Sunday, May 14, 2017

Florida Weekly's "2017 Best" recognizes best of bike/ped in 2017

Thanks to Florida Weekly for its recognition of  the best in the biking and walking world in 2017, including a shout out to BikeWalkLee. 
Florida Weekly, May 3, 2017:  2017 Best

We estimate there are 10 on the southwest coast who could hold this title, men and women from various walks or bike-trails of life, but the champion, the most vocal, consistent and tireless advocate for better, safer bicycle and pedestrian trails is Darla Letourneau. Ms. Letourneau, a longtime Sanibel resident and cofounder with Dan Moser of BikeWalkLee, has spent thousands of hours promoting the rights and BEST interests of any who take to pedal or foot, with huge results over time. Hundreds of miles of additional trails or enhanced safety precautions at dangerous intersections — not to mention a wider public knowledge that bicycles have the same rights in traffic as motor vehicles — exist in large part as a result of her lobbying. A retired “budget guru” and one-time deputy assistant secretary of labor in Washington, she’s a force for the good on the Southwest coast.

 Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard and Colonial Boulevard Making a left turn from Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard heading east on Colonial Boulevard is not for the faint of heart. There’s no left turn signal and two lanes of traffic are coming at you from Plantation Road, across the street. You have to stick your nose out in the middle of the intersection and hope the cars in the far-right lane on Plantation are turning right, then you can dive for the left lane on Colonial and hope you’re faster. It’s downright scary. Maybe the engineer who designed it will come back and fix it after he finishes fifth grade.


 Sanibel Island The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge has a spectacular five-mile stretch of paved road with a 15 MPH speed limit. You’ll see tons migrating birds and the ever-present alligators on the scenic ride. But really any of the miles of bike paths on Sanibel are exceptional.

Treeline Avenue, which turns in to Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in Estero, gets our nod. It’s 13 miles of relatively new highway with adequate bike lanes and few stop lights. You can really get on that big crank and make some wind. For a great group ride, hook up with the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. It holds group rides at various paces nearly every day.


This road sign on Westlinks Drive in Gateway says the right lane ends and you should merge left. However, the painted sign on the road says the left lane ends and you should merge right. OK, which way do I go? The traffic engineer who thought up this gem must have slept though road sign class.

Lee County Parks and RecreationForget budgetary priorities of “core services” such as police and fire. We all need places to throw a baseball to our kids and walk a trail among the cypress trees. Lee County Parks & Recreation oversees the tiniest neighborhood parks to the longest linear ones, with Lakes Regional Park as its Central Park equivalent. Beach access and Conservation 20/20 preserves showcase the county’s green side at a minimal fee for visitors. The stadiums in which the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox play bring America’s favorite pastime here each spring. Kids splash in four year-round pools and attend dozens of summer camps with affordable fees. All playgrounds are ADA accessible. Little extras — fragrance gardens, train villages, fitness centers and canoe and kayak trails — dot Lee County. No matter what the economy does to us, we all have a peaceful place to reflect and recreate, thanks to this department.

Caloosahatchee Regional Park
Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Lee County offers about 10 miles that are more suited to the intermediate level rider. The trails are well marked and they have enough twists and turns to keep even the expert trail rider interested.

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