Facebook Share

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harvey Software Delivers Sustained Support for Bicycle Safety with Community 3FeetPlease Campaign


Harvey Software Press Release
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL — November 29, 2011 — Today, Harvey Software, Inc. shared an update of its ongoing community effort to promote motorists’ awareness of bicycles. The developer and distributor of popular multi-carrier shipping software, headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, continues its mission to improve bicycle safety in a state with a year-round biking season. Recently, Harvey Software’s CEO was acknowledged in a meeting of the Board of Lee County (FL) Commissioners for the company’s efforts to purchase and distribute over 500 “3 Feet Please” stickers to be placed on official Lee County government vehicles and LeeTran public buses. The bright yellow stickers visually promote a safe distance between motorists and cyclists. Harvey Software hopes the awareness will reduce future accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles.

“Southwest Florida is a wonderful place to bike, with ample facilities, great weather, and beautiful scenery. The goal is to improve safety for area cyclists and make the area even more attractive to bikers. We wanted a visual signal to motorists alerting them to increased caution necessary around a bicycle,” said Bert Hamilton, CEO of Harvey Software, headquartered in Fort Myers, FL. “The moment I saw these T-shirts and jerseys I knew that they would send a very hard to miss signal to drivers! The message is clear—a minimum three foot distance between car and bicycle, at all times. With this simple rule of thumb, bicycles and automobiles can share the road safely for the benefit of all,” continued Mr. Hamilton. “By distributing this message to as many as possible, we hope we can reduce the number of accidents in this area and raise awareness between cyclists and drivers. Our county government is taking an active role in supporting this program, far past simply recognizing the effort. Soon, county vehicles and buses in Lee county will have a ‘3FeetPlease’ sticker, reminding motorists of the concept even when cyclists are not around,” explained Mr. Hamilton.

As of this release, over 400 bumper stickers have been distributed and the remainder should be in place by the end of this year. For further information regarding the 3FeetPlease effort and bicycling in Southwest Florida, please visit their website.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Caloosa Riders Say Better Riding in Buckingham



Written by: Steve Rodgers
Edited by: Cindy Banyai

Buckingham Road has finally been resurfaced from Neal Road to Gunnery and the results are very pleasing for bicyclists and motorists alike.  The shoulders are smooth and easy to ride at any speed, keeping bicyclists out of the roadway so cars can pass without any delay.

Specifically for the Caloosa Riders, who ride out of Buckingham Park every Saturday morning, the ride last week started East on Buckingham to Sunset, and another finished from Sunset to the Park.  The repaving has even extended onto Sunset and Alvin about 20 feet or so, which has eliminated numerous pot holes and bad surfaces making the transitions onto these side streets much easier to navigate.

Lots of "high fives" from the Caloosa Riders. I'm sure the bicyclists and motorists that use this road on a regular basis are happy too.  Long time in coming, but the results are terrific!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column:For something different, run or walk the Midpoint Bridge


11/9/11

A small consolation to what remains a very sore subject with me is that once each year runners and walkers who are otherwise prohibited from using the Midpoint Bridge completely displace motor vehicles so we can participate in the annual Veterans Day 5K. This unique event is managed by and benefits Lee County Y and takes place on the evening of Friday, Nov. 11. It’s sure to be a great alternative to your usual Friday night.

One other distinctive aspect of this year’s event is the date itself: 11/11/11. The exclusivity of this date has caused many people to plan special events such as weddings on that day, so perhaps it has some kind of significance for those taking part in the bridge crossing that evening. Maybe running a personal record, viewing a double rainbow or falling star, or reconnecting with a long-lost friend is in the cards. I’m not one to believe in the significance of these numbers (after all, the real date is 11/11/2011) but for those who see value in such things, the Veterans Day 5K is an occasion to be part of lest one miss out on something special happening.

Another undertaking that might be considered somewhat atypical is also happening in Southwest Florida, although this one happens twice a week and will go on as long as there’s interest. Striders Club, an effort to help folks recover from addiction by walking and running on a regular basis, recently kicked off with more than 40 participants taking part. Masterminded by United Way’s Roger Mercado, two agencies with residential substance abuse treatment programs that are located near each other have taken us up on our offer to help their clients replace their destructive addiction with a beneficial one.

Aided by Lee County Human Services, Lee County EMS, Lee Memorial Health System, Grace Church and local college nursing students, the residents of Southwest Florida Addictions Services and Salvation Army are taking part in organized training sessions on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. We’ve developed routes around downtown Fort Myers, with a crossing of the Edison Bridge part of the more ambitious ones. And running (or walking) the Edison Fest 5K in February is one of the mid-term goals set. We’d appreciate any coaching or other expertise or resources anyone can provide. Contact me if you’d like to be part of this interesting undertaking or with your questions and suggestions.

Advocacy update

There are so many bike/ped and complete streets matters happening right now that it would be a mistake to try to squeeze them into this column, so visit BikeWalkLee's blog for more information. But one thing is worth mentioning: the appointment of Billy Hattaway as Florida Department of Transportation District 1 secretary. He’ll also have a role in bike/ped matters that affect the entire state.

Mr. Hattaway, a certified planner and professional engineer, is returning to FDOT after a successful stint in the private sector with a firm that’s well known for the fine work it does in terms of multi-modal transportation planning. Over the years he’s provided Florida Bicycle Association and BikeWalkLee with invaluable insight, something we hope will continue. Billy’s also an avid cyclist and cycling instructor, so he practices what he preaches. We look forward to Billy Hattaway’s leadership in our home FDOT district and statewide.

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

in the know

Running/Walking:

>> Veterans Day Midpoint Bridge 5K, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, Royal Palm Square, Fort Myers (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com) >> Turkey Trot 5K, Thursday, Nov. 24, Cape Coral Hospital (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com) River Run 10K , Saturday, Dec. 3, downtown Fort Myers (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com) >> FGCU Fly-by-Night 50-Mile Team Relay, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, FGCU Campus (www.3dracinginc.com) For more Lee County running events, visit Fort Myers Track Club (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com) and 3-D Racing (www.3dracinginc.com). For Naples/Collier running info, it’s the Gulf Coast Runners (www.gcrunner.org). Charlotte County running information is at www.zoomersrun.com. Walkers can visit www.meetup.com/Walking- SWFL.

Cycling & Other Events:

>>CyclingSavvy, Wednesday, Nov. 9; Saturday, Nov. 12, Fort Myers (cyclingsavvy.org) >> Visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club at www.caloosariders.com; Florida Mudcutters at www.mudcutters.org; Naples Pathways Coalition at www.naplespathways.org; Naples Velo at www.naplesvelo.com; Peace River Riders at www.peaceriverriders.com; and Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club at www.coastalcruisers.net for more information on local bicycling activities, including weekly rides. The Florida Bicycle Association (www.floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More position papers for review in New Horizon 2035 Lee Plan update process


As reported in an earlier blog post, Horizon 2035 is a comprehensive review and update of the Lee Plan through the year 2035. New Horizon 2035 include three components: the Evaluation and Appraisal Report, the Lee Plan Update, and the LDC Update. The EAR resulted in a sustainable vision for growth and development through the year 2035. Lee County is now using this vision as the basis to update the Lee Plan’s goals, objectives and policies.

The Lee Plan Update is being completed in two parts: policy issue discussions and draft elements. Before drafting goals and policies, the County's Planning Division will present a series of monthly issue papers to the Local Planning Agency and Sustainability Committee for input. There are now 3 more issue papers out for review, which will be discussed at the November 18th Local Planning Agency (LPA) meeting being held at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Chambers, Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901.

Click here to review the agenda and the issue papers.http://www.leegov.com/gov/dept/dcd/Documents/Agendas/LPA/2011/11/Nov182011.pdf

The 3 issue papers are on the following topics:

A. Current Lee Plan Framework
B. Proposed Urban-Suburban-Rural Environmental Framework
C. Future Mixed-Use Strategies

This set of papers focus on the question of how to create a Future Land Use Map with a clear distinction between urban, suburban, rural and environmental resource areas that correspond with the Land Use Framework established in the Horizon 2035 Plan (EAR).The mixed-use strategies paper also addresses the problem, as summed up by the LPA as "we are trying to get to urban with suburban land uses and zoning." The staff is asking the two committees to discuss appropriate densities and intensities, land use standards, and design considerations.

BikeWalkLee will be participating in this year-long process to ensure that the complete streets/sustainability focus in the EAR is carried through in the actual Comp Plan amendments.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Strong Towns Video: An innovative complete streets solution??



This excellent video, narrated by the Executive Director of Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn, about the Diverging Diamond Intersection project in Springfield, Mo. The title of the video is "an innovative complete streets solution or further proof that the engineering profession is failing us?" Chuck goes on a walking tour of the new intersection with the roadway engineer, and then provides his own narrative of the tour.

The take away message for complete streets implementation: It's important to focus on what's the best way to make this environment work for the different modes of transportation, not just a checklist of whether a road project includes bike and pedestrian facilities.

Lee County honored as Complete Streets Champion of the Year






BikeWalkLee's Press Release
Issued November 8, 2011

Lee County honored as 'Complete Streets Champion of the Year'

BikeWalkLee (BWL), a local community coalition advocating for complete streets in Lee County, has selected Lee County Administration and its Complete Streets Interdepartmental Performance Team (IPT) to receive the 2011 Complete Streets Champion of the Year Award. BikeWalkLee will present the award to the team at today’s Lee County Commission meeting.

In November 2009, the Lee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) adopted a Complete Streets resolution, which was the first step in making Lee County’s streets safer and more accessible for all the people who use them. It set in motion planning and regulatory changes to ensure that all users of Lee’s roadways are included in transportation planning at the front end of the process. For the past two years, County Manager Karen Hawes and her team have worked diligently on developing and implementing a complete streets program. This award recognizes those efforts.

“As we said in 2009, the resolution was the beginning of the process and the hard work of implementation was ahead, “said Darla Letourneau, a member of BikeWalkLee’s steering committee. “A complete streets approach is about a paradigm shift in traditional road construction philosophy, and implementing complete streets requires policy and institutional change.”

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership by Hawes, her management team, and the innovative Complete Streets IPT, which includes members from the following county departments or divisions: Transportation, Community Development, Human Services, County Lands, Parks and Recreation, Utilities, Transit, and Sustainability.

This team approach breaks down interdepartmental barriers and uses a collaborative team approach of working together at the front-end to plan transportation projects in a holistic fashion.

BikeWalkLee cited the following accomplishments by the team in making the award:
• The county manager embraced the complete streets policy from the start and set up a new interdepartmental team to ensure that all the internal players were involved in the planning and decision-making process.
• The IPT sought input from citizens through the involvement of the Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, the Complete Streets Working Group, and the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Through this process, county citizens and advocacy groups such as BikeWalkLee have participated in development of the implementation plan.
• The IPT developed a comprehensive complete streets evaluation tool that was used in 2010 and 2011 to evaluate opportunities for complete streets improvements on roadways scheduled to be resurfaced. This process successfully identified ways to improve connections and safety on some of these roadways. A GIS tool is also being developed that can be used for the evaluation of all roadway projects.
• This year the team developed the most important building block for complete streets implementation—the redesign of the county’s transportation planning and budgeting process. This process ensures that the front-end planning includes the needs of all the users and the many stakeholders, and explores a broad array of multimodal transportation options.

“Those who bicycle, walk and use public transit in Lee County know there’s still a lot of work to be done to make our streets safer and more accessible to all,” said Letourneau. “But the county is putting in place the institutional and organizational changes that integrate complete streets into the way the county does its day-to-day business, and ensures complete streets implementation over the long haul. The county has made great strides — progress that would not have been possible without the leadership of County Manager Karen Hawes and her team, and the commitment and hard work of the county’s Complete Streets Interdepartmental Performance Team.”

Members of the Lee County Team Receiving Award:

County Administration:
Karen Hawes – County Manager
Doug Meurer – Assistant County Manager
Pete Winton - Assistant County Manager
Holly Schwartz – Assistant County Manager
Dave Loveland – Interim Transportation Director
Pam Keyes – Director of Utilities
The Complete Streets Interdepartmental Performance Team:
Andy Getch – Transportation
Mikki Rozdolski – Community Development
Cyndy Calfee – Human Services
Lynda Thompson – County Landshttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Dan Calvert – Parks and Recreation
Thom Osterhout - Utilities
Dan Rudge/Wayne Gaither – Transit
Tessa LeSage – Sustainability

To view the video of the presentation, see 13:00 - 21:00 on the video on the County's website.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great biking on new facilities in Fort Myers Beach & Hickory Blvd






On Sunday, I finally had a chance to ride the new Hickory Blvd. bike lanes, which are terrific. The top two photos are from Hickory Blvd. The bottom two photos are the new resurfacing and improved biking shoulders that LeeDOT just completed that runs from outside downtown Fort Myers Beach and before Lover's Key. We rode from the corner of Summerlin & San Carlos all the way down Fort Myers Beach and to Bonita Beach Rd. in Bonita Springs. Except for the San Carlos Blvd. & for the congested 1 mile or so in downtown Fort Myers Beach, you've got bike lanes or biking shoulders for the full length of the 35 mile ride. Thanks to everyone in the community in Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, and LeeDOT who have made these improvements possible.

The only problem we noticed on our great Sunday ride was the number of people who were riding the wrong way in the bike lanes! My rough guess is that about 25-30% of the people using the bike lanes on Sunday were riding the wrong direction. I hope that the City of Fort Myers Beach, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Sheriff's office will look into a education campaign to inform visitors and residents that it's illegal and unsafe to ride against traffic in the bike lanes. Let us know what your experience has been. Thanks!
Darla Letourneau

Update on Cape Coral bike lanes pending request


Report from Steve Chupack, BikeWalkLee's Cape Coral representative:

Here's the latest on the SW Cape Coral Neighborhood Association's request for 1.1 miles of bike lanes on Beach Parkway and Agualinda Boulevard.

Thanks to efforts by a number of bike/pedestrian safety advocates, we can report unofficially that the Bicycle Lane Request Survey forms submitted to the Department of Public Works show very strong support for this request. The "survey" was just that, an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinion. Staff of PW will include the survey results when it reports to the City Council's Transportation Advisory Commission. It will be one of many factors considered when voting whether to recommend approving the request.

The TAC was scheduled to hold its next meeting on Nov. 16. On Nov. 4, TAC Chairman, Councilman Pete Brandt, cancelled the meeting after polling other members. There will be at least one new member appointed to the TAC at the Council's Nov. 14 meeting, the first after the election. If the TAC meeting was held as scheduled, there would have been only two days for any new member to be brought up to speed on the issues before the TAC, including the pending review of the SWCCNA bike lane request. It is expected the TAC will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14. We will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Patricia Young, Board member of the SWCCNA, and Steve Chupack, BWL representative for Cape Coral, express their thanks to all who used the survey form posted on BikeWalkLee and other sites, to the Caloosa Riders, and others who indicated their strong support for the bike lane request.

Senate transportation reauthorization bill a triple whammy for biking & walking



November 7th Legislative Report from Alliance for Biking and Walking:

The Senate version of a new two-year transportation authorization bill was released on Friday, and it does not preserve dedicated funding as we had been promised. Worse yet, it adds more eligible activities and gives an opt-out option all together.

Here is a quick analysis from America Bikes:
[Click here to see their side-by-side comparison.]

Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreation Trails Program are all lumped together into a smaller funding pot that is shared with some wetland mitigation banking uses for NEPA compliance AND road uses such as redesigning roads, HOV lanes, etc.

This bill does not address safety concerns, and it includes performance measures that look at project results versus network or system-wide effects. This will make it harder for bicycle and pedestrian projects to compete for CMAQ money.

This bill also keeps the name of Transportation Enhancements (which national bike/ped organizations would prefer to change) and broadens the use of enhancements to include new and expensive uses. In addition, it puts all of TE into a new pot called “Additional Activities.”

In summary it’s a triple whammy for biking and walking:
• Less money
• More competition
• It’s all optional


On the transit side, we understand that the transit funding share will remain the same at 20% and that there will be flexibility for transit in the bill. More details will be forthcoming on this section of the bill and many others.

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will "mark up" the bill. Usually, this would give a chance for members of the committee to offer amendments to improve the bill, and those amendments would be debated and voted on. However, Wednesday’s committee mark-up is a sham. The “Big 4” — Senators Boxer (D-CA), Inhofe (R-OK), Baucus (D-MT) and Vitter (R-LA) — have stated they will vote together as a bloc to stop any amendment on either side from passinhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifg, so we don't expect any changes in the bill at this step.

In the next several days, our national partners, America Bikes, Transportation for America, Alliance for Biking and Walking, the National Complete Streets Coalition, etc. will be issuing analyses and statements about the bill, and we'll keep you abreast of important developments.

Stay tuned for future action alerts!

Click here to read the Nov. 8th statement by Bicycling and Walking Organizations in response to the Senate bill (called MAP-21).

Click here for an analysis of the bill by Transportation for America.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Update on Lee County New Horizon 2035--moving from the EAR to comp plan amendments


Horizon 2035 is a comprehensive review and update of the Lee Plan through the year 2035. New Horizon 2035 include three components: the Evaluation and Appraisal Report, the Lee Plan Update, and the LDC Update. The EAR resulted in a sustainable vision for growth and development through the year 2035. Lee County is now using this vision as the basis to update the Lee Plan’s goals, objectives and policies.

The New Horizon 2035 vision is:

Lee County will be a highly desirable place to live, work, and visit – recognized for its commitment to a sustainable future characterized by a healthful economy, environment, and community. Because of its commitment, Lee County will be a community of choice – valued for its quality of life; varied natural environment; unique sense of history and place; distinct urban, suburban, and rural communities; diverse economy and workforce; and varied travel options.

The Lee Plan Update is being completed in two parts: policy issue discussions and draft elements. Before drafting goals and policies, the County's Planning Division will present a series of monthly issue papers to the Local Planning Agency and Sustainability Committee for input.

The first issue paper was presented in the fall of 2011 and will continue through winter 2012. Once the issue papers have been completed, staff will then present specific changes to the Lee Plan's goals, objectives, and policies.

These changes will be presented by element starting in spring 2012. The process for updating the Lee Plan will continue through the winter of 2012-2013. To date, two white papers have been prepared and each is going through the review and discussion process in two county committees--the Local Planning Agency (LPA) and the Community Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC). Both issue papers--Visioning & Health & Human Services, along with LPA's comments, are located on the Horizon 2035 website.

The Public Health & Safety issue paper, discussed by the LPA on October 24th, draws from BikeWalkLee's 2009 safety report and the MPO bike/ped master plan to make the case for the connection between health and urban design and the need to incorporate the alternative transportation impact on the health of Lee County residents in developing policies on urban design. To read this issue paper, click here. The next paper to be developed is of critical importance--transportation concurrency. That issue paper will be presented to the LPA in January and to the CSAC in February.

In order to ensure that the Horizon 2035 vision of integrating complete streets principles in the county's policies and practices, this vision has to be incorporated into detailed Comprehensive Plan amendments that will result from these issue papers. BikeWalkLee will be an active player in this dialogue through participating in the LPA and CSAC discussions and will keep you posted on these developments.