Status on bike/ped projects and accommodating bike/ped/transit in planning road projects:
By Darla Letourneau & Steve Rodgers
• Sanibel toll booth and access bike improvements: Over the holidays, the roadway from McGregor Blvd up to about 1 mile before the Sanibel tollbooth was repaved and the shoulders were repaved and improved, including new keyhole bike lanes. It looks good! Now, we are waiting for the tollbooth construction project to begin so the remainder of the shoulder is completed and the tollbooth fixes are done. This construction project should begin soon.
• Buckingham shoulders: Construction on this project should begin soon, if it hasn’t already started this week.
• Metro Parkway extension: The MPO’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinating Committee (BPCC) has been working with the project manager on bike/ped facilities. In addition to the bike/ped path that will go the length of the project, they are going to provide bike lanes throughout the project, including solutions through the overpass and off-ramp at the south end. This project won’t be completed until 2012. Thanks to Bert Hamilton for his efforts, working with the project manager, MPO, LeeDOT, and FDOT staff, to improve the designs.
• Summerlin Road improvements: The County’s Bike/Ped Advisory Committee (BPAC) worked successfully with LeeDOT to get them to widen the planned bike lane (undesignated) from 14 ft. to 3 ft.
• Interchanges: SR 78 and I-75 interchange; and Colonial and I-75 interchange. Dan Moser raised these issues at the BPCC meeting as well as at the MPO meeting (see this week’s Florida Weekly Dan Moser column). These interchange improvement projects do not include on-road bike amenities, and the off-road accommodations are narrow concrete sidewalks. At Friday’s MPO meeting, Chairman Ray Judah asked FDOT to work to resolve these issues so that there is a connected system for cyclists and walkers. MPO staff agreed that they will be this issue back to the Board to review what accommodations can be made.
Other Government updates:
- Meeting with Rep. Gary Aubuchon. On January 26th, BikeWalkLee representatives met with Rep. Aubuchon, who is the leader of the Lee Legislative Delegation. The meeting was a follow-up to our December presentation to the delegation, requesting action at the state level to respond to the Dangerous-by-Design report. We talked about the need for state leadership to make our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and discussed various ways that could be done, focusing primarily on promoting a complete streets approach throughout the state, and obtaining a "fair share" of federal highway safety funds for bike/ped safety improvements. Rep. Aubuchon, who chairs the Roads and Bridges Committee and is a member of the Transportation Appropriations Commitee, told us that he agrees that more needs to be done by the state to make our roadways safer for pedestrians and cyclists and supports budget-neutral approaches to accomplish that goal. As a state leader on rail issues, he understands the need to build an intermodal system that will link to future rail and transit facilities. We look forward to working with him during the upcoming legislative session.
• Committee leadership: Steve Jansen, with the LeeDOTTraffic Section, is now the Chair of the MPO’s BPCC committee and Dan Moser is the vice-chair. Bert Hamilton was elected as the chair of the county’s BPAC committee. Margaret Banyan is now the co-chair of the Smart Growth Committee. Congratulations to the new leadership teams.
• Smart Growth Committee’s complete street prototype study: At the committee’s Jan. 20th meeting, Joe Beck presented a complete streets prototype study of a neighborhood in North Fort Myers. This small-scale visual presentation was effective in identifying the gaps in the system for walkers and cyclists and demonstrating how mixed-use development and complete streets could be part of the community planning process. Kudos to Joe. A huge thanks to Wayne Daltry, the Smart Growth Director, for his leadership on complete streets and its place in smart growth. He retires on Feb. 4th and will be greatly missed by BikeWalkLee.
Thanks to BikeWalkLee steering group members who are serving on these various committees and to the other members who are attending and participating: Dan Moser, Bert Hamilton, Margaret Banyan, Steve Rodgers, and Joe Beck.