Thursday, April 28, 2016

BWL Column: Who to call if there's a problem with a roadway

Last week's BWL blog post "How to report a bike/ped facilities or operations problem and get results," was so popular we decided to write a column about the topic. The column also highlights the upcoming May 7th Bonita Springs Historical Bike Tour.

 UPDATE: Click here for one-pager with all who/what/when/how to report (keep this handy)

BikeWalkLee's Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section: 4/28/16

News-Press photo
We spend a lot of time talking about bike and pedestrian safety in terms of what motorists do, what other cyclists or walkers do or what you should do when you’re biking or walking.

But what if the safety issue is not an individual but the infrastructure itself? What should you do?
Obviously and most immediately, avoid the obstacle and warn others nearby about it as well. If it’s something that can be moved out of the way for temporary fix, do so if you think it could improve safety.

But the next step is the most important – let someone know it needs to be fixed. Don’t assume someone else will do that so you don’t need to – and certainly don’t assume that the powers-that-be will notice the issue on their own (they have a lot of ground to cover and usually not enough people to cover it).

If it’s something bringing urgent danger, consider calling 911 – but only if it’s an immediate threat that warrants immediate action.

If it’s less pressing, you need to do two things:

1. Figure out what the problem is so you can explain it to someone succinctly. Clarity and brevity work wonders for getting things done… and, since a picture may still be worth a thousand words, take a photo (or even a video) of the problem to help illustrate the issue.

2. Figure out whose jurisdiction it is in. This is where the problem lies. Contacting the wrong entity just delays the time until the fix is in place – assuming you can discern who’s responsible for maintenance (sometimes a tricky issue).
Depending on where the problem lies, here are some options for contacting someone to fix it:
  • Cape Coral: You can request action online at or call the Citizen Support Center at (239) 574-0425. You can also go to and click on the Maintenance Requests tab on the left side of the page which take you to the city page.
  • Sanibel: Either contact the Public Works Dept. at (239) 472-6397 or the police non-emergency line at (239) 472-3111.
  • Estero: The county handles road issues for the new and growing village.
  • State roads: You can try the local operations center at (239) 985-7800, but it may be faster to report problems to the county and letting them pass it along.
Figuring out who fixes what may be the toughest obstacle you face in some of the county’s municipalities, since the county maintains county roads in some cities (and all the roads in others). Unless you’re certain, the county maybe your best first stop for action.

There are independent websites and apps out there – SeeClickFix, PublicStuff, PotholeAlert311 and more – but with no guarantee that our local governments monitor them, you’re better to contact the correct entity directly.

-- 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

A slow roll through Bonita history

Want to combine history, cycling and fun? Then this is the ride for you.

The City of Bonita Springs’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee present the first historic bike tour on Saturday, May 7, beginning at 4 p.m. The ride starts and ends at the Liles Hotel, 27300 Old U.S. 41, and will cover about 3 miles at a leisurely pace, promising a little landmark lore along the way.

Helmets required, refreshments and a raffle will follow. Registration also required – email to participate.

Ready to ride or run?
Run? Enjoy Olde Naples at the Tropicool 5Kbright and early on Sunday ( or support Head and Neck Cancer Awareness with Saturday's 5K run/walk at CenturyLink Sports Complex at Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers (
Ride? Three Critical Mass rides will be rolling soon: Cape Coral on Friday night, followed by the Slow Roll training ride Saturday in downtown Fort Myers, and the downtown night ride rolls in on Friday, May 6.
Both? On Sunday, you can tackle the Lake Avalon Reverse Triathlon & Duathlon (, or you can finish your preparations for the Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint May 14 ( or… or you can register and get ready for one of the raft of races coming up (including the Galloway Captiva Tri, which opens registration Sunday).

#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 (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.

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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