As was the case last time, the four most pedestrian-unfriendly metro areas with populations more than one million, Florida’s Big 4: Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Jacksonville, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale Pompano are the country’s most dangerous, according to the report.
The good news is that the Fort Myers- Cape Coral metro area actually improved slightly from the 2011 report. The bad news is that the time period being considered is 2008-2012 so it doesn’t include 2013, a year in which 24 pedestrians were killed on Lee County roads, one of the highest number and largest percentages of all traffic deaths ever recorded here. But even considering this disturbing statistic — and that fact that many more people sustain life-changing injuries — significant progress has been made in efforts to reverse this persistent public health problem. At least from a design standpoint, which is the primary focus of Dangerous by Design.
Here are a few examples of the progress made over the past few years, many which I have covered in this column:
- Lee MPO, Lee County and the city of Fort Myers have approved Complete Streets policies and are beginning to implement them so we’ll soon see projects that have more bike/ped features and don’t focus on maximizing motor vehicle speeds in the design.
- A countywide Bike/Ped Master Plan and a Bike/Ped Safety Action Plan have been developed, approved, and are also in the implementation stages. Law enforcement, a vital aspect of the plan, is actively engaged in the process.
- We were awarded a $10.4 million federal TIGER grant, money that will be used exclusively for bike/ped improvements; work should be completed within the next two years.
- And last but not least, FDOT has taken the lead on moving Florida out of the dubious number one position as the state with the most pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities for many years running. Thanks to the efforts of FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad and especially District One Secretary Billy Hattaway, who was given this daunting task along with his district duties, we’ve witnessed real changes in the way our state transportation agency looks at its role and the infrastructure it manages.
To leave this on a positive note, as Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” portrays, there’s a chance for a better outcome from something that appears stuck in the same old pattern. You can read more about Dangerous by Design at BikeWalkLee’s blog.
— Dan Moser is CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for the Florida Bicycle Association. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 334- 6417.
- Pink Heels 5K, Saturday, May 31, Fort Myers River District (www.3dracinginc.com)
- Fast Cat Cross Country 5K, Saturday, Aug.16, Estero HS (www.3dracinginc.com)
- For more Lee County running events visit, Fort Myers Track Club (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com), Endurance Sports Timing (www.endurancesportstiming.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 and other events:
- Wheels & Wings, Sunday, July 6, Punta Gorda (www.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com).
- Visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (www.caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (www.mudcutters.org); Naples Pathways Coalition www.naplespathways.org; Naples Velo (www.naplesvelo.com); Peace River Riders (www.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com); and Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club (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.