Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dan Moser Column: Celebrating the highlights and progress of 2015

 Dan's column highlights the local progress make in the bike/ped world in 2015.

The advocate in me always comes through in one way or another in these columns. Sometimes, I can’t help focusing on the negatives — there’s still a lot of work to be done to make Southwest Florida’s roads and pathways accessible for everyone. However, in the spirit of the recent holidays, I’d like to shed light on a few significant good things that impacted people on foot, bike or otherwise move around outside the protective cocoon of a motor vehicle.
• I’d have to give the biggest kudos from this past year to the city of Cape Coral and Cape Coral Bike-Ped for achieving Bronze-level status as a Bike Friendly Community. Cape Coral Bike- Ped’s leader, Carolyn Conant, has used her proven business savvy to successfully make the case for the city to commit to changing its focus from a typical — albeit mega-sized — bedroom community model into one that, while still acknowledging its suburban nature, will make sure vulnerable roads users will be adequately accommodated. The city is also working on formalizing its own Complete Streets policy, thanks in large part to the work of Cape Coral Bike-Ped as well as city staff and elected officials who appear to have the necessary political will. Obviously there are many folks who made this comprehensive policy approach and the BFC achievement possible but Ms. Conant can be credited with ensuring the momentum continues.
• Lee County’s two newest municipalities are also to be commended for embracing Complete Streets and to becoming more bike/ped-friendly. The city of Bonita Springs formally approved its Complete Streets policy in 2014 and promptly put its money where its mouth is with its Old 41 redevelopment plan. And the fledgling village of Estero appears to be taking the same tact, at least from what can be anticipated from its early decision making. Both communities are taking part in the Blue Zone project, a healthy community initiative that provides even more evidence of their priorities.
• The $10 million* TIGER grant that Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization won a couple of years ago began showing up as facilities and improvements on the ground in 2015. Lee MPO deserves a lot of credit for shepherding this complicated and dynamic project along with the many other transportation matters for which it’s responsible. And while $10 million* is indeed a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the taxpayer funds allocated for motor vehicle and air transportation the agency must help prioritize and allocate on a regular basis. The MPO’s small staff is to be commended.
• All but one of the winners who won Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition’s annual awards were recognized all or in part for their work to make it better and safer for vulnerable road users in 2015. To recap, Steve Chupack is the Citizen Volunteer of the Year; Cape Coral Bike-Ped, the Organization of the Year; The News- Press’ “Share the Road” campaign (reporters Janine Zeitlan, Laura Ruane and Melanie Payne) is the Media Partner of the Year; Lee County Emergency Medical Service, the Partner of the Year; and PACE EH, a program of the Florida Department of Health in Lee County, the Program/Outreach Effort of the Year. Congratulations as well to the other award winner, orthopedic physician Dr. Bo Kagan, for his involvement and support of getting athletic trainers back on the fields of high school sporting events.
These are merely a sampling of the many positive achievements from this past year and the people who made them happen. To those elected officials, staff, advocates and citizens concerned and motivated enough to become involved in one way or another but whom were not included here, know that you are appreciated by the whole community. The writing is on the wall (and money on the table) that the old way of thinking about how to best use our public rights of way is outdated and unsustainable so it’s in everyone’s best interest to continue and even accelerate our move away from the “more motor vehicle lanes are better” way. Of course, there’s much more on this subject and many other matters at BikeWalkLee’s blog,
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways. 
*Note: Error in amount corrected from printed article.
Upcoming events
>> Facial Hair for Cancer Causes 5K, Saturday, Jan. 9, Tara Woods, N. Fort Myers (
>> River Roots & Ruts Half- Marathon & 5K, Sunday, Jan. 10, Alva (
Cycling and other events:
>> SWFL Critical Mass, Friday, Jan. 1, downtown Fort Myers (
>> 25th Tour de Cape, Sunday, Jan. 17, Cape Coral (
>> Naples Bike Brunch & Family Festival, Sunday, Jan. 24 (
>> Cape Coral Critical Mass ride, Saturday, Jan. 26, downtown Cape Coral (
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 or 334- 6417.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dec. 28th: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events

Don't forget the traditional Fort Myers Critical Mass fun ride on Friday Jan. 1, rolling out at 7:15 p.m.

Upcoming events
·        Friday, Jan. 1: Dave Cranor 5K New Year’s Day. Lowdermilk Park, Naples. Cool off afterwards with Big Dave’s Polar Plunge (no wetsuits). (
·         Saturday, Jan. 9: Facial Hair for Cancer Causes 5K run/walk, starts 8 a.m. Tara Woods, 19376 U.S. 41, North Fort Myers. (
·         Sunday, Jan. 10: 13th annual River, Roots and Ruts Trail Run, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva. Half marathon and relay starts 8 a.m., 5K fun run 8:15 a.m. (
·         Saturday, Jan 16: Tour de Cape 5K run/walk, Starts at 8 a.m. at Cape Harbour. (
·         Sunday, Jan. 17: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Fifth Avenue South, Naples. (
·         Saturday, Jan. 30: Runs For The Paws, to support the Naples Humane Society. Scenic course around Naples Municipal Airport. (    
      Saturday, Jan. 30: 8th annual Hands Across The Harbor half-marathon and 5K (run), 13.1/20/30 mile bike and 13.1 mile longboard race. Starts and ends at Bayshore Live Oak Park, Port Charlotte with a course over the Peace River and downtown Punta Gorda. (
      Sunday, Feb. 14: Paradise Coast Marathon, Half and 5K. Starts and ends at Florida Sports Park, Naples. (   
         Saturday, Feb. 20: Edison Festival of Light 5K, downtown Fort Myers. Starts at 5:45 p.m. with thousands of spectators to cheer you on. (
      Sunday, March 6: Hooters Half Marathon and 2-Person Relay. Starts and finishes at Hooters in Fort Myers. Benefits Barbara’s Friend and Moffitt Cancer Center. 7 a.m. start. (

·         Friday, Jan. 1 SWFL Critical Mass ride. Greet the New Year and join a family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix (beginning at 6:45 p.m. for a 7:15 roll-out) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (  
      Sunday, Jan. 17: 25th annual Tour de Cape, with 15-, 30-, 60- and 100-mile rides. Rides start from Cape Harbour at 8 a.m. (two longer distances) and 8:30 a.m. (two shorter distances) with full support and more. ( 
     Sunday, Jan. 24th: Naples Bike Brunch and Family Festival, Lowdermilk Park, Naples FL.
Rides: 62, 30, 20, 10 miles. Walks: power walk to Fifth Avenue or bring your pooch and join the Pooch-Fit Parade. Contact Naples Pathways Coalition:
·       Friday, Jan. 29: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather beginning at 6:45 p.m. for a 7:15 roll-out for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended.
·         Saturday, Jan. 30: SW Florida Critical Mass will offer a starter/sightseeing ride on Saturday; gather at 9 a.m., roll at 9:15 a.m. from 2160 McGregor Blvd. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction.
       Sunday, March 13: Annual Everglades Ride: 16 or 62 miles if you stay on the pavement, 27 miles if you don’t (options to adjust distance with all choices).Started from McLeod Park in Everglades City, benefits Friends of River of Grass Greenway and Friends of Fakahatchee. (
Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 9-10: 2016 HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend. Vanderbilt Beach. Full and half Ironman, Olympic, sprint and open triathlons. (

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BikeWalkLee Column: Make holidays your biking, walking days

 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      

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.
Sometimes it may not be practical to switch out biking or walking for driving somewhere (although you’d be surprised how many car trips could be eliminated if you get into the bike/walk habit).
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

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 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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lee MPO Approves 2040 Transportation Plan and Sets in Motion Effort to Find Additional Transportation Revenues

The Lee County 2040 Transportation Plan is the 25-year vision of how to meet our community’s transportation needs and expectations through 2040. The plan incorporates all types of travel including driving, biking, walking, public transportation, and freight movement. At the Dec. 18, 2015 Lee MPO Board meeting, the Board unanimously adopted the proposed 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  This action marked the completion of a 2 1/2 year effort involving the MPO Board, its Executive Committee, MPO staff and consultants, FDOT staff, MPO committees, as well as citizen participation throughout the process.  BikeWalkLee has been an active participant in the Plan development over the past several years.  For a review of how the Plan performed against six of the key goals set out by the MPO Board, see BikeWalkLee's assessment report. For background on the process and our previous comments, see the BikeWalkLee blog posts at the end of this post.   

  Click here to read the Executive Summary of the Lee MPO 2040 Plan, and check the Lee MPO 2040 Transportation Plan webpage  for more background information.

Report By Darla Letourneau

The draft 2040 LRTP was discussed at both the Nov. 20th and the Dec. 18th Lee MPO Board meetings, culminating in its adoption at the Dec. meeting.  The major shortfall in funding to meet the transportation infrastructure needs of the growing county dominated the discussion during the entire Plan update process.  There was universal agreement that additional transportation revenues were needed to sustain our economy and quality of life given the projected population growth.  As reported in our previous blog about the Oct. 16th MPO Board meeting, the Board charged its Executive
 Committee with undertaking an effort to explore all financing options for the Board's consideration.

As a result of citizen comments, committee recommendations, and Board discussion, the Board voted to make several changes to the draft LRTP, including moving up the construction of the Corkscrew Rd. widening, keeping the Three Oaks extension in the first 5-year segment, removing the northern section of the proposed CR 951 from the draft needs plan, and undertaking a hurricane evacuation study for I-75 and the Cape Coral area.  In total, $1.8 billion of road projects are planned through 2040 (see Appendix B, Cost Feasible Projects), leaving $2.4 billion in unfunded projects on the needs list (See Appendix A, Needs Plan Projects).

How does the Plan meet the MPO Board's goals?
From the beginning of the process, it was a given that revenues from all sources were declining (down 26%), at the same time our population is growing (51%). The MPO's task was to ensure that the county's scarce resources were wisely invested--to prioritize maintaining and improving the existing roads before creating new capacity; to downsize and right-size projects; to integrate land use and transportation planning; and to fund a balanced multi-modal transportation system.

However, the 2040 LRTP is actually less balanced and less multi-modal than the 2035 Plan.  Given that no new revenues are projected for transit services, the adopted Plan assumes that the current level of LeeTran services is all we'll see between now and the year 2040.  This was the focus of BikeWalkLee's comments made by Letourneau at the Nov. 20th MPO Board meeting.  As Letourneau stated, "over the past 5 years no attention has been given to doing what it takes to design a robust countywide transit system with a dedicated funding source that can move transit from its current "social service" model to one focused on attracting "choice riders".  In 2010, the Board adopted a 2035 needs plan that reflected a visionary transit system that promoted "choice riders", with 15 minute headways on all route by 2035.  The price tag for this vision was about $600 M, while the resources available were about $20 M.  To implement this vision would require 30 times the resources currently spent on transit.  Designing a robust transit system with stable and adequate funding sources is one of the key challenges that the Executive Committee needs to take up as part of its transportation funding work.

Still, the Board, its committees, staff and consultants should be commended for the many improvements in the LRTP process. The most significant and successful innovation is the land use scenarios project which integrated land use with transportation planning.  Another major improvement was the focus on having realistic revenue projections so that the Plan that was produced was 100% fundable. Enhanced public engagement was also one of the improvements in this update process.  Appendix D of the Executive Summary includes the results from the public input.

Some of the other process improvements, such as the new project application and review process, fell short in the implementation. For a review of how the Plan performed against six of the key goals set out by the MPO Board, see BikeWalkLee's assessment report.

What's in the Plan for Bike/Ped?

The Bike/Ped Plan looks at a 10 year horizon.  The Needs Plan for Bicycle, Pedestrian, Multi-Use Facilities Projects included 87 projects with a total price tag of $202 million.  The projects were prioritized, with 35 projects making the final cut of the cost feasible plan ($48 M worth), reflecting the projected revenues available over the next 10 years.   Thus, only 24% of the needed projects are included in the plan.  Among the projects on the list are 18 shared use paths totaling 47 miles.  There are also 24 miles of sidewalks, distributed among 15 projects. See Appendix A for the full needs list and Appendix B for the cost feasible list of projects.

What is the significance of this Plan?
Since the 1970s, federal law has required MPOs to ensure that existing and future expenditures for all transportation projects and programs in the region are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process.  So this Plan sets the countywide long-term transportation policy and
investment framework (between now and 2040) given the projected available funding from all sources--federal, state, and local.  In Lee County's 2040 Plan, 45% of the revenues come from federal and state sources, while 55% comes from local funds.

To ensure that the Plan stays on track, at the Dec. 18th MPO Board meeting, BWL's Letourneau  encouraged the Board to review annually whether the revenue estimates are on track from all the various sources and to review project costs.  The Board shouldn't wait 5 years to discover that the Plan is seriously off track, as occurred with the 2035 plan, primarily because that Plan overestimated revenues.   The Plan amendment process provides a tool for the MPO Board to review proposed changes and the consequences of those proposed changes for other projects in the Plan.  Letourneau noted that this is also important for accountability and transparency to the general public.

Note that the MPO Board cancelled its January meeting.  The February 19th meeting will include a discussion of the roles and responsibilities of the MPO, as requested by the BoCC.