SWFL communities taking different routes, at different speeds
By Janine Zeitlin and Laura Ruane
Chapter 2: NaplesCentral Avenue makeover is route to healthier lifestyles
Central Avenue in Naples is on track to becoming a "blue zone." That's a popular catch phrase for a locale where people lead longer, healthier lives.
If that sounds like a pie-in-the-sky idea, consider:
The street is scheduled for a makeover that will make healthy actions such as walking and bicycling there safer and more appealing, said Beth Brainard, executive director for the Naples Pathways Coalition advocacy group.
Key changes include reducing the posted speed limit and trimming the avenue from four vehicle traffic lanes to two. That will make room for other changes, such as:
- Roundabouts at key intersections, to calm traffic;
- A bicycle lane;
- Sidewalks where none exist; and
- A landscaped median
The Central Avenue makeover also means people on bicycles will be able to travel safely and conveniently between Naples Beach and the Gordon River Greenway to the east.
"It's about making the healthy choice the easy choice," said Deb Millsap, executive director for the Blue Zones Project in Southwest Florida.
No one thinks a complete retrofit of Southwest Florida is possible, she said, but we can make pockets of Blue Zones where people could get exercise naturally, by walking to a store or bicycling to a park.