Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Aug. 26: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K. The third and final event in the Elite Events Summer 5k Series will take place at North Collier Regional Park.   Runners will race through the park on closed pathways and have plenty of views of vegetation, fountains, and water.  This flat and shady course will give runners a great chance to run a fast time. 7 a.m., North Collier Regional Park. (eliteevents.org)
  • Monday, Sept. 4: Labor Day 5K, Lowdermilk Park, Naples (gcrunners.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 16: Lee County Medical Society Foundation Fun Run 5K, Lakes Regional Park, Fort Myers (3dracinginc.com
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Walk Like MADD & 5K Dash, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers (active.com)
  • Thursday, Oct. 5: Moe’s Corporate 3-Mile Run-Walk, 6:15 p.m., Moe’s Southwest Grill, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 7: Lexington Cares 5K, 7:30 a.m., Lexington Country Club, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 7: St. Andrews Run for the Stars 5K, 7:30 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracing.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 14: Cops & Joggers 5K, 7:45 p.m., Centennial Park, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Oct. 15: Rocktoberfest 10-mile (or 2x5 mile relay), 7 a.m., North Collier Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 21: Gulf to Gulf 80 Mile Relay, 6 a.m., starts and ends at Cambier Park, Naples, with a turnaround at the Sanibel Causeway (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com/.

Cycling:
  • Friday, Aug. 25: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 26: Saturday Slow Roll. 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com)
  • Friday, Sept. 1: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm or meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Sept. 2-4: Tour of Sebring. Take your ride on the road for one, two or three days in the center of the state. Cyclists will especially appreciate our lightly traveled back roads, friendly motorists, citrus groves, cattle ranches, and small towns typical of rural Central Florida.  (tourofsebring.com).
  • Friday, Sept. 8: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, Sept. 9: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, Sept. 15: Roll Estero, 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, Sept. 29: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Saturday Slow Roll 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons:
  • Saturday, Sept. 2: Venice YMCA Tri, sprint distance, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com).
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 9-10: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday, three age groups and varying distances. Adult sprint Sunday (www.captivatri.org).
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Siesta Key Triathlon, sprint distance, Siesta Key Public Beach (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find more regional and state tris.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Play by the rules when you use our roads


BWL Column
The News-Press, 8/17/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Picture: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com
Recent reporting on the rise of cycling in New York City hold a cautionary tale for other areas (including our own) working to encourage more people to use their bicycles more often.

And the final moral is: When more people are trying to use the same space, rules matter even more.”

Through improved infrastructure, bike sharing services and similar effort to promote cycling, NYC has seen a boom in bike use. For an urban area with chronic traffic, mass transit and parking issues, that should be good news.

By and large, it is… except when it isn’t. That usually occurs when all the users trying to traverse the same street don’t agree to play by the same rules. This was reflected in a spate of news stories spotlighting people upset by the recklessness more riders had wrought on the city streets and sidewalks, along with a recounting of how cycling had gradually made inroads on NYC roads over the last decade.

In the news coverage, a lot of the blame was pointed at cyclists – particularly those who ride recklessly, flout traffic rules and endanger pedestrians. Likely some of that blame is deserved; not following the rules of the roads (or sidewalk) is dangerous, and the more cyclists who do it the more dangerous it becomes.

However, having been a cyclist, a pedestrian and a motorist (albeit not at the same time), I’m betting there plenty of blame to go around for all these groups.

For every cyclist who blows through a traffic light or rides the wrong way in traffic or dangerously cuts off a pedestrian, there is also a motorist who drives aggressively around bikers or blocks crosswalks to see oncoming traffic, or who drifts (or flat-out drives) into a bike lane while it’s being used by others. There also are the pedestrians too distracted by a cell phone to pay attention to their surroundings, who let their kids or pets roam into the path of oncoming cyclists, or who in general make their way forward oblivious to other traffic (bike, car or otherwise) around them.

That’s why, in circumstances such as all these, following the rules matters. For what are rules but guidelines (often codified as laws) to facilitate how one user of the roadway should interact with another user in that same approximate space.

If we all were the only motorist or cyclist or pedestrian on that road, path or sidewalk, we wouldn’t need rules. We could do whatever we what, governed only by the laws of physics and some common sense.

But add one other user, and rules start to matter. Add a hundred more, and rules really matter.

But they matter equally, because anyone who breaks the rules of the road is putting all the other users at risk. The more rule-breakers, the more risk that results.

So if, on a busy urban street, you have sidewalks full of pedestrians, bike lanes full of cyclists and roads full of motor vehicles, anyone of those users who ignores the rules puts the other users at risk – and that person deserves blame for whatever ensues. But to isolate blame on only one user group usually doesn’t tell the real story.

The upside of more users (particularly the more vulnerable ones) often is more safety. More users means more awareness of them by the other users. See a sidewalk full of people and you probably will pay more attention at crosswalks and intersections. See a bike lane full of cyclists and you’ll likely watch out for them when you turn in or step out. And, obviously, see a road full of vehicles and you’ll slow down and pay more attention overall.

But the issues that arise when more people use roadways, as documented in New York City, should be a reminder to other areas working to encourage biking and walking that they also ought to encourage (and, if necessary, enforce) more adherence to the rules by all users. They also should look at their infrastructure – bike, pedestrian and motor vehicle – to ensure there’s enough room (and that it is safe room) for all of them on the roadways.

Our area faces two somewhat unique issues: The seasonality of our traffic means more users of all types in winter, practically guaranteeing overload during peak season since our infrastructure is not built for the busiest weeks. In addition, a lot of our traffic (again, of all types) may be visiting our area and thus unfamiliar with both our roads and our rules. Both of these make a greater case for even greater caution on the part of every type of traffic – bike, ped or motor.

The bottom line: Play by the rules when you use our roads, no matter what mode of transportation you choose.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? It’s still the dog days of summer – when even a dog shouldn’t be out there running – but you have a few events to tide you over until the running season returns this fall: The Fort Myers Track Club 5K Membership Run 7:30 a.m. this Saturday at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com). On Aug 26, look for the North Collier Regional Rampage 5K kicking off at 7 a.m. at the North Collier Regional Park (eliteevents.org).

Ride? The regular Critical Mass rides are on the calendar: Friday is the Estero ride beginning at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 25 is the Cape Coral ride also at 7:30 p.m.; and the following Saturday (Aug. 26) is the downtown slow roll in Fort Myers starting at 8 a.m. For night rides lights are required, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events.

Both? Nothing scheduled nearby until September, which will bring the Venice YMCA Sprint on Sept. 2 (trifind.com), followed by the Galloway Captiva Tri weekend Sept. 9-10 (kids are Saturday, sprint on Sunday, info at captivatri.org). At the end of the month there’s the Siesta Key Sprint (trifind.com).

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

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

# # #

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. 


 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Could parts of Lee County earn ‘runner friendly’ designations?

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 8/16/17
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

We’re not pedestrian friendly, but are we runner friendly?

Is it possible to be both the worst place in America to be a pedestrian and earn a Runner Friendly Community designation at the same time?

“Of course not” would be the obvious answer. But while Lee County has about as poor an environment for those on bikes as it does for pedestrians, we nonetheless have two League of American Bicyclists’ designated Bicycle Friendly Communities in our midst.

Road Runners Club of America has a program similar to LAB’s that requires a detailed application be submitted making the case for the positive label. Per RRCA’s website, “The goal of this program is to shine a spotlight on communities that standout as runner friendly and to provide incentive for communities to work towards this designation. Runner-friendly communities can increase the quality of life, can improve physical activity for residents, and can provide for increased economic impact for the community.”

Considering the popularity of running in our area, there are some good candidates within Lee County, even though overall we have a less than stellar pedestrian environment. That’s the same scenario as for Bike Friendly Community status.


Over a decade ago, at the urging of Lee County’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Lee County government submitted a Bike Friendly Community application to LAB. County Department of Transportation staff did much of the work in pulling together the necessary data and preparing the application, an application which many of us assumed was going to be denied.

As expected, it was, but it provided a roadmap as to what needed to be done to reach even the honorable mention level. It’s difficult for an entire county the size of Lee — including all the municipalities (there were only three at the time) — to be awarded Bike Friendly Community status since there are so many different sub-communities and their specific environments and shortcomings to be judged as part of the whole.

That’s why when years later Sanibel and Cape Coral submitted their own applications they fared much better and have become Bicycle Friendly Communities.

According to RRCA’s website, the organization will rate each applicant on the physical infrastructure, the amount of community support and degree of local government support. Each element includes criteria that must be addressed. The goal is to prove that the applicant community works together to promote running as a healthy activity for residents and visitors while ensuring runners safety.

With those elements as the gauges, the municipalities I’d consider very runner friendly include Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. Estero will have a chance in the future but is still too soon into its life as an incorporated entity to know if the government is supportive enough.

Cape Coral, for all it’s done to earn Bicycle Friendly status, is still short on having a fully connected, safe and enjoyable pedestrian network. With the same commitment to creating that infrastructure as the city has shown towards improving the bicycling environment Cape Coral could earn the designation.

The city of Fort Myers, even with McGregor Boulevard and its adjacent neighborhoods providing some of the best places for running in Lee County, has too many problems in other parts of the city and its governmental commitment is questionable at best.

Ironically, at least in name, much of the credit for the robust running culture in our area goes to Fort Myers Track Club, our area’s first running club and still the preeminent race organizer/facilitator.

FMTC has been promoting running and putting on races since 1978. Because of FMTC and now many others, the community support element of the application will fare well for any applicant; physical infrastructure and government support will be the difference whether RRCA deems any worthy of being considered runner friendly.

The application process begins with a nomination from an RRCA member organization or business. It includes taking on the task of completing the online application. While not as exhaustive as LAB’s process it does include chasing down some of the information government will need to provide (their cooperation will be a clue as to how that element will fare).

The payoff to this effort includes further expanding the running community; improving individual health; and economic benefits for tourism, home builders, the healthcare industry, and business of all types, whether they cater to runners. As well, having one or more Runner Friendly Communities in Lee County should be an indicator of movement away from being the most dangerous place in America to be a pedestrian, whether one is walking or running.

My hope is that someone will nominate one or more of our communities, the first step toward becoming a Runner Friendly Community. ¦

- 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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 





Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Aug. 26: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K. The third and final event in the Elite Events Summer 5k Series will take place at North Collier Regional Park.   Runners will race through the park on closed pathways and have plenty of views of vegetation, fountains, and water.  This flat and shady course will give runners a great chance to run a fast time. 7 a.m., North Collier Regional Park. (eliteevents.org)
  • Monday, Sept. 4: Labor Day 5K, Lowdermilk Park, Naples (gcrunners.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 16: Lee County Medical Society Foundation Fun Run 5K, Lakes Regional Park, Fort Myers (3dracinginc.com
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Walk Like MADD & 5K Dash, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers (active.com)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com/.

Cycling:
  • Friday, Aug. 18: Roll Estero Critical Mass ride. 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Friday, Aug. 25: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 26: Saturday Slow Roll 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com
  • Sept. 2-4: Tour of Sebring. Take your ride on the road for one, two or three days in the center of the state. Cyclists will especially appreciate our lightly traveled back roads, friendly motorists, citrus groves, cattle ranches, and small towns typical of rural Central Florida.  (tourofsebring.com).
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons:
  • Saturday, Sept. 2: Venice YMCA Tri, sprint distance, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com).
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 9-10: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday, three age groups and varying distances. Adult sprint Sunday (www.captivatri.org).
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Siesta Key Triathlon, sprint distance, Siesta Key Public Beach (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find more regional and state tris.



Monday, August 7, 2017

August 7: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Friday, Aug. 11: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 12: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Friday, Aug. 18: Roll Estero, 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Friday, Aug. 25: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 26: Saturday Slow Roll 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com
  • Sept. 2-4: Tour of Sebring. Take your ride on the road for one, two or three days in the center of the state. Cyclists will especially appreciate our lightly traveled back roads, friendly motorists, citrus groves, cattle ranches, and small towns typical of rural Central Florida.  (tourofsebring.com).
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons:
  • Saturday, Aug. 12: Naples Junior Triathlon. Ages 5-10 and 11-13, North Collier Regional Park (naplesjuniortriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, Sept. 2: Venice YMCA Tri, sprint distance, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com).
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 9-10: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday, three age groups and varying distances. Adult sprint Sunday (www.captivatri.org).
  • Saturday, Sept. 30: Siesta Key Triathlon, sprint distance, Siesta Key Public Beach (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find more regional and state tris.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Public Hearing for Six Mile Cypress Parkway/Gladiolus and US 41 Intersection Improvements Project


FDOT announces a public hearing about plans to improve Lee county's most dangerous intersection. The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 17, 2017, at the Florida Southwestern State College. All interested parties are invited to attend.

Fort Myers, FL -- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is holding a public hearing about design plans to improve the intersection of Six Mile Cypress Parkway/Gladiolus Drive (SR 865) and US 41 in Lee County. The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 17, 2017, at the Florida Southwestern State College, 8099 College Parkway, Building AA, Room 177, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

There will be an open house at 5 p.m. during which staff will be available to discuss the project and answer questions, followed by the formal hearing presentation at 6 p.m., after which participants may provide verbal or written comments. People attending the meeting can review project displays and speak one-on-one with project team members about the proposed capacity and safety improvements to Six Mile Cypress Parkway/Gladiolus Drive (SR 865) and US 41.

The project will add an additional westbound through lane on Six Mile Cypress Parkway, increase capacity of the eastbound turn lanes, and improve the pedestrian crossings at the intersection. As part of these improvements, the closure of the eastbound left turn entrance for the Parker Promenade shopping plaza west of the intersection is being considered. The estimated construction cost is $2.1 million and construction should begin during the summer of 2018.

The draft project documents and other information will be available for public review from July 27 through August 28, 2017 at the Lakes Regional Library, 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

FDOT developed this meeting in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes. Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.  Persons wishing to express their concerns relative to FDOT compliance with Title VI may do so by contacting Jamie Schley, FDOT District One Title VI Coordinator by phone at 863-519-2573, or via email at Jamie.Schley@dot.state.fl.us.

People requiring special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 or people that require translation services (free of charge) at the meeting should contact project manager, Randy Lachler at 863-519-2548 or by e-mail to Randy.Lachler@dot.state.fl.us at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact us by using the Florida Relay Service, 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (Voice).

SWFLRoads.com | @MyFDOT_SWFL | facebook.com/MyFDOTSWFL

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to make traffic less terrifying

BWL Column
The News-Press, 8/3/2017
by Ken Gooderham


Illustration: commuteorlando.com
Are you a cyclist who’s afraid of traffic? Well, you’re not alone… there are a lot of bike riders who go out of their way (or don’t go out at all) to avoid mixing it up with motor vehicles.

But avoiding cars and trucks isn’t always feasible, so there will be times when there’s no getting around getting into traffic. What can you do to make that a safer and less stressful situation?

  • Bike defensively. Assume that an oncoming vehicle will do something you won’t like and be prepared to avoid it. This doesn’t mean riding in a perpetual state of fear, but it does mean paying  a lot of attention to the vehicles around you and what hazards they could pose. Usually, nothing will happen… but better to be ready than to be taken by surprise.
  • Plan your ride routes to minimize motor vehicles… or to maximize safer facilities. Don’t pick busy streets unless you have no other choice. Do pick roadways with well-designed bike/ped facilities, where there’s room for everyone to travel. Know your options and pick roads with more room or less traffic.
  • Act like the vehicle operator you are. Ride with traffic (it’s the law), where drivers are more likely to see you. Signal your intentions when around other vehicles (that means bikes, too). Remember your limitations as a vehicle (no protection, say) and your strengths (faster to stop and more maneuverable, for example).
  • Be aware. Pay attention to what’s going on around you so, no cell phones) and use all your senses – meaning no earphones(it’s the law).
  • Be visible. In traffic the last thing you want to do is blend in. Wear bright colors, have flashing lights… whatever it takes to be seen by drivers. (Oh, and wear a helmet, OK?)
  • Be predictable. Ride steady and straight, don’t swerve into another vehicle’s path or ignore a traffic signal… as the more vulnerable vehicle, you’ll never win any of those interactions.
  • Be in charge. Don’t assume the other guy will stop in time or stay out of your way. If something goes awry, stop and wait for the offending vehicle to move on.
  • Be friendly. Wave at motorists who do the right thing. Make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you.
  • Be smart. If someone is driving or acting like a jerk, don’t engage them. You need to be the bigger person since they’re operating the bigger vehicle. Reporting an incident is always an option.

All this may never make riding in traffic a welcome experience, but they can make it a safe one. They will also give you skills you’ll need to use your bike as transportation, not just recreation – which can also be a good thing for your life (and health and waistline and wallet, etc.).

Bikes, cars and trucks can coexist on the same roadway – particularly ones designed for everyone to have a safe space. (Those kinds of “complete streets” really are safer for all – even motorists.) And if you approach riding in traffic with the right attitude – that you have a right to be there, but that right comes with responsibility – the experience can be a good one for all involved.

School’s back!

Next Thursday marks the start of another school year… and back to school means students will be back on the streets. Whether waiting for the bus or riding or walking their way to school, expect to see more kids out and about.

That means motorists must be more watchful both early morning and later afternoons, both for students along the roads and walkways, and for the buses picking them up. Watch for the school bus’s red lights and, unless you’re on a roadway divided with “a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide,” be prepared to stop.

A good time to trim

Summer rains bring summer growth… and soon your yard looks like a jungle as the tropical plants take over.

While you’re staying busy staying ahead of the vegetation, be sure to take a look at any trees or bushes you have adjacent to trafficways – bike, pedestrian or motorized.

Why?

Makes it safer for everyone… bikers and walkers can ride or walk safely on the sidewalk or bike path, and motorists can see what’s coming if the overgrowth is under control.

Makes it better for your plants… since, if vegetation impinges on a public road, sidewalk, bike path or other right-of-way, DOT (or some government agency) has the responsibility to keep that right-of-way clear. When they cut, they work to clear out vegetation first… not always the best for your plants.

So keep the way clear and trim your trees and bushes.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? There’s a Cape Coral 5K on Saturday (3dracinginc.com) at Jaycee Park. Later in the month, look for the North Collier Regional Rampage 5K on Aug. 29 (eliteevents.org).

Ride? You’ll always have Critical Mass rides: Saturday is the fourth anniversary downtown Fort Myers ride, starting at 5 p.m.; Aug. 11 is the NE Lee ride, followed on Aug. 12 with the Sanibel ride. The cycle finishes with the Estero Ride on Aug. 18. For night rides lights are required, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events.

Both?
Willing to drive a little? There’s Tri Sarasota (sprint and international) on Saturday, and Tri at Siesta Key (sprint and super-sprint) Sunday. Nearby, there’s the Naples Junior Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 12, at North Collier Regional Park (naplesjuniortriathlon.com), and the Galloway Captiva Tri weekend Sept. 9-10… kids events in three age groups on Saturday and the adult sprint on Sunday (captivatri.org).

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

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

# # #

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. 


 

County on summer break, but cities continue work on bike, pedestrian safety

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 8/2/17
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Are we making progress?

July is historically a slow month in local government, as the Lee County Board of Commissioners takes its annual month-long hiatus. The Lee Metropolitan Planning Organization’s July meeting and its advisory boards are also canceled, meaning not much gets done in the way of transportation decision making. Fortunately, local municipalities have been meeting regularly, so there’s at least some hope of summertime progress towards improving the bike/ped environment here.

I’m concerned about any pause because six months after the release of the latest Dangerous by Design report (smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerousbydesign) there appears to be little to no political will to deal with the fact that Lee County is ranked as the most dangerous metro area in the U.S. for pedestrians.

At the time of the study’s January release, BikeWalkLee called “on all local jurisdictions, the Lee MPO, Florida Department of Transportation, and the Lee legislative delegation to act now to make pedestrian and bicyclist safety a top priority and to make the necessary investments to have safety improvements on the ground as soon as possible. The stakes are high and the collective actions by all jurisdictions must be commensurate with the stakes.” But alarm bells that have been sounded from the report itself, BikeWalkLee, Healthy Lee, and others did not create the sense of urgency that one would expect.

But it’s not all bleak. One major infusion of resources that is already be making a positive impact is about to wrap-up. Most of the projects identified in the $10 million Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery grant that was awarded to Lee County MPO in 2013 have been completed.

But one last element — added when it was determined funds were left over — is still in the works. According to Don Scott, Lee MPO director, “The design package for the installation of the way-finding signs is currently being worked on, with completion of those planned for the middle of August. The signs will then be fabricated (takes four to six weeks) and then will be installed. The other TIGER facilities, sidewalks, bus stops, pathways, etc. have been completed but there are some remaining punch list items that are currently being addressed.”

Visit MPO’s Complete Streets Initiative website at leecompletestreets.leempo.com for more details.

These improvements not only provide better access for non-motorists but will also potentially equate to a reduction in crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. Time will tell.

Another positive to report on is actually a planning tool. The Lee Countywide Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Action Plan that was created in 2013 in an effort to make it safer for non-motorists is about to be revised. Lee MPO, the lead agency in the undertaking as well, has gotten the scope of work for the consultant approved by the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinating Committee and will next go to the MPO’s other advisory boards and then the full MPO board later this month for final approval. Advertising for consultants will follow. Besides having the right consultant on board, public input is important so weigh in with your ideas and insight. You can read the current plan at leempo.com and send your comments along to them.

It’s also encouraging to see a number of bike and pedestrian projects and studies being undertaken by our municipalities. Bonita Springs’ beautiful downtown re-do is taking shape with traffic calming and walkability the key features. Sidewalk repairs and replacement work is happening throughout the city of Fort Myers, although there are still many busy streets in long-established neighborhoods still lacking adequate infrastructure. And Fowler Street between Hanson Street and MLK/S.R.-82 — the last unimproved segment of the Metro corridor — remains our area’s worse overall arterial roadway, thanks to the city dragging its feet since the late 1980s. By now FDOT should have moved forward with their own design since it is, after all, their roadway. ¦

- 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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417.