The News-Press, 2/1/2018
by Ken Gooderham
|Image courtesry: Cycle Tour | Sport24|
Another regional ritual is the traffic jam that accompanies most spring training games locally. All those fans in all those vehicles, on top of already crowded roadways struggling with season, equals gridlock.
There’s a way to enjoy the former ritual without enduring the latter, if you’re willing to park your car and ride your bike.
Both Hammond Stadium/CenturyLink Sports Complex and jetBlue Park/Fenway South – training sites for the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, respectively – are easily accessible by bike, with some routes able to keep cyclists comfortably away from traffic (if that matters to you).
This idea may be particularly appealing should your tickets take you out to the ballgame on one of the few days when both teams are playing at home – which is guaranteed to turn Daniels Parkway into a parking lot those afternoons.
Parking your bike once you arrive at the stadium can be a challenge, so be sure to bring a sturdy lock and cable/chain to secure your ride to whatever you can find (which won’t be bike racks, I’m sure).
Not up for a long ride from home? Then park and ride… drive your bike to a nearby park or parking area (say, Lakes Park?), then ride your bike the rest of the way. You’ll still avoid the traffic jams and get some exercise (which can help justify that ballgame beer, hot dog or other snack).
You could even park at the airport and bike out from there… but given the cost and the calamity (RSW is not the most traffic-friendly site this time of year), I would not recommend it.
Maps showing the specific routes to both sites are available at bikewalklee.com (look for the Maps link), or you can pick up the countywide bike facilities map at your favorite bike shop (or download it from http://leempo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/3rdEditionFinal_000.pdf). The countywide map is also a great way to plan your rides to take advantage of the various bike facilities the county has in place.
You don’t have to wait until spring training (which kicks off Feb. 22) to put this idea into use. If you want to avoid traffic and find a convenient place to park in downtown Fort Myers during Art Fest this coming weekend, ride your bike. (Should you find some artwork you just can’t live without, most of the artists are happy to hold it for you until you can come back with a more appropriate vehicle.)
Still time to comment on projectsYou may have missed the Jan. 29 public workshop to speak up about two proposed bike/ped projects in Fort Myers, but you can still get your feelings on the record – at least until Feb. 12.
The two projects – the next phase of the Yarbrough Linear Park and the Winkler Canal Shared Use Path – are facing feasibility studies to determine their fate, so supporters should speak up or forever hold your peace (and your complaints about missing links in the bike/ped network).
What’s proposed? For the Yarbrough park, it’s extending the existing shared-use path northward from Colonial Blvd. to Hanson Street (it now runs from Six Mile Cypress to Colonial along Ten Mile Canal). For the Winkler project, it’s a new shared-use path from U.S 41 to McGregor Blvd. proposed to run along either the Winkler Canal, within Jefferson Park neighborhood, or along Hill Ave adjacent to the Fort Myers Country Club.
Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org (CellaMolnar & Associates is handling the public information aspect of the studies) by Feb. 12 to make sure your voice is included in these two vital projects.
Ready to ride or run?
Run? wo Fort Myers 5Ks are up this weekend – Strides for Education at Florida SouthWestern and the Medical Society Foundation 5K at Lakes Park. The following weekend brings the Cape Rotary 5K on Feb. 10 and the Edison Festival of Light Junior Fun Run on Feb. 11 – which of course means the Edison 5K is the following weekend (make your downtown plans accordingly). Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com and 3dracinginc.com.
Ride? This Friday’s Critical Mass downtown ride coincides with the opening of the weekend Art Fest, so expect even more crowded downtown streets. Next weekend brings the NE Lee ride on Friday night and the Sanibel ride Saturday night. Lights required and helmets recommended for all, with details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events.
Both? Nothing nearby in the near term, check out trifind.com or active.com for events in the state.
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 email@example.com, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.
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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.