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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BikeWalkLee Elated by USDOT TIGER $10.5 million grant award for Lee MPO's Complete Streets Initiative

BikeWalkLee's "One-Stop Shop" TIGER Resource (last updated 4/3/14)


Thanks to the hundreds of people and organizations in our community and beyond who contributed in many ways over the past three year, we are very pleased to announce that the Lee MPO's complete streets initiative TIGER grant application has been approved (and the full amount of our request).  In addition, USDOT Secretary Foxx selected Lee County as only one of four locations for his September 5th and 6th national press conferences.  BikeWalkLee, represented by Darla Letourneau, was honored to speak at Secretary Foxx's press conference that featured the Six Mile Cypress Slough and a section of the Tour de Parks route as the backdrop.

NOTE: This blog will be updated on ongoing basis--it is one-stop shop on all things TIGER, so bookmark this page and check back for the latest info.

USDOT Secretary Foxx making remarks at 9/5 Lee Co. announcement

"Lee County's Complete Streets initiative will complete a safe, integrated bike and pedestrian network, increasing economic activity for local businesses," said USDOT Secretary Foxx. "It's investment in safety, it's investment in community, it's investment in mobility and it's investment in transportation choice." "Thanks in part to DOT's TIGER program, Lee County, Florida, is on the brink of transformation."  (Click here for video of Secretary Foxx's remarks.)
"We are deeply grateful to USDOT and Secretary Foxx for demonstrating its support for Lee County's complete streets efforts through this TIGER grant," said BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau. "It puts us on a new path toward a livable, sustainable, and economically vibrant future. It could not have been possible without real public engagement, collaboration, and teamwork. " (Click here for Letourneau remarks at 9/5 press conference.)
Darla Letourneau speaking on behalf of BikeWalklee

There are many pieces of the TIGER story.  We want to organize them for our readers all in one place with links so you can read more in-depth information and can use this page as a future resource.  
Project Overview
As outlined in our June 8th blog post, the application for TIGER V funding is for a "Complete Streets Initiative" tied to the MPO's Countywide Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, adopted by the MPO Board in June 2011.

The grant request was targeted on constructing a series of improvements to a network of pathways, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters and sidewalk connections, wayfinding signs, bike parking, and bicycle/pedestrian intersection improvements.  These connections will close the gaps along the Tour de Parks route, the University Loop, and the Bi-County Connector, as envisioned in the MPO's bike/ped master plan. The result will be a connected corridor of biking and walking facilities linking downtown Fort Myers across Lee County south to FGCU and Bonita Springs, and ultimately to Collier County by transit.

Improving safety is a key goal of this project.  Lee County's traffic safety record for bicyclists and pedestrians is one of the worst in the state.  Twenty-two percent of recent roadway crashes involved injuries or fatalities to bicyclists or pedestrians--nearly double the national average.

Click here to see Lee County 9/5 press release with map of the planned facilities.

The TIGER grant awards the fully requested amount of $10.5 million, which will be combined with $2.7 million in local and state matching funds, for a total of $13.2 million.  The grant application was accompanied by 55 letters of support from a wide variety of agencies, organizations, and businesses, including seven letters from legislators.  A special thanks to this list of supporters!
 
Partners in Lee County Complete Streets TIGER project -Lee County Commissioner Pendergrass, FDOT District Secretary Billy Hattaway, FGCU Steve Magiera, BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau, Mayor of Sanibel and MPO Chair Kevin Ruane, MPO Staff Director Don Scott, Sustainability Program Manager Tessa LeSage, and LeeTran Director Steve Meyers.
Exciting Florida International University complete streets/campus connectivity TIGER award
It's exciting to see the number of complete streets-related projects that are included in the national TIGER awards.  We are particularly pleased to see that one of the two other TIGER V awards received by Florida went to Florida International University ($11.4 million) for a package of technology, streetscaping, pedestrian-oriented infrastructure with a complete streets approach, to connect the town of Sweetwater to FIU.  This innovative approach to campus connectivity is a first-of-its kind effort that will serve as a model for other communities throughout the nation, and this is the only grant to a university that was made in this TIGER round.  Congrats to FIU!  We look forward to being one of those communities to learn from this FIU model

Lee County TIGER Application Documents
 USDOT Materials on all TIGER V Awards

 Media Coverage of Lee TIGER Grant
News-Press:
9/14:  News-Press editorial:  "When you can't do it alone, government is welcome"
9/6:  "Transit funds a 'game changer" (front page lead story)
 9/5:  "Transportation grant expected" (front page lead story)

Naples Daily News:

 Includes coverage of the grant announcement event, as well as interviews with Cindy Banyai and Kate Gooderham about their desire for safer biking facilities for them and their children.

Quotes from officials at 9/5/13 TIGER grant announcement event. 
To see what this grant means to the Lee County community from various perspectives, key quotes from various officials made during Secretary Foxx's press conference, as well as quotes from other officials and participants in the event were gathered by BikeWalkLee's Ann Pierce. Click here for quotes from officials.













Report by Darla Letourneau (last update: 4/3/14)

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