The News-Press, 5/10/2018
by Ken Gooderham
If you like to walk in Cape Coral, the city has had a lot of good news for you lately.
The recent announcement that some five miles of sidewalks will be constructed in the next few years is welcome indeed. The additional mention that these projects will be in areas near schools is even better.
The fact that this project joins an ever-growing list of sidewalk efforts is the best news of all.
All this is solid evidence that Cape Coral is working to build on its recent (and successful) efforts to improve biking in the sprawling city – a mission made very clear in the recently (2017) adopted Bicycle + Pedestrian Master Plan.
You can find the complete plan online at: https://www.capecoral.net/department/parks_and_recreationhome/bike-ped/Report.pdf
The plan’s goals are:
- Achieve Silver or Gold Bicycle Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists
- Achieve Walk Friendly Community designation by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes by half within five years
- Reduce the share of all bicycle and pedestrian crashes in Cape Coral that occur along Del Prado Boulevard, Cape Coral Parkway, Santa Barbara Boulevard, and Pine Island Road from approximately 50% to 25% within ten years
- Double the combined walking, biking and transit commute mode share to 3% within 5 years (Currently 1.5% for walking, biking and transit in Cape Coral)
- Create a 228-mile walkway network within 20 years (135 miles currently; 93 miles proposed)
- Create a 202-mile on-street bikeway network within 20 years (66 miles currently; 136 miles proposed)
- Create a 31-mile multi-use path network within 20 years (9 miles currently; 22 miles proposed)
Focused goals, tangible results and a specific timetable… this might just happen!
That would be good news for Cape students (safer routes to school) bikers/walkers (more facilities and safer streets) and residents (more transportation options that could mean fewer cars). This kind of infrastructure is also going to be crucial as Cape Coral works to grow into its massive boundaries – 110 square miles of dry land plus 10 square miles of water – and as transportation alternatives become more necessary (because you just can’t build that many new roadways when your population races past a half-million).
While we’re congratulating the City of Cape Coral, kudos also should go to the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), which is funding much of this infrastructure investment. This kind of partnership can bring real results, and both governments should be thanked for making this happen.
Ride of Silence reminder
The Fort Myers ride, sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, gathers by 6:45 p.m. to start at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.
The Sanibel ride, sponsored by the Sanibel Bicycle Club in partnership with Matzaluna Restaurant and Billy's Bikes, gathers at 6:15 p.m. at Matzaluna (1200 Periwinkle Way) to leave at 7 p.m.
Riders are requested to wear black arm bands or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle accident. Everyone welcome, free of charge, and no registration is necessary. Helmets are required, lights are recommended no headphones please.
Lehigh meetingIf you live, work, or play in Lehigh and support the proposed 5.5-mile pathway that will connect Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park to the Lehigh Acres Community Park and the Harnes Marsh, allowing residents and visitors to bike or walk between these popular destinations, now is the time to make your voices heard. This proposed FDOT-funded project has been in the study/planning phases since 2013, and is now at the stage when alternative locations and conceptual designs are available for public input. It's important that pathway supporters attend this open house to show their support for moving forward to implementation of this important project.
The meeting will be 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at the Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 Homestead Road South, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936. The meeting will be an open-house format with no formal presentation.
Ready to ride or run?Run? Some 5Ks ahead to get you moving: Turtle Trot 5K on May 12, 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach; and the Cape Cops 5K on May 19, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (details for both at ftmyerstrackclub.com).
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its NE Lee ride tomorrow (May 11), and for its Sanibel ride Saturday. For the night rides, lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.
Both? Next up is the Cape Coral sprint at the Yacht Club on Saturday, May 12 (details at active.com or capecoral.net). Ahead:
- Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com).
- Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
- Also, registration opened 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.