Holidays are a great time to do some biking and walking, as highlighted in BWL's column this week. It also reports on FDOT's new Complete Streets Implementation Plan.
BWL's column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section, Dec. 24, 2015 http://www.news-press.com/story/life/outdoors/2015/12/23/bikewalklee-holidays-traffic-lee-county/77776932/
Either way, beginning Saturday our area faces one of the busiest traffic weeks of the year. That’s all the more reason you should make the holidays your biking and walking days.
However, if you need some reasons to justify digging out the bike helmet or putting on the walking shoes:
- Biking and walking burns off those celebratory calories… because, when it comes to watching your weight, naughty and nice doesn’t count once the presents are opened.
- Biking and walking are a great relief valve for seasonal stress. You get out, you get moving, you usually get happy (or happier), too.
- Both are a good family activity (if family is around this season), and an even greater way to get people out from under foot (if you’ve had a little too much family today).
- Let’s get to the practical side: In some areas this week, biking or walking will get you there faster than driving. This is particularly noticeable on the islands, where motor traffic can move at a crawl almost any time during daylight. Sure, there may be a lot of foot and bike traffic as well – but you still might make better time than sitting behind the wheel (and have a lot more fun getting there). You might even get a better parking space as well, if the stores provide convenient bike racks… and, if they don’t, shame on them.
- Equally important, every person who’s biking or walking gets one more car off the road… and if you’ve been on the roads around here between the holidays, you’ll understand why that’s a good thing.
So, compromise a little… if you’re braving the post-Christmas sales, park in one place and walk to the various stores or malls rather than getting in and out of the car to travel a pretty short distance. If you’re carrying packages, you’ll get a little upper-body workout as well… or it may inspire you to buy less, something you may be happy for once the credit-card bills start rolling in next month.
FDOT supports Complete Streets
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has issued its implementation plan for designing Complete Streets statewide, a move welcomed by bike/ped advocates as well as others who use state roads.
Why does this matter to you? First, state support for sensible road design on state-managed roadways helps buttress local efforts to create Complete Streets, ensuring a better network of facilities for all road users and more consistency in design.
Second, the Complete Streets approach works to guide road design to suit the particular community and transportation purpose… which, if done right, again means consistency and connections in line with the community and the need – not just the business-as-usual approach to road design that can be disruptive and destructive if improperly done.
Finally, state road design impacts a lot of roadways and sets a model county DOTs to follow. So having the state take the lead on this is bound to have an exponentially positive impact over time.
You can find out more about FDOT’s Complete Streets Implementation Plan online at www.dot.state.fl.us/rddesign/CSI/Default.shtm.
Ready to ride or run?
Run? A slight break in the race schedule, with only a New Year’s 5K at Lowdermilk Park in Naples (followed by a Polar Plunge… which could feel good given the temps so far). Find out more at gcrunner.org. Keep your training up, as there are a ton of races ahead.
Ride? You have two Critical Mass rides to choose from… the traditional Fort Myers fun ride (on Friday Jan. 1, rolling out at 7:15 p.m.) or the new Cape Coral ride (just as fun and family friendly, this month on Saturday, Dec. 26, also at 7:15 p.m.).
Both? Get ready for the HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend Jan. 9-10, with races of every distance from the very short open to the very long full Ironman.
#BeSeenLee: To keep people safe at night while biking, we’re working to provide free bike lights to those unable to afford them (but who have to ride at night). BikeWalkLee partners (such as including Pawnbroker Marketing and Billy's Bikes) will be coordinating events during this campaign. Be sure to watch the BikeWalklee Facebook and Twitter pages for more #BeSeenLee event announcements and details.
Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.