There’s potentially good news for those who’d like to travel on McGregor Boulevard by bicycle (the road, not the sidewalk): The suggestions put forth in this column and at public meetings to add sharrows on this historic public roadway’s two-lane sections and a reconfiguring of the four-lane segment to include bike lanes are being considered.
The city of Fort Myers indicated it would have a report completed on the segment from downtown to Colonial Boulevard in six months and the Florida Department of Transportation expressed interest in the ideas on its segments as well (Colonial Boulevard to Iona Road). Ideally, the city and FDOT will work together to maximize resources and potentially create a plan with as much continuity as there can be for a roadway having a number of different configurations. If Lee County DOT would take a hard look at how its segments could be similarly improved (Gladiolus Drive to the end of Summerlin Road) and the last stretch from near Shell Point Boulevard to the Sanibel Causeway) and work with the other two entities, the entire roadway could live up to its reputation as one the county’s signature public assets.
Getting ready for kick-off parade at 2014 Streets Alive!
Perhaps even better news is that by agreeing to formally consider the recommendations put forth, FDOT is, in me my opinion, demonstrating its commitment to reducing bike/ped crashes and to adequately accommodate non-motorists in its public rights of way. In fact, FDOT recently adopted a Complete Streets policy agency-wide, yet another affirmation of the positive direction the department has been heading since Billy Hattaway has come on board and put together a team that has the monumental task of improving bike/ped safety throughout Florida as its number-one priority. Indeed, changing the culture of an agency that has historically been primarily concerned with moving motor vehicles as efficiently as possible to one that will instead focus on providing safe mobility options to all the people it serves is perhaps an even more daunting undertaking. A number of reforms and significant changes in policies and procedures have already taken place since FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad hired Mr. Hattaway to be both District One secretary and take on statewide leadership in reducing bike/ped crashes, injuries and fatalities. For many of us who walk, run and bike on our roads, it’s sometimes difficult to see any real progress being made. But, from my perspective, FDOT’s commitment appears sincere and all the right people are currently in place to see it through. FDOT’s Complete Streets policy can be found at BikeWalkLee’s Sept. 20 blog post at bikewalkleeblogspot.com.
Streets Alive! update
Just a few days prior to the second undertaking of Streets Alive! organizers and others had the opportunity to learn about Cyclovias’ history and worldwide effects from one of the key people involved with them from the start. Gil Penalosa was the keynote presenter at Florida Public Transit Association annual conference luncheon in Naples where he tied together all the aspects of a vibrant, livable community with events like Streets Alive! being part of many of the world’s most thriving places. Mr Penalosa hails from Bogota, Colombia, arguably the birthplace of Cyclovias. Hearing from one of the pioneers and seeing his outstanding presentation with all the benefits quantified was very energizing for all in attendance but especially for anyone about to stage an Open Streets event in their community.
That being said, Street’s Alive! was even more successful than the first go around a year earlier. Although the morning started out a bit cool, the sunlit sky warmed things to a perfect temperature for taking part in the many activities offered that day. Much to organizers’ pleasant surprise, even with Taste of Lee County having taken place in the same place the day before and Taste of the Town happening at JetBlue Park that same day, the healthy food vendors and local source producers were extremely popular. Hopefully, local restaurants that were part of the route did as well. The kick-off parade was another hit, with many early attendees joining in the fun. Throughout the day there was a steady flow of people stopping by BikeWalkLee’s interactive display where they could provide input to volunteers as well as representatives from a number of transportation agencies. Elected officials also mingled with visitors, listening to their ideas and making suggestions as to how they might become reality.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.
— Dan Moser is a long- time bicycle/ pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org 334- 6417.