Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BikeWalkLee News—December 2, 2009

Welcome to the new format for BikeWalkLee News. On this blog, you’ll see regular postings of press releases and news stories about BikeWalkLee and related issues. At least for now, this “News” will be communicated to you by e-mail about weekly, but you should start checking the blog on a regular basis (

This newsletter contains the following news items requests:

1. BWL Letter to Legislative Delegation requesting actions to address ped/bike safety 12/1/09

2. BWL Letter to Governor Crist requesting action on “Dangerous by Design” report 11/20/09

3. Time Magazine: “Florida’s Deadly Hit-and-Run Culture” 11/29/09

4. Florida Weekly feature story: “Southwest Florida’s deadly streets” 12/2/09

5. BWL Letter in support of Lee Dept. of Health CDC grant application: communities putting prevention to work, 11/24/09

6. Update on Lee County bike/ped ARRA (stimulus) projects

7. Dan Moser’s Resigns from Lee County’s Bike/Ped Advisory Committee

8. Update on national legislation and Administration policy

9. Be inspired by other communities: Lansing Michigan

1. BikeWalkLee Letter to Legislative Delegation

On December 1st, we delivered a letter to Rep. Aubuchon, Chairman of the Lee County Legislative Delegation, for the annual Legislative Delegation on December 15th. The letter is a follow-up to the “Dangerous by Design” report and our letter to Governor Crist asking for action. In this letter we request 6 specific actions that the State Legislature can take this session to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, none of which require additional funding. We will be making a brief presentation to the entire legislative delegation at the December 15th meeting.

To read the letter, click below:

2. BikeWalkLee Letter to Governor Crist

On November 20th, we sent a letter to Governor Crist requesting the Governor to present a plan of action to the citizens of Florida in response to the Dangerous by Design report. I received an acknowledgement e-mail but no response yet. We also shared this letter with candidates for Governor and asked them what actions they would take if they were elected Governor.

To read the letter, click below:

Both letters have been widely distributed throughout Florida. Stay tuned for updates on responses we receive.

3. Time Magazine: “Florida’s Deadly Hit-and-Run Culture”

This week’s Time Magazine feature story, “Florida’s Deadly Hit-and-Run Car Culture”, is yet another call for statewide action to deal with the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in Florida.

Click below to read the article:,8599,1942986,00.html

4. Florida Weekly feature story: “Southwest Florida’s deadly streets” 12/2/09


Toni Ferrell was nearing the end of a morning bike ride with a friend when she stopped at a busy Southwest Florida intersection to wait for the pedestrian go signal.

“Everything changed for me after that,” she admits.

Which intersection is less important than this troubling fact, in Ms. Ferrell’s mind: her fateful crossing could have occurred at any one of scores of intersections in a region where roads have been planned and built for decades without thought of walkers or bicyclists.

Traveling without a motor vehicle here can be more dangerous than almost anywhere else in the United States, new research reveals.

Charlotte County ranks as the most dangerous place for pedestrians in Florida and the second most dangerous in the nation; Lee County ranks 23rd on the list of the 360 most dangerous American places for pedestrians and bicyclists and among the top 10 in Florida; and the Naples-Marco Island corridor, although the safest urban zone in Southwest Florida, is rated twice as lethal for pedestrians as the national average, according to a recently released report, “Dangerous By Design.” Co-authored by Transportation for America (, the title is a reference to the tradition of building roads only for cars and trucks, without thought of any other vehicles.

Click here to read the rest of this in-depth article, which features interviews with bike/walk advocates in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties:

5. BikeWalkLee Letter in support of Lee Dept. of Health-s CDC grant application: communities putting prevention to work

We submitted a letter in support of the Dept. of Health’s December 1st application for a Center on Disease Control (CDC) nationally competitive grant , called “communities putting prevention to work”(also stimulus funds). Lee’s application proposes to address obesity in Lee County through improved nutrition and increased physical activity. Many of BWL’s supporter organizations worked in partnership on this grant application. This grant, if awarded, could give the county an opportunity to promote a healthier more physically active community, a vital piece to achieving the vision of complete streets. Awards aren’t made until the Spring.

6. Update on Lee County bike/ped ARRA (stimulus) projects

Since the last update on these projects on September 16th, some additional activity has occurred:

  1. The Metro extension road project is an FDOT project, which was awarded to Posen Construction in August with the bid amount of $29 million. This road project also includes a pathway (est. at 10% of project cost: $2.9 M). In September issues were raised concerns about the ped/bike access to the path and other design issues.

    At the November 20th BPCC meeting, the project manager for the Metro Project discussed the changes they are making in the design to accommodate these concerns. Although they are unable to move the path to the other side of the road in order to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists coming out of Briarcliff Rd. due to environmental and ROW issues, they are running the electric wiring across the intersection so that a traffic light can be installed if and when it is warranted, or if FDOT decides to install one without the warrants. In addition, they are adding bike lanes (signed and marked) to the entire extension project, and connecting these bike lanes to the paved shoulders on Alico Road in the south and the bike lanes in the Metro Parkway section north of Six Mile Cypress Parkway, which is currently being widened. Thanks to Bert Hamilton who raised these issues and has been working tirelessly with FDOT and LeeDOT staff to improve the design to make it safer for cyclists and walkers.
  2. Based on the discussion at the Nov. 20th MPO meeting, the following is the status of the Buckingham shoulders project:
    • Contract for phase one to Neal has been approved by BoCC & construction should start in December. (2 miles/ $294 K)
    • Phase two to Gunnery will be funded with funds left over from the low bid on phase one. This project is on the agenda for approval at the 12/8 BoCC meeting. Once the section to Neal is completed, this section will be ready to start. (2.3 miles/$453 K)
    • Phase three to Orange River remains to be funded. At the 11/20 MPO meeting, the Board agreed that projects that were underway but not fully funded (e.g. Buckingham) would receive first priority when new funds become available before funding any new projects. This section of the project requires a box culvert which requires some additional review/design by FDOT (2.5 miles/rough cost est. of $750 K to $1 M)
    • We are hopeful that with the low bids for projects coming in both in Lee County & throughout the state that there will be funds to reallocate to complete this project.
    • Although the original Buckingham shoulders project as submitted for the stimulus funds was designed to go up to Orange River, LeeDOT staff agrees that with changes in the road design plans for Buckingham (which were put on the shelf), to be complete, the Buckingham shoulders need to go back Palm Beach Blvd. (2.5 miles more). Funding for this section will need to be pursued through the BPAC prioritization process.

Thanks to Steve Rodgers of Caloosa Riders for speaking in support of completing this project at the MPO meeting.

  1. The Sanibel Toll bike improvements project: Bids were opened on 11/24 and the best bid came in at $319 K (vs. $535 K budgeted). This award will be on the BoCC agenda for approval in December (maybe 12/15). Construction is anticipated to begin in January and take less than 6 months to complete. This construction will occur during season, with any lane closures planned at night. In addition, LeeDOT informed us in October that the shoulders all the way back to McGregor will be improved and repaved (using the county annual repaving contract) in conjunction with this AARA project. Hopefully, before this summer, both parts of this project will be completed.
  2. Cape Coral sidewalks: Three Cape Coral sidewalk projects were funded in September with $1 million of excess funds from the Metro extension project. These 3 sidewalks are:
    • Cape Coral Parkway sidewalk from Aqualinda to Surfside ($115 K)
    • Beach Parkway sidewalk from Chiquita to Surfside ($505 K)
    • Nicholas Parkway sidewalk from Pine Island to Santa Barbara ($350 K)

Approval of these projects has allowed the City of Cape Coral to keep their sidewalk crews employed.

  1. Under a separate Department of Energy grant, a Homestead Rd. path/sidewalk project will be funded. The project has been approved but the overall grant has been stuck in Washington since June. Once the grant has been approved, this project will go back through the BoCC process for approval of the bid and award.
  2. The MPO’s countywide bike/ped master plan development is almost ready to begin. The MPO approved the ranking of the RFP proposals, and the MPO staff is now negotiating with the top ranked firms. RWA, who partnered with Hangen Bustlin, Inc., was ranked #1. The final master plan will be due to the MPO by December 31, 2010. The goal of this plan is to provide a safe accessible and connected bike/ped system countywide. The development of this plan, and the involvement of the bike/ped community in the process, will be one of BikeWalkLee’s priorities over the next year.
  3. The Slater Road sidewalk, although not funded with stimulus funds, was funded earlier this year and construction is now completed. We are checking to see if a ribbon cutting ceremony is being planned to celebrate this long-awaited sidewalk. We’ll keep you posted.

7. Update on national legislation and Administration policy

Legislation: Jobs-Focused Bill

In recent weeks, there has been talk in Washington of a jobs-focused bill, which could include a substantial transportation component (maybe $200 billion??). At the same time, Chairman Oberstar is pushing for a new surface transportation bill, possibly through a hike in the federal gas tax. The current extension of the transportation bill ends in mid-December, so stay tuned.

Livable Communities Act

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will likely hold a markup of their legislation (S. 1619) in January. The legislation was introduced in August by Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT). The Livable Communities Act would authorize a federal Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities. It would also create a federal Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at HUD, which would administer and oversee the Livable Communities grant programs. These grant programs include a competitive planning grant program for integrating land-use and environmental planning and challenge grants that could be used for changing zoning and building codes to allow for smarter growth and development.

The Transportation-HUD spending bill is one of four bills that have been approved by both chambers but have not been moved to conference. It is likely that this bill will become part of an omnibus spending bill to be passed when the current continuing resolution expires.

Federal Policy developments:

From the National Complete Streets Coalition Newsletter:

The Obama Administration isn't letting the delay in transportation reauthorization prevent them from doing more to encourage walking, biking, and taking public transportation. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) just issued a "Proposed Policy Statement on the Eligibility of Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements under Federal Transit Law." The statement makes the case for investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure around transit stops and stations in order to increase rider ship and improve livability. Importantly, it clarifies the use of transit funds for these types of projects: the new policy would make all pedestrian improvements with 1/2 mile and all bicycle improvements within 3 miles of a stop or station eligible for funds from several transit programs. In explaining support for these types of projects, FTA quoted Secretary LaHood's summer testimony that mentioned complete streets.

Federal Highway Administration has also posted program guidance on their website to clarify that Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program funds can be used for bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs. The League of American Bicyclists discusses how CMAQ funds can be used for bicycle and pedestrian projects in your community in a timely new report.

8. Dan Moser’s Resigns from Lee County’s Bike/Ped Advisory Committee

Below is a Dec. 2nd note from Dan Moser to the BikeWalkLee Community explaining his resignation:


By now most of you are aware of recent happening related to my role as an appointed member of two Lee County advisory committees and as a contractor with Lee County EMS. Below and attached is my notification to resign from both Lee County advisory committees on which I served.

Although it was a difficult decision to make I believe I'll be more effective if I continue to provide bike/ped education and awareness services, especially since I'll remain on MPO's BPCC, Fort Myers' BPAB, and our Injury Prevention Coalition board. Seeking an exemption, in my opinion, would have put EMS and BoCC in a difficult position and would likely have taken a significant amount of time to resolve, if ever.

Bert, please continue to serve on BPAC - you're BWL's connection to LCDOT.

If anyone knows someone who Commissioner Bigelow might consider to appoint to fill my position please let me know. It would be nice if that person lives in Commissioner's district but not necessary to be considered.


9. Be Inspired by other Communities: Lansing, Michigan

This is a terrific website and broad-based community coalition in Lansing, Michigan, working to complete the streets there. They succeeded in getting the complete streets policy adopted by their city council in August and are now working on their implementation plan. It’s got some great ideas that could be helpful to Lee County as it moves to implement our Complete Streets Resolution and craft the MPO countywide bike/ped master plan. Check out the link to their Power Point presentation to City Council on Complete Streets.

Darla Letourneau
Steering Group

a coalition to complete Lee County's streets



  1. Miracle Lane and McGregor is a death trap waiting to happen. For years, I have begged the owner of the first home on the street to cut back his arica palms to give more sight clearance to cyclists and motorists. Even after one of my family members knocked over a cyclist in an inevitable accident, he refused to cut back the palms. A couple of years ago, he graciously cut down one palm. even so, there is pitifully small sight clearance to protect bikers.

    I have written the owner on more than one occasion, pleading with him to cut more palms....perhaps you can do something. His name is Steve Fleming.

    Good Luck

  2. We have contacted the City of Fort Myers about this issue and code enforcement is now investigating. If you haven't already filed a formal complaint, you should contact


BikeWalkLee is not responsible for the validity of any comment posted at this site and has the right to remove any comment at any time.