Thursday, August 22, 2013

BikeWalkLee News-Press Article - Pedestrian Safety Facts

Palm Beach Walking Audit

Feel like taking a walk? How about taking a quiz first? It’s about walking, so perhaps it will inspire you (or at least inform you):

1. People who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are how much more likely to be active at least 30 minutes a day?
A) 13%
B) 29%
C) 47%
D) 73%
E) Doesn’t have an impact
ANSWER: C, according to a study if neighborhood environments in 11 countries published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

2. What makes pedestrians feel the most threatened about walking?
A) Potential for crime
B) Motorists
C) Uneven surfaces
D) Dogs or other animals
ANSWER: B in all three categories – suburban, urban and rural. A is second for suburban areas, while D comes in second for both rural and urban walkers.

3. Based on the percentage of deaths, what’s the most dangerous time to be walking?
A) 4-8 p.m.
B) 8 p.m.-midnight
C) Midnight-4 a.m.
D) 4-8 a.m.
E) 8 a.m.-noon
F) Noon-4 p.m.
ANSWER: B, when 31% of pedestrian fatalities happen… thanks to a combination of less light and more traffic (and perhaps a few adult beverages?). Second is A (more traffic?), followed by C (more tired people?). Your best bet for safety? It’s 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

4. In the past 10 years, pedestrian fatalities nationwide as a percentage of all traffic fatalities has:
A) Risen
B) Fallen
C) Stayed the same.
ANSWER: A. From 2002 to 2011, pedestrian fatalities have on average fallen in number but increased as a percentage of the total – because the total number of traffic fatalities has dropped even more. Pedestrian fatalities were 14% of total fatalities in 2011 (the last reporting year on file) as compared to 11% in 2002.

5. How often is alcohol involved in pedestrian fatalities?
A) 16%
B) 32%
C) 48%
D) 64%
ANSWER: C when the blood alcohol content (BAC) for both pedestrians and drivers are measured. Interestingly, a high BAC in a pedestrian raises the risk of a pedestrian fatality much more than a driver with a higher BAC

6) Which state had the highest pedestrian fatalities per total population in 2001 (the last reporting year)?
A) Florida
B) South Carolina
C) Arizona
D) Delaware
E) New Mexico
ANSWER: A. Yes, friends, we’re No. 1… unless you throw in Puerto Rico. Who’s lowest? Nebraska and New Hampshire were tied that year.

7) What’s the most dangerous area in the state, when measured using an indicator called the Pedestrian Danger Index?
A) Fort Myers-Cape Coral
B) Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach
C) Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
D) Orlando-Kissimmee
E) Jacksonville
ANSWER: D. Sorry, we’re only third out of this list – yes, more dangerous than Miami and Jacksonville (which is the only one of these five areas that comes in under the state average).

Some good news: The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in conjunction with a broad array of stakeholders, is developing a countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan that aims to address many safety issues. The plan will be ready for implementation this fall.

Now, it’s time for that walk… and let’s be careful out there.

·         Want a look at what local leaders are planning for bike/ped safety?? Check out what's happening on the MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan:
·         Local pedestrian statistics online at
·         For a considerable collection of pedestrian facts, tips, stories and statistics, check out “Everyone is a Pedestrian” online at

# # #

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Educational Bike Tour in Cape Coral

Early last Saturday morning an enthusiastic group of bike-pedestrian safety experts and advocates left from Cape Coral City Hall on bicycles to see first-hand examples of some of the city's best and worse places to ride.  This included the challenge of navigating the dangerous intersection at Veterans Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard.  It was part of  a series of educational bike tours for municipal officials and others supported by Lee County EMS and facilitated by BikeWalkLee’s Dan Moser and Ann Pierce.

Dan Moser points to a dangerous blind corner on Veterans Parkway bike path
The group included two representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation:  Carmen Monroy, Director of the SW Area Office, and Providance Nagy, District 1 Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator.  Other participants included Mike Bacigalupo, BikeWalkLee's newly appointed Cape Coral representative, Pat Young and Steve Chupack of  Cape Coral Bike-Ped (CCBP), Mike Swanson from Caloosa Riders, Carlos Monroy, and Bob Gardner with the City of  Fort Myers.  Cape Coral City officials and staff were invited, but were either out-of-town or had other obligations that prevented their participation.  BikeWalkLee and CCBP hope to schedule other opportunities in the coming months so that these officials and staff can experience this valuable see-for-yourself educational experience.

There were frequent stops during the 11-mile ride when specific examples of particularly dangerous situations were analyzed.   Sometimes it was a case of poor road or intersection design, or blocked visibility, or bikeways with overhanging branches.   Dan and others made it a point to suggest solutions to problem areas so that this could be passed along to city staff for their consideration.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Join the Lee "Town Hall" conversation about College Parkway Corridor Study

Join “Lee County Town Hall” Online Public Forum
Participate in local government – at any time, from any place – with the “Lee County Town Hall” virtual public forum.
Lee County’s new interactive website, at, invites residents to share opinions and ideas on proposed projects to help improve our community. The growing list of campaigns will also feature polls and challenges just for fun. Registration is free, so get involved today!
- See more at:

Join “Lee County Town Hall” Online Public Forum
Participate in local government – at any time, from any place – with the “Lee County Town Hall” virtual public forum.
Lee County’s new interactive website, at, invites residents to share opinions and ideas on proposed projects to help improve our community. The growing list of campaigns will also feature polls and challenges just for fun. Registration is free, so get involved today!
- See more at:
 The County's Town Hall website invites residents to share opinions and ideas on proposed projects to help improve our community.  The College Parkway Corridor Study is one of those projects and has added new topics seeking your input. It's up to YOU to become part of this exciting interactive community conversation!  Registration is free, so get involved today!   
Lee County is evaluating redevelopment options for the College Parkway corridor. We will be studying existing conditions, identifying the area’s unique needs, and making recommendations on how the redevelopment might take place. The plan needs to be based on the desires and vision of the community, so public participation is critical to its success. We’ll be adding topics for you to share your thoughts about redevelopment, complete streets, green space and buildings. Participate via social media and traditional meetings.

Monday, August 12, 2013

BikeWalkLee's local representatives, including new Cape Coral rep

 BikeWalkLee welcomes its new representative for Cape Coral, Mike Bacigalupo. Thanks to our outgoing Cape rep, Steve Chupack, for his terrific work these past three years.  Thanks to all six of BWL's local reps for keeping our network informed and involved in what's happening around the county.

BikeWalkLee has been involved in advocacy on a countywide basis, participating in all the Lee County MPO meetings and committees, and in the Board of County Commission committees and hearings. While the majority of transportation decisions that affect bike/ped/transit facilities and complete streets policies are made in these two bodies, the local jurisdictions (Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel) also make bike/ped decisions on their local roads as well as influence decisions on county maintained roads.

Beginning in 2011, BikeWalkLee designated local representatives in each jurisdiction. Click here to the updated list and bios of our local representatives. These individuals serve as our “point persons” who lead the local advocacy efforts and keep the BWL network informed about what’s happening in their jurisdiction. Great things are happening in the local jurisdictions and our local representatives are in the thick of things.

New Cape Coral Rep:
We're pleased to announce that Mike Bacigalupo is the new BWL representative for Cape Coral.  Mike has been a resident of Cape Coral since 2004, when he moved from New Jersey, and has been involved in the community since his arrival.  He's a member of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Realtor Association, and on the Local Relay for Life Team.  He's a licensed adjuster, a licensed realtor, and has been a self-employed consultant since 1997. 

He was inspired to get involved in BikeWalkLee when he participated in one of BikeWalkLee's educational bike tours led by Dan Moser.  He enjoys biking, kayaking, running, and golf. 

He said he wants to get involved in BikeWalkLee "because he wants Cape Coral and Lee County to be a destination where active families and individuals will want to live in health and harmony with the local environment."

A special thanks from the BikeWalkLee team to Steve Chupack, who has been a terrific Cape Coral rep for the past three years.  He played a key role in bringing new bike lanes to the Cape, launched the first annual Bicycle Safety Rodeo for students, and helped launch the Cape Coral Bike-Ped group (CCBP), which is doing great things in the Cape.

Here's the full list of our representatives:
 Bonita Springs:       Sarah Baker
 Cape Coral:            Mike Bacigalupo
 Fort Myers:            Ann Pierce
 Fort Myers Beach: Bruce Butcher
 Sanibel:                 Tom Sharbaugh
 FGCU:                   Dr. Margaret Banyan

Click here for bios and contact information on our local reps.

So, if you live in one of these jurisdictions and want to get involved or have questions, contact our representative for that area.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

BWL Column: Plenty of choices to bike, walk in Cape Coral

News-Press "Go Coastal" section, August 8, 2013
News-Press photo
This week's BikeWalkLee column highlights the great work of Cape Coral Bike-Ped in bringing an upcoming 90-mile bike route system to reality.

 Looking for a place to ride in Cape Coral? Your choices are good and getting better all the time – thanks to the commitment of a core of concerned citizens to turn the Cape into a bicyclist’s dream.
The citizens are the many members of Cape Coral Bike-Ped (CCPD), which formed less than a year ago to promote safer bike-ped options in the county’s largest city. The strategy is to connect existing bike-ped paths – bike lanes, sidewalks, low-traffic streets – into a more effective network by spending infrastructure dollars in partnership with city government and other entities.

And the result? A stellar show of support for its initial efforts, the beginnings of a mapped and branded bike-ped network and, eventually, a network of more than 90 miles of connected cycling routes throughout the city.

 But those ready to ride today don’t have to wait. Head to this link to find myriad maps showing current planned routes that ring the city – complete with distances, directions, and more. Routes can run from less than 3 miles up to 50 miles, giving every level of rider a reasonable option.
Impressed? Wait until you see the roster of sponsors CCBP has put together to support this growing network with signage to show the way and donations to help the city complete crucial connections that will make this network even more effective. They include:

• Physicians’ Primary Care
• The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce
• Team Aubuchon
• The Cape Coral Community Foundation
• The city’s Parks & Rec Department
• The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association

Each has taken on the task of raising funds to make one of these routes a reality, to assist the city in making the necessary network connections to build this citywide circuit and turn the Cape into a cycling destination. Signage to designate the various routes and the specific route detail are being worked on, so stay tuned for updates on construction details. All the routes tie together (eventually), and of course will link up with existing county bike infrastructure to really complete the cycling connection.
It’s a lesson we’re seeing more and more communities learn: Bike-ped infrastructure gets more use when it gets people from Point A to Point B (and beyond) safely and surely… and that seeing people out biking and walking inspires others to join them, building momentum and awareness.

To get this far this fast takes strong community support, true. But it also takes a few dedicated individuals making this there mission – and CCBP has been fortunate to find just that in group founder Carolyn Conant and a handful of Cape citizens such as Mike Swanson, the coordinator responsible for creating the various routes, who saw a need, identified a solution and worked with the city and the community to make it happen.

Happen it did – and bicyclists throughout Southwest Florida can be thankful for that.

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dan Moser Column: Enjoy a hot August night run

Florida Weekly, August 7, 2013    This week's Moser column highlights the upcoming Punta Gorda night run, and the advocacy update focuses on the school-managed recreational facilities that are unavailable to the public (including children) after school hours.

Dan Moser
Timing is everything when doing things outdoors this time of year, especially if you’re a runner. Start out too late and any thoughts of a long run can easily become little more than a quest for shade and an end to the torture. There are, however, exceptions — the small group I’ve witnessed running along McGregor every day at noon for almost two decades being one of them. Those kinds of die-hards aside, most runners would love to run a race when it’s as tolerable as it’ll get for late August in Southwest Florida. That can only mean a nighttime race. And I don’t mean evening, I mean nighttime.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, the streets of Punta Gorda’s historic downtown and its waterfront Harborwalk will be the route for Hot August Nights 8K, a race that finishes uphill on the rooftop of the city’s downtown parking garage. The reward is a post-race cool-down gathering and awards presentation that promises to be something to remember (beer, of course, will be part of it). This first-time event is the brainchild of The Foot Landing, a locally owned store that offers shoes, clothing and gear for all levels of runners and triathletes. The store’s owners,  being from Key West, thought they’d spice oi things up a bit by creating the kind of event that should do just that. Finishing on the roof of the parking garage may sound strange, but the store is located on the first floor retail level, so it’s actually a logical place. Having to run uphill to the finish line is also unusual — especially in our part of Florida — but that’s just another reason to be part of it.

A common sight: fenced out of a school playground.
A common sight: fenced out of a school playground.

 Just a week after that event comes the annual Dr Ella Piper Legacy 5K Run/Walk being staged from Dunbar Middle School in Fort Myers on Saturday, Aug. 31. One month later, on Saturday, Sept. 28, the Cops & Joggers 5K moves to the evening this year in the Fort Myers River District.

Advocacy update
“Don’t fence me out.” That’s the catch phrase of a public service ad campaign I remember seeing on TV in the early 1970s when I lived in the Northeast. It reminded those who managed properties with basketball courts, baseball and soccer fields, running tracks and playgrounds to allow them to be used rather than locked up. Unfortunately, today our schools are the most glaring example of fencing the public out from these resources, allowing them to sit idle. Of course, kids will always find other, often unhealthy and unproductive, things to do when school’s out.

Now that our schools resemble medium-security correctional facilities, we’ve become accustomed to being fenced out and accept it as the price we must pay to be safe. But keeping those who have no legitimate business off school grounds while classes are in session is much different than wasting valuable athletic and recreational amenities during non-school hours and on weekends. Considering these are truly public resources paid for by you and me, we should have reasonable access. Sure, the good news is that vandalism is down when things are locked up. The bad news is that by denying access, kids and others often find something else to do that costs society a lot more than preventing vandalism would and, ironically, sometimes means someone is locked up as a result. That’s on top of the lost health benefits and the costs associated with inactivity.

To its credit, Lee County Parks & Recreation has built parks adjacent to some public schools, so there is at least some attempt to get the biggest bang for the public buck. But if you really look at the wasted potential that is locked behind our schools’ gates, we’re doing ourselves a major disservice in the name of security. There has to be a way to make this work. Any ideas? Go to Lee County Town Hall ( with your suggestions. And don’t forget to visit BikeWalkLee’s blog (bikewalklee. to stay abreast of this and other community matters.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicy cle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.

Monday, August 5, 2013

USDOT's "Everyone Is a Pedestrian" safety campaign

BikeWalkLee is pleased to see that today USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx launched a campaign to combat the increases in pedestrian fatalities.  The new website, Everyone Is A Pedestrian, 
is an excellent "one-stop shop" resource for everyone involved in our community's efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in Lee County. This website has been added to BikeWalkLee's Favorite Links on our blog. These resources can assist the community as it finalizes and then implements the Lee MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action.

Below are excerpts from Secretary Foxx's blog today:

"Everyone Is A Pedestrian" offers safety information that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe. With ideas for parents on teaching children about safe walking; reports on effective pedestrian projects for state highway safety offices; guides for community pedestrian safety advocates; and more, the new website hosts a tremendous collection of useful content, and I urge you to visit.

As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety.  Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around.”

“We are committed to making roads, highways and bridges safer for pedestrians,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “We’re working to create safer environments for everyone, whether it’s getting proven safety measures onto roads and at intersections or sharing online resources with schools, teachers, and parents that teach kids pedestrian safety.”

I'm glad to hear it because according to NHTSA data, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2011. That's an 8 percent increase since 2009, and it's an increase we simply can't accept.

But if we're going to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths and injuries, we're going to need everyone's help. If you're looking for a place to start, the new Everyone Is A Pedestrian website is a good first step.

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 16th Lee MPO Peer Exchange--Sarasota's Honore Blvd. Project

 In an earlier blog post we told you about this exciting Sarasota Honore Blvd. project--instead of widening the road to be a 6-lane highway as originally planned, they changed it to be a multi-modal two-lane corridor with six roundabouts!  The Sarasota team will be making a presentation on August 16th to the Lee MPO Board as part of its series of Peer Exchanges. We hope that many elected officials, staff, committee members, and interested organizations and citizens will take advantage of this opportunity to learn from Sarasota as the Lee MPO prepares to develop its 2040 LRTP.


This presentation will be the second in a series of "Peer Exchanges" by the Lee MPO Board to learn from other communities' experiences as the MPO begins the process of developing its 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  This informative series of Peer to Peer Exchanges not only benefit the MPO Board, but also provide an excellent opportunity for staff and citizens throughout Lee County to be a part of the conversation.

The series was kicked off at the June MPO Board meeting with a presentation by the Executive Director the Nashville MPO, about the award-winning and visionary transportation plan developed by the Nashville area MPO in 2010, followed by a lively discussion with MPO Board members.  Click here for highlights from the Nashville discussion. 

August 16th:  Sarasota.  The Lee MPO Board's next meeting is on Friday, August 16th (9 a.m. in the Cape Coral City Council Chambers), and at that meeting, there will be a presentation by a Sarasota team about their award-winning Honore Blvd. project. Making the Sarasota presentation will be Jim Harriott, County Engineer for Sarasota County along with Frank Domingo (who also lives in the neighborhood), and Stantec (the consultant). They will be doing about a 20-25 minute presentation and then will open it up for discussion with the Board members.  Then the public will have an opportunity to comment.  (Here's agenda for 8/16 meeting--this is item #12.)

Background on Honore Blvd. Project
Honore Ave from Fruitville south to Bee Ridge, Sarasota County, FL
 Instead of widening Honore Blvd. to be a 6-lane highway as originally planned, Sarasota County changed it to be a multi-modal two-lane corridor with six roundabouts!  It is now successfully moving the traffic while saving millions in capital costs and will save even more in maintenance cost over the life of the road.  At the same time, the road is much safer for all users; and by using new low impact design for stormwater, it is much better for the environment.  This is truly a win-win-win....and something that Lee County needs to pursue. Click here for background on the project, including an excellent video.

Please watch this video about Honore Blvd in Sarasota

If all had gone as planned, Honore Avenue would be a bustling six-lane highway running south from Manatee County to Englewood. Instead, the 2.5 mile section just south of busy Fruitville Road is a two-lane road bordered by bioswales and punctuated with roundabouts that accommodate nearly as much traffic as a four-lane highway. Not only do the bioswales collect a significant percentage of pollution, neighbors love the design – and it cost $2.3 million less to build than the county had budgeted for a more traditional alternative....

”It’s important to accommodate automobiles but there needs to be a balance,” says Jon Thaxton, who served on the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners for 12 years before being term-limited out. “There is a balance here: there’s room for automobiles but there’s also a comfortable space for pedestrians and bicyclists – and the environment.”

.... From a traffic perspective, the road with roundabouts keeps cars moving because they don’t need to stop for red lights along the 2.5-mile section. Capacity is about 85% of a traditional four-lane but the number of serious accidents has dropped dramatically because there are no intersections.

“Roadways are like hourglasses,” Thaxton explains. “It doesn’t matter how much capacity you have at the top and the bottom, the volume is determined by the size of the connection in the middle.” Roundabouts slow traffic down but don’t require that cars stop at traffic lights or for left-hand turns. They also nearly eliminate the potential for t-bone crashes that can cause serious injuries. “Someone would almost have to want to get hurt to have a serious accident on this road,” he said. 

Stantec’s senior traffic engineer, Francisco Domingo, also lives in an adjacent neighborhood so the project was particularly near to his heart. He walks the road several times a week, checking for tire marks on the curbs of the roundabouts that might indicate that a driver took the curves too quickly. “People caught on to how to use them even more quickly than we expected,” he said. And with bioswales built between the road and the sidewalk, pedestrians are protected from careless drivers. “I never thought I’d see it happen, but people come from all over to use this sidewalk to teach their youngsters how to ride a bike,” Domingo said....

And the consultant that did the project, Stantec, was just named Transportation Consultant of the Year by Florida Public Works Association:

"The 2.7 mile Honore Avenue extension delivered an array of economic and community benefits, and sets a new standard for limiting the environmental impact of road construction in the region. Instead of a planned four-lane highway, the two-lane divided road features six roundabouts, bicycle lanes, LED streetlights, Florida-friendly landscaping, and bio-swales and rain gardens to treat stormwater runoff. Through the use of imaginative land and median configuration and boardwalks, the design team saved more than 75% of the existing high value trees and more than 16 acres of forested, publicly owned lands that are also home to two bald eagles nests."

Next in Lee MPO Peer Exchange Series:
September 20th: Broward County.  At the Sept. 20th Lee MPO Board meeting, a team from the Broward County MPO (Broward Mayor Kristin Jacobs and Broward MPO Director Greg Stuart) will do a presentation about their innovative LRTP, which includes a policy of no more roadway capacity expansion, with a shift to transit and bike/ped.

Report by Darla Letourneau