The News-Press, November 7, 2019
by Ken Gooderham
Bikers and walkers in the Palomino Lane area have a reason to celebrate… and the county is planning a ceremony so they can do just that.
To mark the completion of long-awaited improvements along Palomino Lane, the county is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 13, beginning at 10 a.m. to mark the completion of the Palomino shared-use path.
The path runs from Daniels Parkway north to Penzance Blvd., and ties this area into a broader network of paths east and west along Daniels Parkway and south onto Fiddlesticks Blvd. - itself a long-awaited amenity that was finally completed about three years ago thanks to strong support from the various communities that branch off that roadway.
The story of the Palomino path is another example of what engaged citizens can do to improve their neighborhoods - and their lives. Faced with a narrow, heavily used roadway unsafe for cyclists and walkers (and practically everyone else), a few people who lived off Palomino pushed county officials for solutions.
After plenty of pressure, a creative concoction of city and county impact fees was developed to fund the proposed path project – which also planned to address other issues (such as drainage) that weren’t done right when the road was originally designed and constructed.
This project also serves as a reminder that it costs more to fix mistakes than to do things properly the first time. When new roads open up lands for more development, they should also open up opportunities for those new homes to have access to safe biking and walking facilities by having said facilities planned in advance - not added as if an afterthought. Those new homes (and communities) should also help fund future improvements that will benefit their residents - such as shared-use paths - by tying them in to a larger (and safer) bike/ped network.
Oh, wait, we have a way to do that… impact fees, at when we collect them properly. But that’s a discussion for another day.
With the many bike/ped improvements along this stretch of Daniels - including paths on both sides of the road and the area’s first bike boxes at the intersection with Treeline Avenue - biking and walking to the area’s many shops and restaurants (not to mention the two baseball stadiums) keeps getting easier and easier. This is particularly helpful as car and truck traffic on Daniels keeps getting more and more congested.
The shared-use path is part of a larger $1.6 million project that encompasses stormwater management and retention improvements… so kudos to the county for making all these upgrades at once, and for remembering the many bikers and walkers who appreciate improved infrastructure.
The ceremony will be held in the parking lot of the St. John XXII Catholic Church at 13060 Palomino Lane. We hope some of the many people who worked tirelessly to make this path a reality can join in the celebration.
Less light, so be bright
With the time change last weekend moving the clocks back an hour, those of you who like to run, walk or bike after work will be facing less light - which means less visibility. This is a particular issue in those places where bikers, walkers and runners have to share the road (or intersection) with motor vehicles… so, basically, everywhere.
It gets worse before it gets better, since the hours of sunlight continue to dwindle through the end of November and early December. Actually (and oddly), sunset is at its earliest (5:34 p.m.) starting Nov. 23 through Dec. 8, while sunrise continues to move later in the morning until it hits 7:17 a.m. on Jan. 6 and stays there through Jan. 18 (times courtesy of timeanddate.com). (FYI, there are also three different kinds of twilight, if that matters to you.)
So if you’re out and about on foot or on bike before sunrise or after sunset (or even in the three levels of twilight), stay seen and stay safe:
- Wear bright colors that help you be more visible and stand out from your surroundings.
- Use lights both to be seen and to see… mounted on your bike fore and aft, or carried in your hand or on your body (e.g. headlights) if walking or running.
- Wear reflective clothing so drivers can see you better… particularly in ways that emphasize movement, which is more eye-catching that just steady light.
Cooler temperatures (yes, supposedly they’re coming) encourage people to get out more. A few simple steps can make that a safer experience for all.
Ready to ride or run?
Run? This weekend, you can find a 10K in Naples and a 5K in Fort Myers -- Olde Naples 10K (gcrunner.org) or Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk at Lakes Regional Park (runsignup.com). Next Monday brings the annual Midpoint Madness 5K – your chance to run across the Midpoint Bridge at night (ftmyerstrackclub.com). The following weekend brings 5Ks once more -- CCPS 5K, competitive run, fun run and walk, Barron Collier High School, Naples (gcrunner.org) and Sprint for Students 5K run/walk, FGCU campus (runsignup.com).
Ride? Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
- Saturday, Nov. 9: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel.
- Friday, Nov. 15: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd.
If you’re looking for a good ride and some cycling camaraderie, look no further than the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Check out their ride calendar and you see a ride for almost every day of the week (and even more on weekends), all mapped and planned for your enjoyment. The Riders even tell you how fast (or not) you’ll need to be to keep up… click on the ride of your choice for all the details and even a map. All at caloosariders.org.
Both? The lone local-ish event is the Longboat Key Triathlon/Duathlon, with both Olympic and sprint distances on Nov. 17; details at trifind.com or trisignup.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 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.