdictions:
At the various MPO committee meetings, FDOT officials stated that there is still $6.5 million in the “pot” for potential bike/ped, congestion management type projects and that there are no more projects in the queue. They urged local jurisdictions to get busy now and submit projects for the list. With the new countywide bike/ped master plan there is a priority list of needs. It’s critical that each jurisdiction take that list and start submitting projects to be funded!

On October 28th, the MPO issued instructions for these grant applications, which are due by Dec. 2nd. Click here for the instructions.

Next Steps:
While the FDOT draft work plan was good news for Lee County, FDOT warned the county that new revenue shortfalls have been estimated and that there are insufficient funds for this work plan. In December, a revised draft work plan reflecting a cut in funds will be submitted to the MPO. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walking and rolling school buses provide safe alternative to the car line


Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column 10/26/11
Earlier this month, a national event quite a few of our public schools have participated in for many years took place locally, but with fewer schools signing on than in the past. The annual Walk to School Day is meant to remind students, parents and school personnel of the many benefits of using active transportation to get kids to their destination. And, if the one-day activity has the intended effect, the experience should lead to walking or cycling becoming a regular method of transport. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked that way, primarily because parents continue to serve as chauffeurs for their children.
One of the reasons often cited by parents for their reluctance to allow or encourage their kids to walk or ride a bike to school is because of the traffic chaos that reigns around almost each and every school. Why is it this way? Because so many parents drive their children to school. They are the cause of the chaos but can be the solution by staying out of the fray in their motor vehicles.
Another concern often brought up — and all too frequently perpetuated by media, school administrators and even law enforcement — is that of “stranger danger.” No one would deny that scary things do sometimes happen, but such incidents are much rarer than some would lead us to believe. In fact, kids are much more likely to be injured or killed in car crashes while being driven to school than even approached by potential predators or others who would do them harm. If the concept of walking or rolling school busses (www.walkingschoolbus.org) caught on — where adults chaperon groups of students — concerns about stranger danger or bullying would disappear completely in most cases. Add to that the many other benefits of getting kids on their feet and bikes and reducing the number of cars on the roads around schools.
In a related matter, a request was made recently by a Lee County School District Board member to close the Summerlin Road bike path where it deviates from the highway and runs behind some condos, an apartment complex and an elementary school.
The reason cited? To protect school children from apartment dwellers who will be living in those apartments that are soon to become low-income housing. If such a request isn’t inappropriate I’m not sure what is. Fortunately, this knee-jerk, misguided approach to dealing with change — and low income individuals and families — was shot down. I question whether this is about protecting the kids or “protecting” property values in the nearby well-to--do neighborhood since closing the pathway would cut off access between the apartment complex and that neighborhood. 

Upcoming events
Pretty much to a person, anyone who has taken one or more CyclingSavvy sessions to learn how to drive their bike in traffic has come away a more confident and less-stressed user of our pubic roadways. All three segments are being offered in Fort Myers again: one weeknight evening class Wednesday, Nov. 9; one Saturday morning on-bike session to practice skills in a parking lot environment Nov. 12; and a Saturday afternoon tour of roads and intersections on the same day. The cost is $30 per session or $75 for all three. You may visit cyclingsavvy.org for complete details and to register for this excellent Florida Bicycle Association program.
For all you runners out there, it’s that time of year when you have quite a number of choices from which to choose. Check out the adjoining list of Running/ Walking events, tighten your laces and get out there.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at dan@floridabicycle.org or 334- 6417

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BikeWalkLee views on Transportation Concurrency


One of the most important issues that the county will be addressing this year is how to change its transportation concurrency policies and methodologies. Changes in Florida law last year has given local jurisdictions a golden opportunity to remove one of the largest obstacles to planning for a balanced multi-modal transportation system and creating sustainable communities. The law now allows each local government to decide how to address congestion. The current “black box” models (traffic and level of service(LOS)usually result in high-speed over-designed roads that are useful only during the very heaviest travel periods. This planning is then carried out at tremendous expense, to the detriment of those who would prefer more options for transit, walking and bicycling and to the detriment of those whose neighborhoods now face over-scaled highways.

The Lee County administration recently reported to the commissioners that they were proposing to retain an amended form of transportation concurrency. They are recommending changes be made as part of the Comprehensive Plan amendments being developed to implement the Horizon 2035 Plan (EAR). The county administration is developing a white paper to present the issue and options, which will be presented to the Local Planning Agency (LPA) in January to the Community Sustainability Committee (CSAC) in February 2012.

As some may remember, the Lee County MPO adopted a resolution calling for a 2012 update of 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that would reflect better methodologies for modeling and scenario planning. It is critical that these two organizations work together so that the new methodologies are consistent. The outcome should be concurrency tools in the Comp Plan and the LRTP that no longer work against balanced, multi-modal, and sustainable transportation and land use planning.

At the 10/21/11 Joint Lee/Collier MPO meeting, BikeWalkLee’s representative, Darla Letourneau, urged the officials to change these methodologies so that they support the county’s vision. She also urged the entities to collaborate and coordinate among the various agencies working on these issues. The County and the MPO must seize this opportunity to radically change these policies and methodologies so that they support the new vision our policymakers have for the future of Lee County. The county needs to explore multi-modal and sustainability metrics to replace the current crude reliance on LOS for roads.

The state has returned control on a key issue to local governments and it’s important that we use this opportunity to make transportation concurrency support our local vision and our community plans. Adjusting the “black box” to match our community’s goals is one of the most important actions that can be taken to effect changes in land use and transportation here at home.

By Darla Letourneau

Submit Cape Coral bike lanes survey form by Oct. 29th


Many have asked how to support the SW Cape Coral Neighborhood Association's request for bike lanes on Agualinda Blvd. and Beach Parkway, a total of 1.1 miles would connect with 17 miles of existing lanes and bike path. The Cape Coral Public Works Department is accepting the survey form linked below if postmarked no later than Saturday, October 29th. More than one form may be completed by adults in a single household. You need not be a resident of Cape Coral to submit the form. Print form, complete and mail to Public Works address on form. The form may also be faxed to public works: fax # 239-574-0732. If you completed this form at the Oct. 5th open house in Cape Coral, please do not submit another form. Thanks.

Link to Survey Form

News-Press: Lee seeks to secure path funds


October 25, 2011
by Bob Rathegeber


A Lee County planning group is seeking
$10 million in grant money from the
federal government to build a series of
bicycle and pedestrian paths.

The money is part of a U.S. Department of
Transportation $526 million grant
program.

An additional $4.6 million in county funds
would allow for the building of what the
Metropolitan Planning Organization calls
“three signature demonstration projects” —
Tour de Parks, University Loop and
Winkler/Jefferson Complete Streets project.

The Tour de Parks starts at Lakes Park and
trails to Lee County Sports Complex and
the new Red Sox stadium; the University
Loop around FGCU; and the
Winkler/Jefferson circle just south of Fort
Myers Country Club in Fort Myers.

Don Scott, MPO director, said Monday the
application is being tailored after previous
plans that were successful.

“It’s very competitive,” Scott said. In
previous rounds one of 30-40 applications
was approved, Scott said.

Dave Loveland, interim director of the Lee
County Department of Transportation, is
optimistic of landing the grant.

“I think it’s realistic,” Loveland said. “The
federal government has indicated that
these are the kinds of projects they are
looking for, alternative ways of
transportation.”

BikeWalkLee, a coalition seeking more
bicycle and pedestrian paths throughout
the county, has been working with the MPO
on the plan.

Darla Letourneau, a spokeswoman for the
group, said the federal grant would close
holes in the existing path system.

“By linking the three projects and filling
gaps, there would be a connected corridor
of biking and walking facilities from
downtown Fort Myers down to FGCU and
then linked to Collier County by transit,”
she said.

In a letter of support to Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood, Letourneau wrote:
“This project has the potential to be a
game-changer for our region and serve as
a model throughout Florida.”

There are no accurate data of how many
people use bike lanes and sidewalks in Lee
County. So, FGCU assistant professor
Margaret Banyan sent students in her state
and local government class to gather
anecdotal evidence.

In two, two-hour counts last year at 11
different locations throughout the county,
students recorded 666 walkers and bikers
on a Tuesday morning and Saturday
afternoon.

By far, the busiest area was near the
intersection of Old 41 Road and Terry
Street in Bonita Springs where the count
was a combined 298.

“That shows that some of these are not just
a recreation route,” Banyan said, “they are
routes people use for work.”

Safety is another factor in the desire for
more pedestrian routes.

The latest statistics show Florida to be
among the most dangerous states for
walkers and bike riders, and Lee County
among the worst in the state.

“If you don’t have decent, safe facilities,
you won’t see people on them.”

Several miles of pathways are either under
construction or have been completed in the
past year. Those include bike lanes and
sidewalks along S.R. 82, Colonial
Boulevard, Six Mile Cypress Parkway and
Daniels Parkway as well as on U.S. 41 in
San Carlos Park and Estero.

Among several miles of sidewalks under
construction in Fort Myers is one along
Tarpon Street. Due to be completed in
December, the new walkway will link up
with a path to the Tarpon Street Pier, a
popular fishing spot in the area.

The grant money comes from the
Transportation Investment Generating
Economic Recovery program, which has its
origins with the federal stimulus act of
2009.

The article is also posted on BWL's website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BikeWalkLee views on proposed Heartland Parkway


BikeWalkLee recently wrote a guest opinion piece (9/14/11) in News-Press expressing our concerns about the Governor’s new Florida transportation plan. On Friday, the joint Lee/Collier discussed the one project in his plan that impacts Southwest Florida—the Heartland Parkway.

BikeWalkLee’s representative, Darla Letourneau spoke at the meeting and expressed our concerns that this proposed project is inconsistent with the goals & objectives of the Florida 2060 Transportation Plan and the Lee County MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Both of those plans focused on the need to balance & integrate transportation modes & investments to promote sustainable economic development. Transportation investments should focus on multi-modal transportation. Transportation investments need to promote economic development in the existing urban areas, not create new areas. They should maximize the use of existing transportation facilities and explore opportunities for improved connectivity before adding new facilities.

The Heartland Parkway proposal is a classic example of the old way of thinking—just build bigger, faster roads & that will solve our transportation needs. This is the same failed approach that caused Florida’s housing and economic downturn, and is a formula for more sprawl. These are tough economic times: it’s very important to use our scarce resources wisely. This project will divert funds from SWFL’s transportation priorities. Our transportation priorities will suffer if planning studies are undertaken for this potential road project. If the road is actually built, nothing will be left for our priorities.

Other organizations spoke against the proposal, including the Audubon Society of Collier County and the Estero Council of Community Leaders. They pointed out that this proposal has the process backwards—land use should be planned first and then the transportation plans should work to implement the land use plan. The Heartland proposal builds new roads first and assumes that development will occur where the roads are, bringing the kind of sprawl we have on the coast to the inland area.

We urge both MPOs to send a strong message to the Governor that this project is not consistent with this community’s vision of the future for Southwest Florida. Our local elected officials should decide what’s best for our communities & region, not Tallahassee.

Fowler Street one-way extension proposal


Report by Ann Pierce, BikeWalkLee Representative in City of Fort Myers

On Friday, October 28, the MPO will vote on a measure to amend the Long-Range Transportation Plan regarding a proposed one-way extension of Fowler Street, in downtown Fort Myers, beyond MLK, to connection at Metro Parkway and Kennesaw Street. Currently, the project is designated as ready for design phase. The upcoming vote is to move it back into a new study phase. The original study was done over 18 years ago, and much has changed in Fort Myers in the interim.
When this new study is done, these important concerns need to be addressed: alternatives to extending this one way, alternatives to the existing one ways or portions thereof, impacts on people newly are intermittently venturing into downtown Fort Myers, impacts on business revenues and residential property values, implications for transit access and ease of multi-directional use (particularly in service to the planned new regional library at the corner of Second Street& Royal Palm Avenue, in downtown Fort Myers ),impact on future development along and adjacent to the one-way corridors, and bike/ped accessibility, conductivity and safety.
The study update should also address the following evidence from studies of similar existing single-purpose, urban, one-way pairs:
• Existing evidence indicates significant negative impacts from one-way pairs on business revenue and surrounding property values by as much as 20%.
• One-way pairs increase vehicle miles traveled from 20 to 50%, in the recirculation required to reach a destination.
• One-way pairs increase turning maneuvers from 20 to 60%, greatly increasing the chances of conflict with cyclists and pedestrians.
• Vehicles on one-way roads consistently travel well above the posted speed, resulting in more severe bike/pedestrian crashes.
• Those most disoriented, confused or discouraged by urban one-way pairs are new visitors, vacationers, and the occasional user.... A poor invitation, indeed.

Both Lee County and the City of Fort Myers have committed to the principles of complete streets, requiring a rebalancing of their roadways, making them safer and friendlier for all modes of travel. Therefore any further considerations of this project should address those principles in the context of encouraging a thriving, healthy residential and business environment in County, as well as the City of Fort Myers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New bike/ped facilities included in nine major Lee County road projects



On Tuesday, News-Press had a front page story about nine major road projects under construction throughout the county. What the article didn't say was that all of these projects (except I-75 where it's illegal) have bike/ped facilities. Here's the list of what's coming soon in terms of improved bike/ped facilities...in addition to the stand-alone bike/ped projects we reported on last week:

Bike/ped facilities on nine road projects in News-Press 10/18/11 article,
“No joy riding in much of Lee”
1. The 6-laning of I-75 (target: Fall 2013)
• None--No bike/ped facilities allowed on interstates

2. The 6-laning of SR 82 from Ortiz Ave. to Lee/Colonial Blvd (target: Summer 2012)
• SR 82 will have on-road bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides

3. The 6-laning of Colonial Blvd (target: Nov. 2011)
• Colonial will have 4 ft. on-road bike lanes (other than through the interchange area) and 8 ft. pathways on both sides of the road

4. The Ben C. Pratt/Six Mile Cypress Parkway widening (target: Dec. 2011)
• Six Mile Cypress will have on-road bike lanes & a new pathway on the west side of the road

5. A new Cape Coral Bridge toll plaza (target: June 2012)
• Paved shoulders are included

6. The 6-laning of Daniels Parkway (target: Feb. 2012)
• Daniels will have on-road bike lanes that will be extended to Treeline Dr. (widening ends at Chamberlin)
• The pathway on the north side will remain

7. The 6-laning of U.S. 41 from Corkscrew Rd. to San Carlos (target: Summer 2013)
• US 41 will have on-road bike lanes & 5-6 ft. sidewalks on both sides of the road

8. Construction on 6-laning of a mile stretch of Bonita Beach Rd. (target: Summer 2013)
• Bonita Beach Rd. will have on-road bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road

9. New Matlacha Bridge (target: Dec. 2012)
• The new bridge will have on-road bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Angie Ferguson column: Cyclist are using road because law allows it


Today's Angie Ferguson Fitness column in the News-Press, she uses her recent cycling experience (while wearing her new "3 feet please" jersey!) to explain to News-Press readers about the cyclists rights on the road under the law. Thanks, Angie!


News-Press 10/18/11


This past weekend I was riding along on the right third of my lane, obeying the traffic laws and wearing my new favorite "3 feet please" jersey, when a concerned citizen with out-of-state tags yelled to me (and not in the supportive, cheering way), "That's why there are sidewalks."

Instead of being angry or annoyed, I refuse to adopt an us-versus-them mentality (cyclists versus cars) because we always lose. Rather, I think this is an ideal time with the onset of season to review the traffic laws, educate drivers of both vehicular and two-wheeled traffic alike and hopefully make our roads a safer place all around.

Click here to continue reading the article.

Monday, October 17, 2011

LeeTran wins $13.9 million federal competitive grant for bus replacements


Congratulations to Lee County government! Today the US Secretary of Transportation announced grants awards worth a total of $930 million for 300 transit projects as part of the Federal Transit Administration's national competitive grant program for transit upgrades, such as replacing older buses with hybrids. LeeTran was awarded $13.9 million for bus replacements. They received the largest grant in Florida and it was one of the largest grant amounts awarded nationwide, except for grants to a State DOT or a major city like Chicago. This is great news for LeeTran.


Read the Secretary's blog story. Click on the link to the FTA grants to see the list of projects.


.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cape Coral teen pedestrian killed by car

Wednesday night's pedestrian fatality is a horrible tragedy. According to the NBC-2 News account, she was distracted by her i-pod. This is a sobering reminder that kids (and adults) need to put down their electronic devices & be aware of their surroundings & pay attention when they're walking or crossing the street. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Taylor Palmer.


NBC-2 News, 10/13/11


Parents that are no stranger to tragedy are dealing with heartbreak again after their teenage daughter was hit and killed by a car while leaving a high school football game. It happened seven years after her older sister was killed in an ATV crash.

Taylor Palmer, a sophomore at North Fort Myers High School, was hit while trying to cross Pondella Road Wednesday night.

The driver of the 2005 Ford Taurus was 30-year-old Lauren Franklin of North Fort Myers. She was heading east along an unlit portion of the roadway shortly before 8 p.m.

Still stunned by the tragedy, one of her friends was willing to speak about the minutes leading up to her death.

Friend Dylan Corbin says Palmer was crossing the street to head back to the North Fort Myers High football game.

She'd left early to meet him and another friend - walking alone about three-quarters of a mile to Pondella. Then, they were all going to go back to the game to cheer on their school.

"We went to cross the street and she stopped. She stopped to look at her iPod and started walking again and a car hit her," he remembered. "She didn't see it."


Palmer was right behind Corbin and he said he thought she saw the car coming toward them.

Click the title above to see the full story.

Click here for the News-Press story, which reports on the suggested need for a streetlight in this area.

Fix sought for Cape Coral land-plan woes




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Friday's seminar on platted lands legacy in SW Florida attracted a full house of elected officials, government staff, planners, attorneys, and citizen activists (including BikeWalkLee representatives) to discuss finding a solution to the economic development & urban sprawl problems created by pre-platted communities, such as Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. Speakers included Lee County Commission Chair, Frank Mann, State Rep. Gary Aubuchon and Rep. Matt Caldwell.

Thanks to Reconnecting Lee and the American Planning Association of Florida for sponsoring this important community conversation.

Click here to see the NBC-2 report.


Click here to read the News-Press story.

Upcoming Action Alert: Congress may again consider elimination of biking & walking programs


Back in September, we issued an action alert on the Coburn amendment to eliminate funding for the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, which provides significant funding for bike/ped program.

While we were able to beat back the Coburn amendment, new attacks on TE continue to surface. Bills have been introduced in Congress to eliminate the set aside for TE or to shift the TE money toward bridge repair. Our national partner organizations are working to fight these attacks and will be looking to the local advocates to educate their members of Congress about the importance of these programs at the local level. It's possible that there will be an effort in the Senate next week to divert TE funds, so stayed tuned for a potential action alert.

Model Design Manual will help communities turn complete streets policy into practice


As Lee County and the City of Fort Myers work on implementing their complete streets policies, a fabulous new & FREE tool was made available this week. This new manual, developed by an impressive team of national experts, shows how to apply national best practices in multi-modal transportation and sustainability to local context and streets. No need to re-invent the wheel--just adapt this template to our local community! Below is the story about the manual by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

National Complete Streets Coalition Blog
By Stefanie Seskin, on October 13th


Last week, our movement grew even stronger with the unveiling of the Model Design Manual for Living Streets, available for free download.

The new manual provides a template for local jurisdictions to begin updating their existing design guidance, one of our four steps to effective implementation of Complete Streets policies.

As a template, it allows jurisdictions without the resources to undertake major revisions to their guidance an opportunity to apply national best practices in multimodal transportation and environmental sustainability to local context and streets. Communities can amend the manual with more in-depth guidance, adding additional components, adopt it wholesale, or pick and choose the chapters that best fit their needs. Chapters include:

Street networks and classifications
Traveled way design
Intersection design
Universal pedestrian access
Pedestrian crossings
Bikeway design
Traffic calming
Transit accommodations
Traffic calming
Streetscape ecosystem
Re-placing Streets
Designing land use along living streets
Retrofitting suburbia
Community engagement for street design

Recommendations to maximize benefit and minimize costs of building and maintaining street networks are numerous.

Ryan Synder Associates, a Coalition Platinum Partner, led the development of the manual and was assisted a team of over 40 experts in Complete Streets, including the Coalition’s Executive Director Barbara McCann, numerous workshop instructors, and representatives from multiple Coalition partners and members. Their work was made possible by funding from the Department of Health and Human Services through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The manual will specifically help Californian communities meet the goals set by the state Complete Streets law and recent requirements to reduce stormwater runoff. However, its framework will allow any community to create better, more complete streets that result in healthier, safer, and more livable neighborhoods.

It should be a tool in any city’s toolbox.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on county & local bike/ped projects completed over the summer




Note: updated on 10/18/11 for City of Fort Myers information

If you’ve been away for the summer and just returning to town, you may notice some new and improved bike/ped facilities throughout the county. Periodically, we ask transportation agencies to update us on the status of bike/ped projects under construction. Below is the information I’ve received to date. When additional reports come in, I’ll post them. Thanks to LeeDOT,Sanibel, Cape Coral and Fort Myers staff for providing this information!



Projects completed:
LeeDOT:

• Hickory Blvd. (Bonita Springs)—shoulders/bike lanes (approximately 4 miles) & the existing sidewalks were resurfaced and ADA retrofits were done (approximately 2 mile)—completed in July.
• Three sidewalks in Palmona Park (Cape Coral) sidewalks completed:
o Atlantic Ave.—Pine Island Rd. to Monterey St. (.51 miles)
o Tennessee Ave.—Pine Island Rd. to Clark St. (.12 miles)
• Page Park (Fort Myers) sidewalk completed:
o 2nd Ave—Oak Dr. to Maple Dr. (.14 miles)

Sanibel:
Sanibel takes the prize for the most improvements (relative to their size) completed over the summer:

• Shared use path extension projects – totaling approximately 1 mile at following locations:
• Dunlop Road and Wooster Lane (location of City Hall, Library, BIG Arts, Historical Village, etc.)
• Sanibel-Captiva Road from Pine Avenue to Blind Pass Bridge (filling the gap between Sanibel & Captiva) (will be completed by 10/21)

• Shared use path improvement project – approximately 1/2 mile at following location:
• Tarpon Bay Road from Palm Ridge Road to Island Inn Road

• Shared use path widening project – totaling approximately 1 mile at following locations:
• Causeway Boulevard
• Lindgren Boulevard
• Algiers Lane
• Periwinkle Way

• Shared use path repair project – approximately 1.4 miles of repairs at following locations:
• Island wide

• Shared use path striping repairs – 33 crosswalks re-striped at following locations:
• Island wide

Cape Coral:
The following sidewalk projects, totalling 12 miles, have been completed this year:
o Beach Parkway (Surfside Blvd to Chiquita) (3.1 miles)
o Nicholas Parkway (Santa Barbara to SR 76) (2.2 miles)
o Oasis Blvd ( S@ 38 Terrance to Gleason Parkway) (.5 miles)
o SW 38 Terrace (Agualinda Bld to Oasis (.4 miles)
o Trafalger Parkway (Santa Barbara to Chiquita) (2.6 miles)
o Skyline Blvd (SW 21st to SW 19th St. (1.6 miles)
o SW 6th Ave. (Trafalger Parkway to SW 19th St.) (.3 miles)
o SW 19th St. (Skyline to SW 6 Ave.) (.2 miles)
o SE 8 St. (Cultural Park Blvd to Santa Barbara) (1 mile)

Four miles of new multi-use paths were completed:
o Del Prado Blvd. (SR 78 to Kismet Parkway) (4 miles)

City of Fort Myers:
5 sidewalk projects:
o Challenger Blvd. sidewalks connection (Challenger Blvd. to Winkler)
o Henderson sidewalk replacement (Herderson Ave. by MLK Blvd) (.1 mile)
o Marion Ave. Sidewalk (Marion Ave. between Terry & SR 80) (.3 mile)
o Cranford Ave. sidewalk (Cranford Ave. between Edison & Lafayette (.1 miles)
o Veronica Shoemaker Blvd. sidewalk (VSM from MLK Blvd. to Michigan Ave. ((.5 miles)


Projects under construction:
LeeDOT:

• Summerlin – Cypress Lake to Boy Scout – 1.8 miles – will be completed by the end of October
• Colonial – I-75 to SR 82 – shared use path--2 Miles – will be completed in November
• Six Mile Cypress Pkwy. – Daniels to Heritage Palms - 2.5 miles – will be completed in early 2012
• Daniels – Gateway to Chamberlain (includes restriping for bike lane to Treeline) – 3 miles – will be completed in Feb. 2012
• Bonita Beach Rd. (Bonita Springs) – Old 41 to Lime St. sidewalks on both sides & paved shoulders – 1 mile – will be completed in Spring 2013

City of Fort Myers:
5 sidewalk projects:
o Polk Ave. sidewalk (Polk Ave. from Palm Beach to Marion) (.5 miles)--to be completed by May 2012
o Thomas Ave. sidewalk ((Thomas St. from Henderson to Highland (.24 miles)--to be completed in May 2012
o Fountain Avenue sidewalk (Fountain St. MLK to Thomas St.) (.24 miles)--to be completed in May 2012
o Veronica Shoemaker Blvd (Phase II) (VSMB from Michigan to Marion) (.5 miles)--to be completed August 2012
o Tarpon Street sidewalk (Tarpon from SR 82 to Edgewood Ave.) (.2 miles)--to be completed Dec. 2011

If you know of local projects that have been completed, send me info and I'll post (dletourneau@bikewalklee.org).

Also, if you have questions about other projects and want to know the status, send me an e-mail.

In addition to new facilities, some new bike/ped safety signs have been installed. If you notice new signs or crosswalk improvements, drop me a note and maybe a photo.

Take a walk, a run, or a bike ride and explore these new and improved biking and walking facilities. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Send us a photo or comment on the blog or Facebook page about these new facilities. Last but not least, say “thank you” to the elected officials and government staff who made these improvements possible. [Note: BikeWalkLee’s blog “favorite links” on the right side of the page includes links to contact information for each jurisdiction.] Progress is being made. Thanks, LeeDOT, FDOT, and local cities!

Urban Land Institute (ULI) of SWFL 2011 Sustainability Awards recognize Lee County’s complete streets effort and the MPO bike/ped master plan



On October 7th, the ULI of SWFL, which covers the six counties of SW FL, presented its two annual Sustainability Awards to Lee County recipients:

• Tessa LeSage, Lee County’s Sustainability Programs Manager, won the Trailblazer Award for her complete streets implementation work, particularly the development of the Complete Streets Interdepartmental Performance Team and its collaborative decision-making process.

• The Impact Award went to the Lee County Board of Commissioners and the Lee MPO for the Lee County Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiative. The award highlighted both the complete streets and accommodation policies adopted by both organizations, and the MPO development of its first ever comprehensive bicycle pedestrian master plan.

At Tuesday’s BoCC meeting, the commissioners spoke about the ULI awards and recognized Tessa LaSage, as well as the team working on complete streets and the MPO’s bike/ped plan.

BikeWalkLee congratulates the winners of both awards and is proud to have played a part in both of the initiatives receiving region-wide recognition.

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column: Captiva Island: Paradise, but....


After a summer hiatus, Dan's bi-monthly columns are back. This edition focuses on the lack of pedestrian facilities in downtown Captiva, with an alert about a bike/ped issue which the Florida Legislature may take up this year.

Florida Weekly, Oct. 12, 2011

Swimming conditions off Captiva Island were almost perfect. The island’s cycling environment couldn’t have been much better. And the resort’s running surface and visual surroundings were as good as it gets. From top to bottom, the inaugural Galloway Captiva Triathlon that took place recently was a resounding success for all involved.

The feedback organizers received overwhelming confirms that the 100+ kids who participated in their age-specific triathlons distances on that Saturday morning had a blast. The same goes for more than 500 adults who took part in the sprint-distance race that began at the crack of dawn Sunday in the gulf, moved onto the road to cycle to Blind Pass and finished on foot by looping the beautiful, water-front golf course on South Seas Island Resort’s north end. Organizers, volunteers, public safety officials, and resort staff are all to be commended for the role each played in what looks to be an annual event. It was a classic example of what tourism officials call “heads-inbeds,” an event that provided quite a shot in the arm for the island’s lodging and dining establishments during the slowest business time of year.

Even with all the good things to say about the event and surroundings, one very negative thing has always stood out in my mind about this otherwise beautiful place: Very poor walking conditions exist for anyone wanting to travel by foot, particularly in the business district. Walking after dark is especially treacherous, particularly when traveling around the island’s last curve where a very bright, blinking yellow warning light blinds pedestrians and drivers alike (there are no street lights anywhere on Captiva, so this one dominates). A hike around the corner is particularly harrowing for folks with kids in tow. And Andy Rosse Lane, the road that dead-ends at the gulf and popular Mucky Duck restaurant, has sidewalks that appear to be considered more of a landscape feature and place to post signs and other obstacles rather than a facility for pedestrians.

Even after many attempts to improve the situation over the past two decades, the problems in the busiest part of the island remain because of resistance from some on Captiva who, for whatever reasons, are resistant to changes, especially between the island’s major resort and its village center. With parking being very limited you’d think everyone would be on board for that reason alone — not to mention for safety’s sake. But it’s simply not the case. It would be easy to point to the lack of adequate right of way as the culprit, but where there’s a will there’s a way, so there’s something else at play.

Whether the reason for neglecting both residents and visitors who travel by foot on Captiva is due to local politics, a misguided business strategy, or something else I’ve not been able to figure out, Lee County commissioners should intervene to create safe pedestrian access, even if some don’t want it to happen. It took Hurricane Charley to finally get paved shoulders added, another effort that met with plenty of resistance throughout the decades that attempts were made to accommodate non-motorists on much of Captiva Drive. Contrary to what some may believe, Captiva isn’t a private island, and the roads are publically owned and maintained, so safety and access should trump whatever is driving resistance in this little piece of paradise.

Advocacy update

With the legislature coming back early this next session there’s a real need to get involved now, lest bad things slip by. Case in point: The word is that there’s going to be an effort to put gas-powered bikes and scooters in the same category as bicycles and low-speed, electric bikes. What’s problematic about giving the same legal status to gas-powered vehicles is the potential they have to create major problems for human-powered vehicles, much less powerful electric bikes and pedestrians. As things currently stand, most gaspowered vehicles aren’t road-legal and are never allowed to operate under power on sidepaths (nor are electric bikes), but many already can be seen both on-road and sidepath. It’s pretty easy to believe they’ll be zipping along in bike lanes and on bike paths and sidewalks once they are otherwise legal. Florida Bicycle Association and BikeWalkLee will follow this potential legislation closely and weigh-in as appropriate.

I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦

— Dan Moser is a league cycling and- CyclingSavvy instructor and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at dan@floridabicycle.org or 334- 6417.

Upcoming Events

. RUNNING/WALKING:
Sanibel Race for FISH 10K,
Saturday, Oct. 15, Sanibel
Community Center (www.
ftmyerstrackclub.com)
Race the Roof 8K, Saturday, Oct.
29, Verandah Community, Fort Myers
Shores (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
For more Lee County running
events visit Fort Myers Track Club
(www.ftmyerstrackclub.com) and 3-D
Racing (www.3dracinginc.com).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Topics of interest at upcoming MPO meetings



There are several important topics being discussed at various MPO meetings this month. BikeWalkLee will be making comments on the following issues: the Heartland Parkway, transportation concurrency changes, the TIGER III bike/ped grant application, bike/ped/transit projects in FDOT's new 5-year plan, and the Fowler Street one-way project proposed for Fort Myers.

This month, the MPO Board holds two meetings. First, on October 21st there is the semi-annual joint Lee-Collier County MPO Board meeting held at Bonita Springs City Hall (9-11 a.m.). On the agenda are several items of interest. First, there will be a discussion of two major cross-jurisdiction road projects: the Everglades Blvd. Interchange & the Heartland Parkway. The discussion of the I-75/Everglades Blvd. exchange will include a presentation by environmental groups about their concerns with this proposed project.

BikeWalkLee will express its concern about the Heartland Parkway, consistent with our 9/14/11 News-Press commentary about the Governor’s new transportation plan. The Heartland Parkway is inconsistent with the goals and objectives of the Florida 2060 Transportation Plan and the Lee County MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Both plans emphasize the need to balance and integrate transportation modes and investments to promote sustainable economic development, environmental resources, and social equity. Transportation investments need to promote economic development in the existing urban areas, not create new areas. Transportation investments should focus on multi-modal transportation and should maximize the use of existing transportation facilities and explore opportunities for improved connectivity before adding new facilities (MPO policy adopted in Resolution 2010-12).

The joint meeting on 10/21 will also include a discussion on the recent growth management changes and transportation concurrency,as a result of changes in the Florida statute last year. BikeWalkLee will encourage the MPO and local jurisidctions to make major changes to the current transportation concurrency approach, which uses "level of service" and traffic projection methodologies that are biased towards building more roads rather than promoting multi-modal transportation and sustainable communities.

On October 28th, the Lee MPO Board will hold a special meeting in order to act on the new proposed FDOT workplan for 2012-2017, and the amendments to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). There will be a joint TAC/CAC committee meeting on October 18th to review the plans and make recommendations to the Board.

We are pleased that the draft FDOT workplan includes many new bike/ped and transit projects that have been added since last year’s 5-year plan. We’re still analyzing the information and will share that analysis with you in an upcoming blog post.

With respect to the FDOT-proposed TIP amendments for FY2012 projects, there is one road project that BikeWalkLee has concerns with--the project in Fort Myers that would make Fowler Street one-way between MLK and Kennesaw. The Fort Myers City Council has opposed this proposal in the past, and will vote on this proposal at their Oct. 17th meeting. This approach is not consistent with some of the important elements of complete streets, as recently embraced by the Fort Myers City Council. Its focus on moving cars rapidly through the city is without regard for the surrounding context, in this case a redeveloped downtown. We’ll have more to say about our concerns in an upcoming blog post.

For the background documents for these meetings, visit the MPO website.

On Oct. 25th, the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee (BPCC)holds its regular monthly meeting. The committee’s membership and mandate have been greatly expanded and the agendas are packed. Check the MPO’s website for the agenda & background materials the week before the meeting.

MPO submits “pre-application” for bike/ped/complete streets TIGER III grant


Back in June, we reported on the MPO Board’s initial approval for the MPO to submit a TIGER III grant application for bike/ped/complete streets project tied to the new countywide bike/ped master plan, as proposed by BikeWalkLee. Click here to read the June17th blog post.

MPO staff have been working on the proposal over the summer, in consultation with a broad set of stakeholders that participated in a planning meeting in August. Local jurisdictions have worked hard to find matching funds to commit to the project, as required by the federal guidelines. On Oct. 3rd, the MPO staff submitted the required “pre-application” to USDOT. The project description in the pre-application states: “The Lee County Complete Streets Initiative project consists of completing an alternative transportation mode network and includes the construction of new sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes and bus shelters, and the signing and striping of new bike lanes on existing roads.”

The proposed project takes the MPO bike/ped master plan and links the three demonstration projects together. By linking the 3 demonstration projects and filling gaps, there would be a connected corridor of biking & walking facilities from downtown Fort Myers down to FGCU and then linked to Collier County by transit.

The request is for $10 million, to be matched by $3 million in locally funded projects, for a total project cost of $13 million.

The next step in the process is for the MPO to submit the final application by Oct. 31st, and at the 10/21 MPO meeting the Board will be asked to endorse a resolution supporting the submission of a final grant application. USDOT will be reviewing the pre-applications and notifying applicants that don’t appear to meet the eligibility requirements. This is a national highly competitive process, but we’re going to keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Once the final application is submitted, we will provide more details in a future blog post.

Letters of support to be submitted with the 10/31 final application will be requested from the various stakeholders and organizations, so don’t be surprised if your organization gets a request from BikeWalkLee next week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inspiring video about Portland, OR & how they created a walkable/bikeable city



As Portland's Mayor says at the end of the video, "Our success has nothing to do about Portland's uniqueness. What we found is that if you provide people with decent and safe places to walk and bike, people will. It's as simple as that!"

BikeWalkLee believes that if Lee County builds safe and accessible biking & walking facilities, people will use them!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tanglewood Elementary's successful Safe Walk to School Day


Kudos to Tanglewood School & the Office of Sustainability!

This from the Lee County Office of Sustainability's Facebook page:

Congratulations to Tanglewood Elementary for a successful Safe Walk to School Day last week. The Office of Sustainability helped them find an alternate, safer route than used in years past. Almost 200 kids and 30 parents participated. With the proper training and supervision, walking to school is an excellent way to get kids moving!


NOTE: The key to making it safe for kids to walk to school--building walkable neighborhood schools! Read the Streetsblog 10/10/11 article: "Sidewalks Alone Can’t Solve the Suburban Megaschools’ Walking Problem".

Report on Cape Coral's bike lane open house


Report by Steve Chupack, BikeWalkLee Cape Coral Representative:

More than sixty people stopped in at the Open House held at the Oasis Middle School on October 5th. Judging by the many positive comments offered and number who filled out the short survey form, we are encouraged to think that the 1.1 mile Beach & Agualinda requests will receive a favorable recommendation at the Transportation Advisory Committee meeting later this month. Thanks to Steve Neff, Rashad Hanbali and staff for hosting the open house, BikeWalkLee volunteers, Caloosa Riders and everybody who supported this SW Cape Neighborhood Assn. bike lane request.

For background on the proposals, click here for earlier blog posts.

LeeTran launches route to Collier




Thursday's ribbon-cutting event with Lee and Collier county officials, staff, and citizens was a wonderful celebration, launching the first Lee/Collier bus route. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen. Tell your friends & neighbors who live in Naples, Bonita Springs, or Estero to ride the new bus route!

LeeTran launches route to Collier
For first time, transit systems connected

News-Press, Oct. 6, 2011
Written by Christina Cepero


For the first time Thursday, many residents from Lee and Collier counties had an easier time visiting friends and family, getting to work or finding some fun things to do.

LeeTran launched a public transportation route called the LinC bus, which links Lee and Collier. The bus runs between Coconut Point in Estero and Creekside Transfer Center in North Naples, running every 90 minutes.

“This is a huge step in recognizing that people need to have an alternate form of reliable public transportation,” Lee Commissioner Ray Judah said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Creekside. “With the high cost of gas, the economy the way it is, we all recognize this is truly a core level of service.”

Allen Rudd, 28, a massage therapist from North Naples — who does not own a car — said he only works one day a week at a Naples spa, so he plans to use LinC to look for more work in Lee County.

“This route is long overdue,” he said.

Click here to continue reading the article.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sanibel's Path system improvement projects nearing completion


Kudos to City of Sanibel for the path system improvement projects nearing completion. Since I left in June, four major path extensions or improvements have been completed (or almost completed). What a delightful welcome back! Thanks to the City Council, the City Manager & staff, the Sanibel Bicycle Club, and the community at large that supported these investments. Darla

Shared use pathway project nearly complete, receives praise
October 5, 2011
By JEFF LYSIAK, jlysiak@breezenewspapers.com , Island Reporter


Judie Zimomra admitted that she had done something last Saturday that she had never done before since becoming City Manager 10 years ago.

She bicycled across Sanibel and Captiva, from end to end, exclusively using the island's system of shared use pathways.

During Tuesday's City Council meeting, work on both the Dunlop Road/Periwinkle Way and the Pine Avenue to Blind Pass Bridge extensions were brought up by several members of the audience as well as the council itself.

"I just wanted to let you know that I took the new section of shared use path to get here today and I enjoyed it very much," resident Claudia Burns said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

According to Zimomra, the Dunlop Road/Periwinkle Way extension - which begins at the crosswalk in front of St. Michael & All Angels Church, continues along Periwinkle Way across the street from Sanibel Community Park and the Sanibel Community House - now connects the pathway with some of the most frequented amenities in the center of the island, including the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater, Sanibel Public Library, City Hall, BIG Arts and the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village.

She also praised the donation of the easements from property owners adjacent to both pathway extensions, including the residents of Periwinkle Pines, which came at no cost to the city.

"I love being a part of stuff that makes people happy," said council member Marty Harrity. "It's good to see what happens when we all work together for Sanibel."

Gates Castle, director of the city's Public Works Department, explained that the Dunlop Road/Periwinkle Way extension comprises 3,700 feet of new shared use pathways, constructed at a cost of $178,848. The project, which began with vegetation removal in mid-July, is expected to be completed by next week.

The Pine Avenue to Blind Pass Bridge extension, which comprises 1,000 feet of new shared use path connecting Sanibel with Captiva, is being constructed at a cost of $80,196.80. It is expected to be finished by Nov. 3.

"This is a perfect example of what can happen when we have the will and the desire to do something," added Vice Mayor Mick Denham.

Zimomra, who explained that among the work still to be performed at both sites includes grading, sodding, signage and crosswalk striping, told councilors that the city is still looking at "appropriate places to install the appropriate amenities" in areas along the pathways. Such amenities may include lighting, benches and picnic tables, although the exact details have not been made official.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BikeWalkLee Congratulates Fort Myers City Council for Adopting New Complete Streets Resolution

Fort Myers, FL (Oct. 4, 2011)

Below is BikeWalkLee's press release on the Fort Myers City Council adoption of its complete streets resolution, along with letters of support from the Director of Lee County Health Department and the CEO of Lee Memorial Health System. Thanks to everyone who wrote or spoke in support of the resolution.


Yesterday, the Fort Myers City Council unanimously adopted a Complete Streets resolution initiating the process of planning and regulatory changes needed to establish a Complete Streets program.

The term “Complete Streets” refers to streets that adequately provide for all roadway users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and transit riders of all ages, in an economically efficient manner. By definition, it acknowledges that streets have multiple users and functions. Implementing Complete Streets in Fort Myers will leverage the best integration of land use and transportation planning with a goal of safe, accessible connectivity community-wide with using multiple modes of transportation.

The City Council received emails and heard public commentary from a number of citizens in support of the resolution, including Sally Jackson of Lee Memorial Health Systems and Diane Holm of the Lee County Public Health Department reading a letter by Dr. Judith Hartner.

Fort Myers resident and young mother Cindy Banyai hopes with the passage of this resolution that “more consideration will now be given to people like her, wanting to hop on her bike with her daughter to safely enjoy all the amenities of Fort Myers.”

By adoption of a Complete Streets resolution, Fort Myers joins Lee County and more than 223 U.S. jurisdictions and 23 states in its commitment to the safety of its citizens. City Planning Manager Nicole Devaughn stated she “looks forward to the collaborative process of moving ahead with a Complete Streets program, now with the council’s full backing.”

With the goal of a safer walkable and bikeable community, this resolution initiates the integration of some of the city’s existing policies and plans, such as the 2004 Traffic Calming Plan, the 2007 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and the 2010 Fort Myers Comprehensive Plan. Coordinating current standalone plans and policies within a set of principles focused on safe access for all road users will ensure these concerns are addressed at the beginning of future planning efforts. Complete Streets improves planning, speeding project completion with less cost by putting local input and needs assessments at the beginning of the process, rather than at the end when changes are more costly.

The public’s return on investment is maximized by supporting a freer range of citizen transportation choices -- choices that reduce injuries or fatalities, lower health care costs, increase local business patronage and increase property values while creating the walkable and bikeable neighborhoods sought by tourists and those wanting to relocate to this area.

“Yesterday’s action by the Fort Myers City Council strengthens Lee County’s position as a leader within Southwest Florida in promoting sustainable/livable communities and Complete Streets,” said Darla Letourneau, a BikeWalkLee leader. “With the constellation of policies that the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lee County commissioners, and now the city council of Fort Myers have put in place, the county is moving in a new direction on transportation, land use planning and sustainability. BikeWalkLee is committed to working with the city and all parties in the county to make this vision a reality, ”Letourneau said.


BikeWalkLee's press release is also available on our website.

Dr. Judith Hartner, Director of Lee County Department of Heath's letter of support.

Jim Nathan, LMHS CEO's letter of support.