News-Press June 14, 2015
SWFL communities taking different routes, at different speeds
By Janine Zeitlin and Laura Ruane
Chapter 4: Cape Coral
Bike tourism is big business
|Mike Swanson, volunteer with Cape Coral Bike-Ped and Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, at the opening of one of Cape Coral's bike routes last year. (photo: Jim ParA@ News-Press)|
Cape Coral began with a challenge.
"The regional developer built with no accommodations for anybody but the vehicles," said Persides Zambrano, a city public works planning manager.
The city and its advocates for biking have since been trying to play catch-up.
Several years ago, the city began identifying roads with low vehicle counts and converted traffic lanes into bike lanes. The city's overall count of bike lanes, including county and state roads, is 110 miles and nine miles of bike paths, Zambrano said.
Last year, the city partnered with Cape Coral Bike-Ped, a volunteer group that included Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club's Mike Swanson, to map out 90 miles of seven interconnected bike routes with signage, according to Cape Coral Bike-Ped. Thirteen kiosks with maps were installed in parks. Some aims included directing riders to safer, less congested routes along with highlighting the gems of the area, said Carolyn Conant, of Cape Coral Bike-Ped.
Conant pointed to a 2010 study showing bicycling adds $133 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
"We also wanted it as a tourist attraction. It's a big business."
Link to companion story 6/14/15 News-Press: "Bicycling--7 cities that will make Florida riders jealous"
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Staff writer Steve Doane contributed to this report.