Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Running/walking:


Cycling:

  • Friday, July 13: 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)
  • Saturday, July 14: 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)
  • Sunday, July 15: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 27: 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)
  • Saturday, July 28: 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)
  • Sunday, July 29: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Aug 3: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Aug. 5: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Aug. 10: 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)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: 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)
  • Saturday-Monday, Sept. 1-3: Tour de Sebring, three days of riding in and around Sebring. Ride of varying lengths and skills (caloosariders.org)
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning (captivatri.org
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pedal your way through history


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 7/5/2018
by Ken Gooderham


Sanibel is certainly known for its bike-friendly facilities. But did you know about its extensive history?

Now you can combine those two pleasures into a cruise around the new Sanibel Heritage Trail.

The trail is a series of 22 panels located throughout the island describing some aspect of Sanibel’s historic past – and the island has quite a history to look back upon, including:

  • Commercial farming was widespread on the island from the late 1860s until the 1920s, when successive hurricanes ended that enterprise.
  • The Sanibel School was the first racially integrated school in the county, beginning in 1964. (The first school on the island was built in 1892.) In 1962, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church was the first church in the region to be racially integrated.
  • The Sanibel Lighthouse has been a beacon for navigators since 1884. And the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge – created in 1945 and renamed in 1967 for the renowned conservationist who fought for its creation – comprises more than 6,400 acres of uplands, wetlands and forests.
  • The opening of the Sanibel Causeway in 1963 brought a boom to the island, which to that point had been accessible only by ferry. That, among other reasons, inspired the island to incorporate as a city in 1974, as a means to preserve and protect the island.
  • The community came together to build the first church – the Sanibel Community Church in 1917 – and the Sanibel Community House in the late 1920s.


Sanibel Heritage Trail (click for larger version)

The trail is an easy ride for most, concentrated on the east end and middle of the island. There’s no start or finish, unless you want to use the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village (https://sanibelmuseum.org/) as a beginning or ending point. It’s located at 950 Dunlop Road (near the library and City Hall), and is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with special events often scheduled outside those hours in season.

If you can stand the heat, the paths are quieter this time of year. Plus, there’s a rumored app on the way to make traversing the trail a little easier (not an essential issue, however).

So why not mix a little education with your recreation (or vice versa), and take ride back in island history soon?

 

Ready to ride or run?

Run? After you recover from the plethora of 5Ks to celebrate July 4, two runs upcoming: Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social, July 10 at 7 p.m. at Lazy Flamingo, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com); and Beat the Heat 5K, July 14 at 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com).
 
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the original (and still undefeated) downtown Fort Myers ride Friday night, the NE Lee ride July 13 and the Sanibel ride July 14. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details atmeetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. On Sunday, July 8, Wheels & Wings offers four different rides (plus an off-road option) based at Beef O’Brady’s in Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com/). You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:

  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (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, July 4, 2018

Educational courses make roads safer

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 7/4/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Physical education teachers participate in a
training class on bicycling safety
COURTESY PHOTO
In a perfect world we would all follow the rules, laws and mores we’ve set up for ourselves as a society. But we’re all human so mistakes and missteps are inevitable and to be expected. That fact goes for the things we do on our roads and pathways as much as anything.

Just to cite a few examples: We’re all familiar with pedestrians who unexpectedly dart into traffic from between parked cars, people on bikes riding against traffic and drivers failing to stop behind a stop sign or red traffic signal and encroach into the crosswalk (marked or unmarked). Those actions may be isolated poor decisions, entrenched bad habits or deliberate actions based on self-serving reasons or incorrect information. When dangerous behaviors become ongoing and frequent — as appears to be the case in our part of the world, at least based on traffic crash statistics — education can make a difference.

For some time, online education courses on almost any topic have been readily available and often the preferred option. But based on my experience, learning online about how to behave in traffic is not as effective or impactful as training conducted in person.

Over the years I’ve provided many bicycle and pedestrian education sessions and programs, including training others to be instructors. Most of my efforts are now focused on the latter, mainly because I realize it’s much more productive to deal with those who know their audience as teachers and also because it has a multiplier effect once individuals have been trained as instructors.

Recently I trained members of Streets Alive SWF (streetsaliveswfl.org), University of Florida Extension Service staff (sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu), and interested local residents to do just that. These folks were eager to learn how to teach pedestrian and bicycle safety through bicycle skills clinics/bike rodeos, community presentations and other events. Now they have a better understanding of relevant laws, behaviors and practices — knowledge that will benefit them as individuals as well as teachers of others. It’s always rewarding working with motivated individuals and the organizations they represent.

Admittedly, it’s not easy to attract participants to take part in the various in-person opportunities to learn how to behave in traffic as vulnerable road users, except perhaps for school students (assuming it’s offered). For potential drivers who are just learning or who are very new to being behind the wheel, it’s a little easier to get them to undertake formal education for practical purposes.

But that’s not the case for established drivers. From my perspective, educating drivers — or at least getting key messages and concepts to them — would have the biggest impact on reducing all traffic-related injuries and fatalities, meaning those involving vulnerable road users would likely also be positively impacted.

For those learning to drive as teenagers, the limited offerings in the way of school-based education means only some of those needing it receive it and even then, it’s not nearly as comprehensive and effective as it needs to be. For established drivers, continuing education usually comes only when the courts require it, there is a need to reduce accumulated points against one’s driver license or the driver seeks a discount on insurance. Seldom, if ever, does anyone take a driving “refresher” just to ensure he or she is operating at as high a level as possible.

I’ve compiled a list of educational opportunities available in our area. It’s not comprehensive — the list doesn’t include those that are specific to traffic law offenders or anything available online. The list includes nonprofits or government agencies. Local commercial driving schools can be found at https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/behind-wheel-training/#lee. ¦

BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN

CyclingSavvy, American Bicycling Education Association, abea.bike.

Smart Cycling, League of American Bicyclists, bikeleague.org.

Ride Leader / Ride Marshall Certification, FBA, floridabicycle.org.

Florida Traffic & Bicycle Safety Education Program, hhp.ufl.edu/safety.

Safe Routes to School, floridasrts.com.

SafeKids at Golisano Children’s Hospital, safekidsleecollier.org.

BikeWalkLee, bikewalklee.org.

Streets Alive SWF, streetsaliveswfl.org.

DRIVING

Stay Alive … Just Drive!, sajd.org.

Smart Driver Course, AARP, aarp.org/auto/driver-safety.

Young Driver Program, Lee Health, leehealthynews.org/articles/lee-health-calendar.

Teen Driver Challenge, Sheriff’s Youth Activity League, leecountysheriffsyouthactivitiesleague.com/teen-driver-challenge.

D.A.T.E, required to obtain driving permits and other driving courses, SWF Safety Council, swflsc.com/driving-school.

For more information, see bikewalklee.blogspot.com


- 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. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Running/walking:

Cycling:

  • Friday, July 6: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 8: Wheels & Wings with four different rides of 15, 32, 50 and 62 miles plus a 40 mile Gravel Grinder. 7 a.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, Punta Gorda
  • Sunday, July 8: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.(meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 13: 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)
  • Saturday, July 14: 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)
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:


Cycling:
  • Friday, June 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)
  • Saturday, June 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)
  • Friday, July 6: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 8: Wheels & Wings with four different rides of 15, 32, 50 and 62 miles plus a 40 mile Gravel Grinder. 7 a.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, Punta Gorda
  • Sunday, July 8: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.(meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 13: 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)
  • Saturday, July 14: 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)
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rain, rain, won’t go away


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 6/21/2018
by Ken Gooderham


Southwest Florida’s rainy season arrived with a bang (or maybe that was just thunder) in late May, and so far has continued to deluge the area ever since.

While it started a little early, the downpours are no surprise and certainly welcome… unless you like to bike, walk or run outside. For you all, the rain means you may need to adjust your schedule (or your outdoor activities) a little to accommodate the weather.

The first adjustment is one you may have already made, once the temperatures started to rise. Most days, getting out early improves your chances of staying dry (as well as a little cooler), assuming our afternoon thunderstorm routine stays on track.

Speaking of which, it should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway): If there’s lightning and thunder, stay inside. Exercise may be important, but so is staying alive. If you happen to get caught outside in a thunderstorm, stay low and away from trees, seek shelter if possible and let the storm pass.

If it’s just raining without the life-threatening fireworks, then you either stay inside (to the gym, anyone?) or dress to stay dry (which works better walking or running than on a bike). Jackets can keep the rain at bay (but may leave you dripping with sweat instead), and hats with a brim can keep rain out of your eyes. Of course, opt for quick-drying materials (which we all need in the Florida heat anyway), and layer to keep the stuff next to your skin as dry as possible.

There’s not much you can do for your feet, alas, although waterproof boots may make walking possible. (I have yet to meet a pair of truly waterproof running shoes, unfortunately.) If your shoes get soaked, be sure to dry them thoroughly afterwards – and remember that wet socks and clothing can be very uncomfortable to skin in ways that does not crop up when you’re dry.

Riding in the rain is less fun, but can be done if you’re determined (and prepared) enough. More likely, your ride may run into some rain unexpectedly, so being prepared is also wise.

How?
  • Throw in a rain jacket – water-resistant if not waterproof – to keep you from getting soaked. There are many options that pack into themselves to make a very carry-able pack.
  • Have lights front and back. Visibility (for everyone) drops dramatically in a downpour, so making yourself easier to see keeps you safer.
  •  Slow down and ride smart. Wet surfaces are inherently slippery, so ride with more caution. In particular, any painted lines on the road or metal surfaces (including train tracks) will be like riding on ice, and the first few minutes after the rain starts is when the road oil is at its worst. (If you see a rainbow spot ahead, avoid it – that’s a sign of oil mixing with rainwater.)
  • Also remember brakes don’t’ work as well when wet – both yours and the ones on motor vehicles (if you’re riding near traffic). Allow more time to stop, and hope that the drivers do the same.
  • Beware of puddles, both for what you can see (water) and for what you cannot (potholes, nails or other tire-eating items.
  • Once you’re back home safely, take some time immediately to wipe off your bike (to avoid corrosion), lube your chain and brakes (to replace what washed away or drive out any lingering moisture), and check over your cables and wheels (just to make sure everything is OK).
Around here this time of year, rain is inevitable. Being prepared and prudent can make it possible to keep you safely moving  whatever your mode of propulsion.

 

Ready to ride or run?

Run? The Fort Myers Track Club Membership 5K Run is June 30 at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers. Participation gets you a membership, tickets to that night’s Miracle game and a good run to boot. The following Wednesday is July 4, which means a lot of 5Ks mixed in with the celebration and fireworks. All the races are morning ones, in Cape Coral, Estero and Naples. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, eliteevents.org and gcrunner.org respectively.
 
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include Cape Coral on the night of June 29 and the Saturday Slow Roll in downtown Fort Myers the next morning. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:

  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

 

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, June 20, 2018

It’s time again for some sidewalk talk

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 6/20/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Wondering how it’s allowed to get this bad?
It’s that time again when summer rains lead to extensive growth of any and all vegetation, from planted landscaping to wild flora. As I do every year at this time, I remind readers to keep sidewalks and pathways clear of overgrowth that can create obstacles for pedestrians and others. Whether the growth originates from your property or from the public right of way, it should not be allowed to create problems for users. What might be a minor inconvenience for some could be a major hindrance and even a hazard for others, particularly those who have mobility limitations or who are pushing a baby stroller or pedaling a bike.

In all of Lee County, any overgrowth that emanates from private property is the responsibility of the property owner. In most of the county, trees and bushes growing from within the right of way are the jurisdictional government’s responsibility. The one exception to that is in the city of Fort Myers, where adjacent property owners are responsible for maintaining all of the right of way from the edge of their property up to the edge of the roadway, including the sidewalk if one exists. Per city ordinance 134.2.25.C, repair and replacement of the sidewalk is technically the financial responsibility of the adjacent property owner, even though it’s within the public right of way.

While this ordinance might seem unfair, it is nonetheless enforceable, at least in jurisdictions that follow their own policy. I say that because the city usually repairs and replaces sidewalk — or leaves it in disrepair — but rarely if ever requires the property owner to pay for or do the work.

Right of way foliage, however, is generally left to the property owner.

The lack of enforcement of the sidewalk obligations and the application of the right of way trimming requirement are so inconsistent that I think the ordinance should be amended to reflect practice, meaning Fort Myers should replicate what every other jurisdiction in Lee County does: Remove the sidewalk element. Also, considering how much personnel time and effort the city spends maintaining its roadway medians, one would think it would do the same where it would have real impact verses strictly for aesthetic purposes.

On a similar note, obstacles such as illegally parked vehicles and other items such as waste containers and debris piles are also prohibited on all sidewalks and pathways. While most neighborhoods aren’t teeming with such obstacles, it only takes one car parked across a sidewalk to create a big problem for the whole street.

Unfortunately, my experience in trying to encourage proactive enforcement is that no matter how easy it is to identify and deal with those who are chronic violators, local officials have little interest in doing so. Usually it takes a formal complaint to get any kind of action, and even then it’s done reluctantly, as if it’s too petty a matter for them to be concerned with.

As I’ve said many times, I believe failure to enforce the law means the responsible jurisdiction is itself violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. But just like the way law enforcement fails to address obvious parking violations, so is the case for the U.S. Department of Justice: It takes a formal ADA complaint for a violation to be even be considered. While blocking the travel lanes of a roadway on a regular basis is not to be tolerated, denying pedestrian access is another story.

One last matter involving blocked sidewalks: As downtown Fort Myers continues to undergo change, a special segment of sidewalk is currently blocked from public access and might never be the same. The street-level pedestrian area at the Monroe Street entrance to Harborside Event Center is the home of more than 100 personalized bricks that were sold as a way for the city to raise money for the center’s construction and for individuals, families and businesses to be recognized or memorialized. Now the entire area surrounding the convention center is cordoned off in anticipation of construction of an adjacent hotel (one that might never be completed, thanks to the city overlooking title issues).

The plan is to inventory and map the bricks, dig them up, store them and then replace them at the completion of work. At least that’s city officials have told me. But if the loss of some personalized bricks due to earlier repair work is any indication, I have my doubts. Being one whose family has a few bricks there, I can only hope officials will indeed do as they say in order to preserve history and keep the promise that was made when they took the public’s money.

To stay abreast of these matters, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com. Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.¦

- 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. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Tuesday, June 19: Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social. Meet up with other members, invite potential members, friends and family. This is your opportunity to network with other runners. 7 p.m. at Millennial Brewery, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, June 30: 2018 Fort Myers Track Club Membership 5K Fun Run and annual meeting. 7 a.m., CenturyLink Sports Complex, Fort Myers. All who attend also get tickets to that night’s Fort Myers Miracle game (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Tuesday, July 10: Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social, 7 p.m. at Lazy Flamingo, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Beat the Heat 5K, 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  •  Saturday, Aug. 11: Cape 5K, 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Sunday, June 24: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, June 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)
  • Saturday, June 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)
  • Friday, July 6: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 8: Wheels & Wings with four different rides of 15, 32, 50 and 62 miles plus a 40 mile Gravel Grinder. 7 a.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, Punta Gorda
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Sunday, June 17: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, June 24: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, June 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)
  • Saturday, June 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)
  • Friday, July 6: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 8: Wheels & Wings with four different rides of 15, 32, 50 and 62 miles plus a 40 mile Gravel Grinder. 7 a.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, Punta Gorda
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pedestrians, bikers: Beware autonomous vehicles on sidewalks

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 6/6/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Image: gadgetynews.com



As if we as pedestrians don’t have enough to deal with when taking a walk, run, or bike ride, another element is soon to be added: delivery bots. Motorists frequently fail to stop where indicated and encroach into crosswalks, and sometimes obstruct pathways by parking illegally, making sidewalks and bike paths unsafe.

Delivery bots are a version of autonomous vehicles that use pedestrian facilities rather than roads. At first blush it would seem easier for AV developers than having to deal with roadway motor traffic. But anyone who’s navigated busy sidewalks or shopping malls will understand just how unpredictable human behavior is when people are walking, not to mention running, cycling, skateboarding, skating or operating assistive devices on a pathway, especially when it’s congested.

Those of us working in the pedestrian safety world were very concerned when Segways were introduced in 2002, especially given the pre-release work done by the developer to ensure they’d be allowed just about anywhere. Although it was originally based on devices intended to assist those with mobility disabilities, the self-balancing, electric Segway is not technically in the category of devices such as motorized wheelchairs and power scooters. However, similar to those assistive mobility devices, they are potentially allowed to be used anywhere. The term “potentially” is important because local jurisdictions have the option to regulate them, which is not the case for most devices officially intended to assist those with disabilities, which are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Prior to release of the Segway the developer lobbied each state legislature to gain special status for the devices. Per their own website, their efforts were quite productive: “All Segway and Ninebot products may be used in all 50 states on private property with the permission of the property owner. As of February 2016, 45 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation to allow their use on sidewalks, bike paths, and certain roads. The laws differ from state to state, so it is important that potential purchasers and users carefully review their state regulations and comply with any special requirements.” Florida’s law (FSS 316.2068) is quite liberal, allowing them on sidewalks, shared use paths and any road where bicycles are allowed (i.e. any road other than limited access highways).

The Florida Department of Transportation and any county or municipality may regulate Segway use on roads, sidewalks, bicycle paths or public lands under its jurisdiction if they determine such regulation is necessary for safety reasons. In Lee County there are few limits on the use.

For those concerned about safety on facilities intended for pedestrians, these heavy Segways that function unlike any other vehicle and have a very low and heavy center of gravity — at pedestrians’ ankles and shins — did not proliferate as envisioned, resulting in a collective sigh of relief after it became clear the major flaws in its design pretty much relegate it to uses such as warehouses, security patrols and managed tourist outings in lieu of walking tours. Reliable stats on crashes involving Segways are hard to come by but plenty of anecdotal examples can be found on the internet, most involving operator injury or death. The CEO of Segway died in a Segway incident. Operator injury or death would not be the case with delivery bots since there will be no operators.

Just as is the case with AVs on our roads, delivery bots are still “learning” how to operate in unpredictable and ever-changing environments. The good news is that unlike Segways, they’re slow (so far), operating at about the speed of a brisk walk. They’re already delivering food in some test cities and are common sights in hospitals and businesses. On public sidewalks they so far usually require a human chaperone to deal with the many variables, such as curb ramps, blind spots, turning vehicles, and of course, moving and stationary people. The obvious goal of developers is to make them fully autonomous. They’re working towards that end by attempting during testing to replicate human behavior, something that can be quite bizarre at times. As is the case with experimental AVs mixing with traffic on our roads during this phase of its development, allowing delivery bots to interact with humans before they’ve been proven safe is not the way to test a product because it puts the public at risk without our agreeing to be part of the test.

So far, we’ve been wise enough to disallow golf carts and other motorized vehicles the legal use of pedestrian facilities, even with pressure to reverse the ban — and lack enforcement, at least in certain neighborhoods. Bikes, which can be just as problematic, may be regulated off any pathway intended for pedestrians but aren’t in most of Lee County and its municipalities, meaning there are plenty of conflicts and potential for injury. Segways are generally allowed on all sidewalks, other pathways and roads in Lee County but their numbers are few. Overhead drones are becoming quite common and so far, I’ve not found any reports of one landing on an unsuspecting person.

Now we’ll be facing delivery bots. Next up — flying cars. What can go wrong? Keep an eye on bikewalklee.blogspot.com to learn more about the many perils faced by pedestrians here in the most dangerous county in America to be a lowly pedestrian.¦

- 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. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




New rides and runs to keep you moving


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 6/7/2018
by Ken Gooderham



We have some new rides and new runs, and therefore new ways to stay engaged in exercise this summer – when heat and humidity can hamstring the most ardent enthusiast.

Runners first: If you’re not a member of the Fort Myers Track Club – which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary of promoting local running and runners – here’s a good way to join. Sign up for the 2018 Membership Run, set for Saturday, June, 30, 7:30 a.m. at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, and you’ll become a FMTC member for the next year.

That gets you discounts at FMTC events and local run shops, information on club events and more… including participation in the FMTC Summer Social Schedule. That’s a series of evening events twice during each summer month at either Millennial Brewery or the Lazy Flamingo in Fort Myers. These include networking, shoe demonstration and (of course) food and drink… and maybe even a little running.

The next Summer Social is June 19 at Millennial Brewery, then July 10 at Lazy Flamingo; details online at ftmyerstrackclub.com.

Now on to the cyclists, particularly those interested in finding out more about group rides. The Critical Mass crew and Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (which is celebrating its 30th year) are promoting a new Sunday ride every week (weather permitting, of course), open to all riders and bike types.

It’s a “no drop” ride, meaning even the slower riders can stay with one of the groups. It’s typically 13-15 mph and 18-22 miles, mostly on paths and with a variety of destinations. It’s also a good way to get a feel for how group rides run, with all the warnings and signals that make it a safe and fun activity.

The ride leaves from the Fort Myers Trek Store on Dani Drive (corner of Colonial Blvd. and Six Mile Cypress Parkway) at 7:30 a.m. Details on either the Caloosa Riders or Critical Mass websites (caloosariders.org or meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/ respectively) or by contacting Steve Rodgers at the Trek store.

This could inspire you to try some of the other CRBC rides (there is one almost every day of the week) or even to become a member (which also means discounts at local stores and events). However, because this is a CRBC ride, helmets are required and no ear buds or aero bars allowed.

The circle game?


There’s something about a roundabout that seems to set some drivers on edge. Bring up the option of including one in a road re-design and the opposition is fierce and focused.

That’s odd, because studies have proven roundabouts are safer and move more traffic more efficiently than the traditional four-way stop or traffic-light intersections.

Drivers should like them because full stops can often be eliminated and (once everyone agrees on the rule of yielding to traffic in the roundabout) vehicles can move more smoothly. Pedestrians should like them since they easier to navigate (since traffic is coming only one direction) and safer (many roundabouts have what are called splitter islands between each exit/entrance where pedestrians can wait, thus having to cross only one lane of traffic at a time).

And cyclists should like them because they’re safer whether you’re on or off the road, either acting like another vehicle (rules are clearer) or like a pedestrian (see above).

Sure, a lot of the opposition to roundabouts is fear of change… but once all road users see how they work, most end up supporting the change. (One before-and-after tabulation showed 75% opposition before a roundabout was installed and 75% support right after.)

They certainly can be a vast improvement over the typical traffic intersection, with traffic potentially going in three different directions or intersections where a lot of  people put themselves (and others) at risk by turning into oncoming traffic rather than going with the flow of it.

Even the Florida Dept. of Transportation – hardly a radical bunch – has come out in support of roundabouts, FDOT has even produced a handy brochure explaining the advantages and procedures of roundabouts… download your own at http://www.fdot.gov/traffic/TrafficServices/PDFs/FDOT%20-%20One%20Lane%20Roundabout.pdf

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Besides the aforementioned Summer Socials, look for some weekend morning 5Ks… Sugden Strike next Saturday in Naples, and the Summer Sizzler (Cape Coral) and Veterans (Estero) June 16. Details at eliteevents.org, 3dracinginc.com and active.com, respectively.
 
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the NE lee ride Friday night and the Sanibel ride Saturday night. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Both? Upcoming events include:

  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Registration is open for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.


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, June 6, 2018

Invite to June 19th Open House on Proposed Bayshore Rd. Pathway

Do you live, work, or play in Bayshore Road area (State Road 78)?  Here's your chance to find out the options FDOT is considering for a proposed pathway on Bayshore Rd. Stop by the Open House on Tuesday, June 19th (any time from 5-7 p.m.) to learn more and provide your input.
 
 
 
June 5, 2018                                                                           
                                                                                                   Zachary.Burch@dot.state.fl.us

 
FDOT Public Information Meeting for Bayshore Road (State Road 78) Pathway

from Park 78 Drive to State Road 31 in Lee County

Fort Myers, FL – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is holding a public information meeting about the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study for the proposed pathway improvements along Bayshore Road from Park 78 Drive to State Road 31 in Lee County, Florida.

The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at the Lee Civic Center, Whaley Hall Building at 11831 Bayshore Road, Fort Myers, FL.

The meeting will be an open house format with a video presentation playing continuously throughout the meeting. There will be no formal presentation. Department staff will be available to discuss the project, to receive public input, and to answer any questions.

This meeting is being held to allow interested persons an opportunity to be informed and provide comments concerning the location; conceptual design alternatives; and social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed project for the Bayshore Road (State Road 78) Pathway. The proposed project will provide a safe, viable non-motorized travel option for commuters and recreational users along the Bayshore Road corridor and the Fort Myers community, improving multimodal accessibility to area destinations while minimizing potential impacts to the natural and human environments. Alternatives being evaluated for this project include either a sidewalk or a shared use path on the north or the south side of Bayshore Road. The No-Build Alternative, which assumes that no pathway will be provided along Bayshore Road through the year 2040, is also an option and will remain a viable alternative throughout the PD&E study.

You can also stay current with the project and share comments with the study team by visiting the Bayshore Pathway web page at www.swflroads.com/bayshorepathway.

 

 

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 4: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

  • Saturday, June 9: Sugden Stride 5K. The first event in the Elite Events Summer 5k Series takes place at Sugden Regional park.  Runners will have plenty of scenic views as they wind around Lake Avalon on a closed path inside the park. This is a spectator friendly course as athletes can be seen for most of the race. Bring your swimming trunks because after the race, you can cool off in the clear lake or relax on the sandy beach. 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org) 
  • Saturday, June 16: Veterans 5K, Estero Community Park, Estero (active.com)
  • Saturday, June 16: Summer Sizzler 5K, 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, July 14: Beat the Heat 5K, 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  •  Saturday, Aug. 11: Cape 5K, 7 a.m., Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, June 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, June 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/)
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

BikeWalkLee's Letter to Estero Council on Estero Parkway Options

On May 29th, BWL issued an action alert re: Estero Council's upcoming June 6th decision on the Estero Parkway design.  On June 1st, BWL sent a letter to the Estero Village Council with its comments on the Estero Parkway Options (see below).  Communicate your preference to Estero Council members in several ways:  complete the ECCL survey by Monday, June 4th (Estero residents only); attend the June 6th Council meeting (starting at 9:30 a.m.) to speak during public comment period; and/or write, call or meet with Estero Council members before June 6th. For background on the two options, click here.  Click here for letter to Council from Dr. Margaret Banyan, author of the FGCU Estero Infrastructure Study, requested by Estero Council in 2015. Click here for Streets Alive of SWFL's letter to Council, both in support of the complete streets approach (Option 2).
 
June 1, 2018

Village of Estero Council
9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle 
Estero, FL 33928
 

Dear Mayor Boesch and Council Members:
 
BikeWalkLee is a volunteer countywide coalition advocating for complete streets. With Lee County being ranked as the most dangerous area in the country for pedestrians, it is clear that our roadways are dangerous by designand local governments must begin to design our streets for safety, which is what the complete streets approach is all about. 
 
As the Village Council gets ready to vote on the final design for Estero Parkway, BikeWalkLee would like to communicate its strong support for Option 2—the 2-lane complete streetsoption.  Our overriding priority is safety and Option 2 is the only option before you that is designed to make the roadway safer for all users—pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike.  Option 2 also best supports the new FDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan and the Villages original vision of Estero Parkway as a signature project that will serve as a model street for the Village.
 
Streets play an enormous role in determining a place's quality of life.  While people may not know the term "complete street", they know the characteristics of their favorite streets-- streets with tree canopy and attractive landscaping; safe, comfortable and shady places to walk and bikes buffered from traffic; moderate traffic speeds, safe ways to cross the street, and inviting places to be for all kinds of uses.  The holistic and integrated planning of a roadway (the entire right-of-way public space) is context sensitive and reflects balance among the needs of the various users.  Again, we believe that Option 2 best balances the needs of all users.
 
The roundabouts in Option 2 are key components to slowing down the traffic and making the roads safer for everyone.  Research has proven that roundabouts are safer—there is a 35% overall decrease in crashes; a 76% decrease in injury crashes; and a 71% to 81% decrease in fatal/incapacitating crashes for single lane roundabouts. As then FDOT District 1 Secretary Billy Hattaway told the MPO Board and the Bonita Springs City Council in 2015, there is often opposition to roundabouts from businesses and the public before installation.  According to Hattaway, 75% of the public is opposed to roundabouts before installation, and as soon as the roundabouts go in, it flips to 75% support of them. FDOT promotes the use of roundabouts and has developed an informational guide for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists about roundabouts: FDOT Brochure: A guide to Roundabouts (One-Lane)
 
Option 1—the 4-lane option will essentially make Estero Parkway another highway in Lee Countyone designed to prioritize and move vehicles as fast as possible.  Research has proven that speed kills, especially for vulnerable road users.  Not only will the highwaywith virtually no traffic calming features be less safe, it ignores the needs of those bike riders (whether children, seniors, or others) that are not comfortable riding on the road.  Only installing narrow sidewalks (as called for in Option 1) means that the needs of these types of bike riders and their safety are not being addressed.  As the Village continues to grow and change demographically, if Option 1 is adopted, in a few years the Village will inevitably face citizen demands for a wider path so it can be used safely by both walkers and bikers.  It’s much more cost effective to install wider paths now.  According to the MPO, the costs of retrofitting will be 5 to 10 times the cost of doing it right the first time.something that many communities throughout Lee County have learned the hard (and expensive) way.   Finally, Option 1 is essentially more of the samewhich means that the Village will lose its once in a lifetime opportunity to create the promised model street that could help define the Village as a walkable/bikeable/livable community that is a place where people want to live, work, and play. The option that is chosen for Estero Parkway will help define the future of Estero.

Thank you for considering our views.  We appreciate the efforts that the Village has made to consider a range of options and to invite public participation throughout the past 2+ years. We hope as leaders that you will take all of this into consideration and choose Option 2 in order to do what is best for the safety of all residents now and well into the future.
 
Sincerely,
 
Darla Letourneau and Doug Saxton
on behalf of BikeWalkLee
 
cc: Steven Sarkozy, Village Manager
      David Willems, Public Works Director
 
 
FDOT Brochure: A guide to Roundabouts (One-Lane)

FHWA brochure concerning roundabouts and 1st responders