Today's column reports on the progress that has been made over the past 4 years (2010-2014) in adding biking and walking facilities throughout Lee County, based on BikeWalkLee's new report.
|Example Before/After photo provided by BWL|
How is Lee County doing in bike/ped facilities? Good — in total miles and in kinds of facilities.
BikeWalkLee took a look at how bike/ped facilities added in up the county from 2010 to 2014, using data collected by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) from the Departments of Transportation for Florida and Lee County along with local municipalities.
In this four-year period, we added 130 miles of bike/ped facilities, an 18 percent increase, with almost 40 miles of new facilities in Cape Coral and almost 60 miles in unincorporated Lee County.
The greatest increase in type of facilities over this four-year stretch came in bike lanes — with the total mileage almost doubling to make up 1/4 of all facilities by 2014. Even with a drop in the miles of paved shoulders — the result of some road sections being upgraded to some other type of (more protected) facility — on-road facilities increased by 60 miles while off-road ones (in some cases more focused on walkers) added 70 miles.
Overall, good news for bikers and walkers countywide. Much of these gains came due to new-road construction rather that retrofits to existing roads — where a huge backlog still exists. We applaud the efforts of local officials (county and municipality) to achieve these kinds of improvements, and urge them to keep up the good work to continue to expand and connect the bike/ped network throughout the county and its cities. Every day we’re reminded of the importance of walking and biking to improving the overall health of the community, so more and safer bike/ped facilities are crucial to encouraging people to go take a hike or a bike!
The BikeWalkLee report also reviews other bike/ped improvements during this period, as well as looking ahead at expected upgrades we all should see soon. The full report is online at BikeWalkLee.
Ready to ride or run?
Run: October race season is here, starting with the Lexington Cares 5K Run/Walk on Saturday to benefit the Regional Cancer Center’s Breast Health Center. The following weekend, pick from the Busey Bank Run for Prevention in the morning (at FGCU) or Cops and Joggers in the evening (downtown Fort Myers).
Ride: Tomorrow is the first Friday of the month, which means the SW Florida Critical Mass ride, starting at the field next to the downtown Publix at 7:30 p.m. Bring your lights and helmet, and join the fun.
Both: Looking for a sprint tri? Head north to Siesta Key on Saturday (www.siestakeytriathlon.org), or south to Marco Island on Sunday (www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com).