Thursday, September 30, 2010

Contact News-Press-- Does your child have a dangerous walk to school? • September 29, 2010

7:37 A.M. — Oct. 6 is International Walk to School
Day, an event that draws awareness to pedestrian
and motorist safety. We would like to shadow you
and/or your child as he or she traverses busy
roadways, crosses canals and squeezes past traffic
on roads without sidewalks en route to school.

Please contact education reporter Dave Breitenstein
at or 335-0406 if
you're willing to be featured in the story.

This is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the barriers to walking to school in Lee County, so share your stories with the News-Press. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Opportunity for All! Sign the Transportation Equity Pledge

BikeWalkLee is a partner of Transportation 4 America (known as T4America), a broad national coalition of housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development, and other organizations, working together to
demand that our leaders invest in a 21st Century transportation system. Below is T4America's request for citizens to take action in support of transportation equity:

T4A Transportation Equity Pledge
Transportation is a crucial link to ensuring opportunity for all, connecting us to schools, housing, health care, grocery stores, and, most importantly, jobs. But millions of low-income people and people of color live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or even nonexistent.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Federal transportation policy choices – what we build, where we put it, who builds it, how we operate it, what energy powers it – have an enormous impact on our economy, our climate and our health. We must invest in a manner that builds a nation where all people can participate and prosper.

Join us in calling on Congress to invest in transportation that expands opportunity for all.

Sign the Equity Caucus pledge today.

Our next transportation bill must:

1. Create affordable transportation options for all people.
2. Ensure fair access to quality jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry.
3. Promote healthy, safe, and inclusive communities.
4. Invest equitably and focus on results.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BikeWalkLee objects to road resurfacing contract at 9/28 County Commission meeting

One of the items on the agenda for the 9/28/10 BoCC meeting today was approval of LeeDOT's annual $1.2 million roadway resurfacing contract. This contract will resurface the following roads: Buckingham Road, Estero Blvd., Island Park Rd., Littleton Rd., Neal Rd., Orange River Blvd., Palomino Lane, Staley Rd. and Whiskey Creek Drive. LeeDOT's resurfacing plan does not include adding shoulders to any of these roads to accommodate cyclists, as anticipated by the Complete Streets Resolution adopted unanimously by the Board in November 2009.

Dan Moser spoke on behalf of BikeWalkLee during the public comment period and urged members to reject this contract until it was amended to address the needs of other road users. According to Dan's comments, this list includes a number of roads where there is absolutely nothing for non-motorists and others that have a minimal shoulder that need to be widened and made usable by cyclists. One road in particular, Palomino Ln, has been on BPAC’s list for shoulders for a couple of decades. Some of the other roads are part of popular cycling routes that might be considered decent when riding on weekend mornings but otherwise aren’t places most cyclists would prefer to use.

Dan stated that it’s vital to take care of these problem roads whenever we have the opportunity. Additionally, by doing it now as part of the resurfacing, it’ll save a significant amount of money in comparison to adding them later as a stand-alone projects.

During the BoCC discussion, Commissioners Bigelow and Judah argued that these resurfacing jobs should have considered cycling shoulders for inclusion. Commissioner Judah requested LeeDOT to return to the commission in 2 weeks with an analysis of what it would cost to provide shoulders on each of these roads. The Board voted (3-1) to approve the proposed resurfacing contract with the understanding that they would consider change orders to the contract to provide for shoulders after the LeeDOT report is presented at the October 12th BoCC meeting. 10/6/10 UPDATE: The item is NOT on the BoCC agenda for October 12th. I'll keep you posted re: the new date.

Action Alert!
Before the October 12th meeting, let the commissioners know that bicycling and pedestrian facilities on these roads are needed. You can also attend the October 12th meeting (9:30 a.m. in BoCC Chambers) and speak in support of these facilities during the public comment period. If the commission doesn't direct staff to amend this contract to include these facilities, we’ll once again be missing opportunities to include space for cyclists and even pedestrians as part of these resurfacing projects.

Supporters also need to urge LeeDOT to use signs and pavement markings as an inexpensive and effective method of improving conditions – including safety – for cyclists and pedestrians on our roadways. The new Gladiolus Drive is a great model that needs to be replicated in other parts of the county.

Click here for information about how to contact the county commissioners.

Charlotte Co. Health Department awarded Bicycle-Friendly Business designation

Congratulations to one of our partner organizations, Charlotte Co. Health Department, on being the first health department in the country to receive the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly designation. They've provided secure bike lockers and showers for commuting staff.

“Our goal is to get to 20 percent commuting at least partially by bike or by foot,” Eric Stockley said. “We’re very proud of the award. More importantly, we’re now challenging other businesses to step up to the plate and follow our example.” Click here to read the story.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Status Report on bike/ped construction projects

LeeDOT and Cape Coral staff have provided the following status reports on pending projects--many of them funded last year with federal stimulus dollars (ARRA):

Buckingham Shoulders Phase II contract approved by BoCC on 9/21/10
The last update we had on this project was in May. Finally, the $391 K contract was awarded to Ajax Paving Industries of FL on 9/21. This section will provide paved shoulders from Neal Road to Gunnery Road. The work should begin by the end of October and be completed in 6 months.

Six Mile Cypress from Daniels to Heritage Lakes – construction to begin 10/4/10; it includes paved shoulders and asphalt paths (new 8’ on the west side, resurface existing 10’ on the east side) on both side of the road.

Daniels from Gateway to Chamberlain (by new Red Sox stadium) – preparing to bid; construction to begin late 2010/early 2011. 6’ paved shoulders on Daniels. Existing asphalt path on the north side of the road.

Energy Grant – Homestead Rd. sidewalk from Milwaukee to Veterans Park – Construction management contract is in process; to the BOCC in October/November; construction in early 2011.

The update for the ARRA sidewalk projects within the City of Cape Coral is as follows:

-Cape Coral Parkway from Chiquita Boulevard to Agualinda Boulevard: Completed

-Beach Parkway from Surfside Boulevard to Chiquita Boulevard: under construction; estimated completion date April 2011

-Nicholas Parkway from SR-78 to Santa Barbara Boulevard: Half completed (north-west portion); estimated completion date May 2011

On a related note, the City of Cape Coral is in the process of putting together a second sidewalk crew to advance the construction of sidewalks on Trafalgar Boulevard from Santa Barbara Boulevard to Chiquita Boulevard. Funding in the amount of $300,000 will be provided through the TEA grant program. Construction is anticipated to start next month and the project is expected to be completed by summer 2011.

Metro Extension – FDOT project; contact Debbie Tower 461-4300 or

Burnt Store Road

LeeDOT held a public meeting on Sept. 21st to discuss their plans for Burnt Store Rd. to be a “super street”. The bike/ped facilities planned for this road (which is not yet funded for construction)are paved shoulders/on-road bike lanes and a shared use path on the east side of the road. The bridges over the canals will be “humped” to allow pedestrian underpasses.

Status of requested safety improvements at Del Prado Blvd. and NE 3rd Terrace intersection

Since the tragic death of Ryan Santos at this intersection in April, we’ve been requesting a solution to this dangerous situation. See our letter to County Commissioners and the news story on the fatality: BWL speaks out on Cape bicyclist's death in letter to Lee County commissioners (May 24, 2010); and Bicycle death point to danger on Del Prado (4/29/10).

LeeDOT has now completed its traffic evaluation and the presentation of its findings and recommendations is now tentatively scheduled to the City of Cape Coral Transportation Advisory Committee on December 15th at 9 the Cape Coral City Hall, 2nd floor, Room 220-A. [Note: this is a change from the earlier blog post.] It appears that LeeDOT will be recommending some changes in the median openings on Del Prado Blvd., but not the installation of any flashing safety signals or any changes to the crosswalks or signals. Interested Cape Coral residents should plan to attend this meeting and speak up.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Join the American Heart Association’s Start! Corporate Challenge!

2010 Fall Start! Corporate Challenge

Beginning on Monday, October 4th through Friday, November 12th, Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida is challenging you and your employees to form a team and join us in a Corporate Walking Challenge! Help us with our mission to create a “fit-friendly” community by bringing Start! into your workplace by encouraging workplace walking programs.

Contact Bridgett Ashford at 239-985-4844 or to register and receive your toolkit for the Corporate Challenge. For more information, check out the American Heart Association's Start Walking! website.

Be inspired! Walker promotes exercise benefits

News-Press: Walker promotes exercise benefits
72-year-old takes 2,200-mile trip

By MARK S. KRZOS • • September 25, 2010

Six pairs of New Balance 993 sneakers have been worn out by one man in one year.
"I get about 400 miles out of them," said a smiling and tanned Phil Woods during a pit stop at the Coconut Point Starbucks this week.

Woods, 72, has spent every day since April 23 walking at least 25 miles and on Tuesday afternoon, he finally reached his Naples home.

But he still has many miles to go before he sleeps (or really rests.)

Woods is in the midst of a 2,200-mile journey that began at the Canadian border in International Falls, Minn. His walk will end Oct. 16 in Key West.

Four years ago, Woods completed a similar walk that took him from London Town, Md., to San Francisco.

"I'm doing it for a better America," said the smiling Woods. "It's to encourage people to take charge of their own health. We need more exercise. Health is a big problem in the United States. More than 50 percent of our youth aren't qualified to join the military because of obesity." To continue reading, click here.

Sunday's News-Press opinion page features distracted driving

News-Press Sunday, September 26, 2010
The entire opinion page is about the distracted driving epidemic and its impact on the lives of drivers, as well as vulnerable users such as pedestrians & cyclists. It includes a commentary by BikeWalkLee, among others. Read the series below:

News-Press Editorial: Distracted driving is an epidemic. So says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He’s right. Click here to continue reading.

MacGregor's Boulevard...How's My Distracted Driving? Click here.

BikeWalkLee's commentary:The push to combat distracted driving is crucially important to anyone who shares the road with a driver who is texting, talking on the cell phone, checking e-mails, and so much here to continue reading.

Stay Alive...Just Drive!'s commentary: The second Distracted Driving Summit held on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. once again provided a national opportunity to increase awareness, and seek solutions regarding this public health here to continue reading.

David Plazas (Community Editor of News-Press)'s commentary on his experience as a runner with distracted drivers: Last Sunday, I ran from my home to Lakes Park on a hot afternoon. Near the corner of Cypress Lake Parkway and Winkler Avenue, I saw a car swerving as it came my here to continue reading.

Letters to the editor on distracted driving: As an ex-law enforcement officer - now retired - I notice more and more drivers not paying attention to their surroundings. Click here to continue reading.

Kudos to News-Press for focusing on this important issue. We look forward to their continued attention to this serious safety problem for all road users. Thanks to Jay Anderson, Executive Director of Stay Alive...Just Drive!, who's championed this cause in our community for many years & who attended the USDOT Summit last week.
To learn how you can be more involved in this campaign, click here. You can also check out the USDOT website

Please let your state elected officials know that you want action on this issue, write letters to the editor about your experiences, and talk to your friends and family about the need to stay alive...and just drive! Thanks! Darla

Top 15 driving distractions

1. Rubbernecking
2. Driver fatigue/drowsy driving
3. Looking at scenery or landmarks
4. Passenger or child distraction
5. Adjusting radio or changing CD/tape
6. Cell phone/text messaging
7. Eyes not on the road
8. Not paying attention, daydreaming
9. Eating or drinking
10. Personal grooming (shaving, applying makeup)
11. Adjusting vehicle controls
12. Bad weather conditions
13. Insect, animal, or object entering or striking vehicle
14. Reading documents, books maps, or newspaper
15. Medical or emotional impairment

— Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, provided by Stay Alive .... Just Drive, Inc.

More News on distracted driving

News-Press 10/6/10

Stay off that cell, troopers are told

Florida Highway Patrol troopers can no
longer text or talk on hand-held cell phones while
on duty.

The new policy went into effect for the state's 1,650
troopers Monday. Troopers can still talk on their
cell phones, as long as it's with a hands-free device.

Authorities say the aim of the initiative is to keep
roads safe and use troopers to set the bar. In
Florida, there is no law against holding a cell phone
while talking and driving.

"It's encouraging to see law enforcement setting an
example," said Jay Anderson, executive director of
Stay Alive Just Drive. Click here to continue reading.

You're invited to the second annual Clean Energy & Sustainable Technologies Conference/Expo-- Oct. 29th

The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture Science UF/IFAS Extension Lee County this year in partnership with The City of Fort Myers happily invite you to the second Annual Clean Energy and Sustainable Technologies Conference/Expo at the Fort Myers Fl, Harborside Event Center, on October, 29 -2010 from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Scientists, entrepreneurs and leaders from academia, industry and government will share research and development information on innovative solutions. Enjoy seeing and hearing green messages from the beautiful Miss Florida Earth & Miss Teen/2010 and join them for a 1/hour Educational Program at the Expo section.

The Technology Exposition portion of the conference will be free to the public again this year. This is a unique opportunity to meet the region's investors, farmers, developers, engineers, purchasing agents, state and local government agencies who will showcase unique products, services and programs that promote climate change solutions through recycling, water-use efficiency, sustainable transportation, biofuels and renewable alternative energy.

For more information, contact:
Martha Avila – UF/IFAS Extension, Coordinator SustainabLEE Program – 239-533-7506 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              239-533-7506      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Second opportunity for public input on Lee Plan update

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2010) – Through a second series of public meetings, Lee County planners are looking for input about how local communities in unincorporated Lee will develop and change through the year 2035.

The Lee Plan, the County’s blueprint for growth and development in unincorporated Lee County, is being updated through a visioning effort called New Horizon 2035. With input that began in March, county planners are envisioning traditional but sustainable development strategies that will, among other goals:

· Better define urban, suburban, and rural areas

· Encourage the redevelopment of vacant strip plazas into mixed-use centers

· Promote walkability, bikeability, and transit options in order to reduce congestion

· Foster a variety of park and public space resources

· Advance a high quality of life for visitors, residents, and business people.

Meetings to obtain citizen input have been scheduled through November and throughout unincorporated Lee County.

During the meetings, Lee County’s Planning Division will discuss planning strategies proposed to update the Lee Plan. The framework for this update aims to promote livability, strengthen connections, emphasize community character, and encourage sustainability among local communities.

This vision-based comprehensive plan update is the basis of an Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which is required by the state every seven years. However, with support from the Board of County Commissioners, Lee planners are going beyond the state’s minimum requirements to achieve County planning priorities. The ultimate goal is to develop a 21st-century document that supports unincorporated areas that are sustainable, self-sufficient and distinct in community character.

New Horizon 2035 kicked-off in March with interagency scoping meetings that included Lee County departments and state and local agencies. A series of public visioning workshops and a variety of staff policy workshops followed. Through these, planners identified the most important planning issues and began drafting a vision framework which will identify potential strategies for revising the Lee Plan based on the four planning issues: livability, connections, character and sustainability.

This second series of workshops will present the proposed strategies to citizens, business owners, and policy officials to ensure that the process so far has captured the comments made early in the process. Several of these meetings are being sponsored by neighborhood groups or other organizations during their regular meetings.

Groups interested in having an update presentation about New Horizon 2035 at any time may contact the Planning Division: 239-533-8583.

For details about New Horizon 2035, please visit:

schedule of meetings

Oct. 5
7 p.m.
Bayshore Community Planning Panel, New Hope Christian Church, 17181 Tarpon Way, North Fort Myers

Oct. 6
6 p.m.
Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, 1926 Victoria Ave., Fort Myers

Oct. 11
7 p.m.
Alva Community Association, Alva Community Center, 21471 N. River Road, Alva

Oct. 13
6:30 p.m.
Lehigh Acres Community Planning Panel, Veterans Community Park, 55 Homestead Road, Lehigh Acres

Oct. 14
6 p.m.
North Olga Community Planning Panel, Bayshore Fire Department, 17350 Nalle Road, North Fort Myers

Oct. 15
1 p.m.
Estero Council of Community Leaders, Estero Community Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero

Oct. 18
6 p.m.
Estero Community Planning Panel, Estero Community Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero

Oct. 18
7 p.m.
Page Park Community Association, Page Park Community Services, Inc., 507 Center Road, Fort Myers

Oct. 19
9 a.m.
Captiva Planning Panel, Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive, Captiva

Oct. 20
10 a.m.
Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, Boca Grande Community Center, 131 West First St., Boca Grande

Oct. 20
6 p.m.
Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, Lee County Administration Building, 2115 Second St., Fort Myers

Nov. 2
7 p.m.
Greater Pine Island Civic Association, Pine Island Elks Lodge, 5630 Pine Island Road, N.W., Bokeelia

Nov. 16
6:30 p.m.
East Lee County Council, Olga Recreation Center, 2325 S. Olga Drive, Fort Myers

BPAC member & longtime Lehigh activist, Willard Baker, dies

News-Press: Longtime Lehigh activist Baker dies at age 73

BY CRISTELA GUERRA • • September 23, 2010

Willard Baker was the man underneath the red suit every Christmas.

The longtime Lehigh Acres resident and community activist died this afternoon in Clearwater. He was 73.

Baker’s life in Lehigh Acres with his wife, Doris, was defined by his involvement and passions, say those who knew him. Baker wore his joys on his sleeve, next to his heart. She was always by his side.

Throughout the years, Baker was a Kiwanian, a Shriner, a president and member of Lehigh Acres Community Council and advised on pedestrian pathways in Lehigh Acres.

“I doubt there’s a sidewalk in this town that doesn’t have his hand print,” said Rick Anglickis, a close friend of Baker’s.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Lee County is a better place for pedestrians because of Willard's work, and he will be missed by the bike/ped community.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

FDOT's Bike & Pedestrian Partnership Council 2nd meeting October 14th

Back in April we reported on FDOT's establishment of a Bike and Pedestrian Partnership Council, in response to requests from groups like BikeWalkLee, for a statewide advisory committee. Two of the members on the Council are representing bike/ped issues: Ken Bryan, of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and Mike Lasche, of the Florida Bicycle Association.

The next meeting of this Council is scheduled for October 14th in Deland, FL, and includes a discussion of the Florida Greenbook, transportation funding (including the rescission issue), as well as a discussion of the 2060 Florida Transportation Plan and Strategic Highway Safety Plan. To keep abreast of this Council, check out the FDOT website.

Cape Coral police hand out bicycle helmets to kids

Kudos to the Cape Coral Police for providing free helmets to kids riding bikes without helmets. Check out the News-Press story:

News-Press 9/24/10
By Andrea Jackson •

Cape Coral police Officer Matt Squires has yet to ticket a child for not wearing a helmet because he has another way to enforce the law.

Inside his trunk, Squires had about seven helmets - big and small, for boys and girls - but gave them all away.

They were part of a batch of 100 helmets that the Epilepsy Foundation gave to the department. Three dozen are left that police can still give out, authorities said.

Pedaling without a helmet can carry a ticket, and a fine of $57.50 for people under 16, or police can just issue a warning.

"The goal is to make sure kids are safe," said Squires.

It's not something police want to punish. They want to increase awareness.
Click here to continue reading.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Sanibel awarded ‘Bike-Friendly Community’ designation

Florida Weekly 9/22/10

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Sanibel Island that it was awarded bronze status as a Bike- Friendly Community in the League of American Bicyclists’ latest round of designations. The decision may seem like a no-brainer, but there are actually quite a number of activities and commitments that must be met in order for a community to become a BFC award-winner beyond having a network of multi-use paths. Remember that Lee County did not win recognition at any level, even with a very well-prepared application submitted.

While congratulations are in order to those who had the foresight when Sanibel was incorporated in 1974 to move in that direction right from the start, as well as to those who have kept on-track since, the island community still lacks any on road accommodation, and thus did not attain a higher level of recognition. Due to frequent congestion on the paths, the many, many driveway and side road conflict points, and the diverse user types and skill levels mixing it up, those who generally feel comfortable off the paths would be doing themselves and pathway users a favor if the island’s roads were a viable option.

Acknowledging that limited right of way and scant funds to widen roads to add bike lanes are major obstacles, other approaches should be used. For example, signing roadways to remind drivers and cyclists alike that bikes will be part of the traffic mix, along with law enforcement support, could be good first steps.

A bus with no engine

Just in time for the annual Walk to School Day, Oct. 6, comes something that could make this one-day event much more significant for those who’ve chosen to be a chauffeur rather than allow their child to use a healthy method of transportation: the walking (and biking) school bus.

Thanks to the addition of a new health program in our area, there’s a coordinated effort under way to identify and establish walking school buses wherever possible. The concept is simple: adult parents “drive” and chaperon the bus on foot or on a bike, picking up students along the way to either school or the bus stop. The program’s coordinator, Jennifer Robertson, will answer any questions you might have and set things in motion if you like what you hear. You can e-mail her at or visit this link for more information.

Advocacy update

The city of Fort Myers is in urgent need of individuals to serve on its Bicycle/ Pedestrian Advisory Board. BPAB meets every other month on the third Thursday of the month from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Those interested must either be a city resident or own property or a business there. While Fort Myers has a pretty good environment for pedestrians (not as good for bicyclists), there’s still plenty that needs to be done to get us where we should be. To learn more and to apply, visit the city's website.
Finally, it looks like real progress has been made when one rides or drives Gladiolus Drive. The final road markings and signs are in place and include bike lanes and a first in our area: “sharrows” where no bike lanes exist. Those familiar with the roots of BikeWalkLee will recall that it came together because Lee County DOT officially took the position that itwould not create formal bike lanes on any county road. Thanks to both BWL and Lee DOT for making this happen.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

— Dan Moser begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334-6417.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Join the Campaign!

Bikes Belong, the bicycle industry's advocacy and education organization, recently launched a new effort to unite one million voices to improve bicycling in the United States. It simply asks people to sign a pledge in support of biking. The campaign is called, and the goal is to help make our nation a better place to ride by sending a powerful message to our elected leaders, the media, and the public that bicycling is important and should be promoted.

My 5-year old grandson signed the pledge and inspired me to sign on as well. To date, more than 90,000 people across the country have signed the pledge, and the League of American Bicyclists just joined in urging their members to sign the pledge.

So please take a moment to visit the website and sign the pledge. It is quick and easy. All the campaign needs is your name and email address:

Please ask your friends, family, and fellow riders to sign the pledge, too.

MPO holds public hearings on long range transportation plan


The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization will be holding a Public Hearing on the Adoption of the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Needs Plan Alternative on October 22, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. It will be located at the City of Cape Coral Council Chambers, 1015 Cultural Park Boulevard, Cape Coral. For further information please contact Ms. Meghan Marion at 239-338-2550 ext. 219 or by email at

The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization will be holding a 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Workshop on October 26, 2010 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be located at the Three Oaks Banquet and Conference Center, 20991 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero. The purpose of this workshop is to receive public input on the Cost Feasible Plan for Lee County through the year 2035. This location is accessible through transit, LeeTran Route 60, and for more information go to For further information please contact Ms. Meghan Marion at 239-338-2550 ext. 219 or by email at

Friday, September 17, 2010

BikeWalkLee letter to BoCC opposing budget cuts in transit programs

September 17, 2010

To: Lee County Commissioners
Re: Budget cuts to Lee County transit programs

BikeWalkLee is a coalition working to complete Lee County streets, whose purpose is to create a balanced transportation system that includes pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. BikeWalkLee is strongly opposed to the proposed $1.64 million cut in the transit budget for the following reasons:

1. Economic and business development. Cutting transit routes and services has serious implications for riders who depend on the system to get to work. According to LeeTran data, a majority of its riders use it as their means of transportation to work. The proposed transit cuts will result in an unacceptable ridership loss. Without a way to get to work, this cut could translate into job losses for these individuals, which has an exponential impact on Lee County’s economy. In addition to the individual job loss, there are also enormous implications for businesses that may be attracted to Lee County. Research shows that businesses relocate to areas with healthy public transit systems. Given the current economic environment, wouldn’t Lee County want to expand (not shrink) its opportunities to grow by holding the budget line on public transportation?

To continue reading the letter, click here.

News-Press 9/24/10
Lee turns wary eye to budget for 2012

By Gabriella Souza • • September 24, 2010
Lee County commissioners just approved the 2010-11 budget, but next year's already looms. County Manager Karen Hawes admitted Thursday night that residents' services will be affected in coming months. Though it's not clear where those cuts will come, commissioners and staff are expected to soon begin discussions about the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2011...

Though reductions were foremost on commissioners' minds, they agreed Thursday to pay $783,000 to reinstate LeeTran services they decided to eliminate last month.
At Thursday's hearing, 11 county residents pleaded with commissioners not to slash the routes, especially North Fort Myers Route 90, on which Sunday service was to be discontinued.
"I'd rather wait a long time for a bus than not wait for a bus at all," said Mike Ulrich, president of the Southwest Florida Council for the Blind. LeeTran is Ulrich's primary form of transportation, and he uses the Route 90 bus to meet up with friends on Sundays.

Commission Chairwoman Tammy Hall said it bothered her that some county residents would have no access to public transportation in tight economic times.
"It's only about 3 percent, but it is part of our neediest population," Hall said.

Click here to read the full article:

Thanks to everyone who spoke out against the transit cuts and kudos to the County Commissioners for unanimously voting to restore these cuts. Now, we need to work for INCREASES in transit spending!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Check out new biking & walking facilities on Gladiolus Drive

In case you haven't had a chance to ride/walk or drive Gladiolus Drive since the final pavement markings were added and signs posted, we think you'll be impressed. Having the sharrow lanes on the road where the bike lane disappears in Harlem Heights makes a huge difference.

BikeWalkLee wants to thank everyone who came together to make this happen. A special thanks to BPAC and LeeDOT!

NOTE: On Monday, September 20th at 2:00 p.m. there will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, and BPAC's chair, Bert Hamilton, will be speaking. Come join the celebration & say thank you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BikeWalkLee applauds Sanibel’s designation as a “Bicycle Friendly Community”

BikeWalkLee press release Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FORT MYERS, FL –BikeWalkLee applauds today’s announcement by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) that Sanibel is one of 18 new Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). According to the league, “A Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation.” More than 400 communities have applied for BFC designation and, to date, 158 communities (six in Florida, including Sanibel), have received the recognition.

“We applaud the Sanibel city manager and the Sanibel City Council for submitting the application, which was essentially an audit of its engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation (the 5 Es) efforts to promote bicycling,” BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau said.

“Today’s 23-mile shared use path system began as a result of citizen efforts in 1974 -75 that envisioned Sanibel as a bicycle/pedestrian-friendly community. By 1996, the 23-mile path system which exists today was completed. With encouragement and support from the Sanibel Bicycle Club, the city spent three years developing a comprehensive shared use path master plan, which envisions further improvements in the system,” said Letourneau. "The Sanibel Bicycle Club, one of BikeWalkLee’s partners, is to be commended for its long-standing work with the city of Sanibel to make the island a bicycle-friendly community.”

BikeWalkLee’s vision is for a bicycle, pedestrian, and transit-friendly Lee County, the goal of Complete Streets —streets designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

“Sanibel is the first community in Southwest Florida to be awarded a BFC designation and we hope Sanibel’s efforts to put a comprehensive program in place can serve as a model for other communities within Lee County," said Letourneau. "Often, a community applies and doesn’t succeed the first time, but receives assistance and feedback from LAB that helps it improve programs to be more competitive the next time. For example, Lee County applied for the BFC designation in 2009 but was not successful. However, the feedback should encourage program improvements that could help the county be successful in the future."

For more information about the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities program, click here.

To continue reading, click here.
Published in the Island Reporter on 9/16.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Participate in International Walk to School Day October 6th

A convergence of issues ranging from childhood obesity to environmental
pollution to rising fuel prices are pushing families to rethink how they travel, including the daily trip to school. Although walking and bicycling to school happen throughout the school year, this year’s official Walk to School celebration takes place October 6.

For some families, this is an opportunity to give walking and bicycling to school a try. Walk to School Day is not a new initiative. The Partnership
for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to
School Day in Chicago in 1997, modeled after the United Kingdom’s walk to
school events. In the U.S., Walk to School grows in numbers and relevance
each year. In 2007, all 50 states held Walk to School events, for an estimated total of 5,000 schools.

Below are the local schools that have registered to participate in this event:
Fort Myers:
Gateway Elementary School
Kim Freis, Les Johnson
239 768-3737 239 768-3737
We do it over a 5 day period working with the Lee County Sheriffs Dept.. Students are are separated into smaller groups so students safety rules can be gone over better. Parents and staff are encouraged to participate also.

Tanglewood Elementary School
Vilma Jimenez
239-936-0891 239-936-0891
Students, parents, and school staff will meet at 7:30 am at a place close to the school. We will walk together to the school with banners and posters. The police department will escort the participants. Snacks, water, incentives and certificates will be distributed to all student participants.

Bonita Springs:
Bonita Springs Elementary
Terri Cherkin
239-992-0801 239-992-0801
The entire student body is invited to meet at a designated location and walk together to school by following the bobcat paws, which have been painted onto the sidewalk. We are led by the Mayor of Bonita Springs as well as the fire and police department. Students enjoy refreshments and guest speakers after completion of the walk.

Volunteers Needed! If you're interested in volunteering, esp. to help with organizing this event for a specific school, the Lee County School District would like your help. Please call Jennifer Robertson who is the contact person for FDOT's "walking school bus" program. Her number is (941)915-0826. Also Liz Moreno Child Advocate and Lee/collier Safe kids coordinator is a local contact and her contact info is

The Walking School Bus!

A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking to school with parents or volunteers. It gives children a jump start on daily exercise and learning.

To learn more about the Walking School Bus Program, click here.

The Walking School Bus in Florida is an initiative of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) award to the Florida Department of Health. Thirteen regional coordinators are located across Florida to work with county health departments, local health advocacy groups, civic organizations, school districts, and city and county officials. The FDOH coordinator for this region is Jennifer Robertson or 850-245-4330.

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Lace the sneakers on tight, it’s road race season

Florida Weekly, September 8, 2010

If you’ve been doing your best to avoid the heat and humidity while exercising, it’s about time to get yourself back out on the roads and trails of Southwest Florida. For the running or walking enthusiast, that means preparing oneself for the many 5Ks and other distance events that are being offered.

This year’s road racing season begins in Lee County with the Lexington Cares 5K on Oct. 9. Next up is the Sanibel 10K for F.I.S.H. on Oct. 16, a race that was to be a first-timer last year but was canceled at the last moment due to severe weather, a decision that’s quite rare for races in general (it takes sustained severe weather, including lightning, to call off a race). A week later, on Oct. 23, there’s the very popular Cops & Joggers 5K in downtown Fort Myers (this race was an instant success from its first running, thanks to the public safety community’s support and efforts). There are two races on Oct. 30: Race the Roof 5K at the Verandah in Fort Myers and the Shores and Knights of Fright 5K that takes place in San Carlos Park.

November isn’t quite as busy as October, but two major races are on tap. YMCA’s annual Midpoint Madness 5K takes place on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Beginning on the Fort Myers side, the course takes runners over and back the Midpoint Memorial Bridge during the early evening of Veterans Day. Another traditional holiday event, the Turkey Trot 5K, will be held as usual on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 25, from Cape Coral Hospital.

Later in the race season there are a number of well-established events such as the River Run 10K in December, the RRiver, Roots, and Ruts Half Marathon and 5K in January, Edison Fest 5K in February, and Hooters Half Marathon in March. And don’t forget the new kid on the block, the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air stair climb at High Point in April, a first-time event last year that was clearly a hit with runners, walkers and others seeking a unique challenge.

If you’re someone who needs to be part of a group to motivate yourself to train, or simply enjoy running with others, you may want to consider showing up at one or another of the weekly gatherings that take place. Among many other opportunities are: a Monday morning run, beginning at 5:30 a.m. that stages from Starbucks at College Parkway and Winkler Avenue; a Monday afternoon run that starts at the Fort Myers Country Club at 4 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there are evening runs from the Yacht Basin downtown beginning at 5 p.m. On Saturday mornings, there are groups that go out at 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. from the same Starbucks as Monday; and you can meet at FMCC again on both Saturday and Sunday mornings for a 6 a.m. start.

Click here for details and contact information for these events — other than those indicated otherwise.

Advocacy Update

Would you like to help make a difference in the way bike/ped priorities are determined locally? The city of Fort Myers is in need of individuals to serve on its Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board. BPAB meets every other month on the third Thursday of the month from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at city hall.
Those interested must either be a city resident or own property or a business there. While Fort Myers has a pretty good environment for pedestrians (not as good for bicyclists), there’s still plenty that needs to be done to get the city where it should be. To learn more and to apply, click here.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

— Dan Moser begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting is a league cycling instructor/trainer and program manager for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334-6417.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

BikeWalkLee's letter to Governor Crist: stop marginalizing Florida's cyclists and pedestrians

September 7, 2010

Dear Governor Crist:

BikeWalkLee, a coalition working to complete Lee County’s streets, on August 18th urged you to distribute the recent congressional rescission of $112.6 million from Florida’s federal transportation funds proportionately. Therefore, we were very disappointed to see the decisions announced on August 23rd that, once again, took the bulk of the cuts from two programs, Transportation Enhancements (or TE, $24.7 million cut) and the Recreational Trails program (or RTP, $3 million cut) — two state programs that fund projects to make our roadways safer for Florida's walkers and cyclists.

While the federal legislation on this latest rescission exempted safety programs and local/regional road projects from the rescission, the remaining programs were not cut proportionately. An overall cut of 48.5% of unobligated balances was required. FDOT only cut 2% out of the unobligated balances in the road programs subject to the rescission, while 73% and 47% of unobligated balances were rescinded from TE and RTP respectively . More importantly, of the $2,319 million available for Florida federal transportation funds (FHWA), the rescissions resulted in a 5% reduction on the total funds available to Florida. However, TE and RTP programs lost 32%-36% of their funds--almost seven times their fair share. (See BikeWalkLee’s in-depth analysis of the rescission: )

To continue reading the letter, click here.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Florida office) issued a press release today entitled "FDOT Slashes Funding for Walkers, Bicyclists and Trail Users; Spares Drivers; Ignores Needs and Safety." Click here to read the press release.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Posted this on their website:
Funny Money?
States Claim Walk/Bike Funds Aren't "Real"

Imagine that you were asked to plan a meeting and were given a budget with line items for food, drink, meeting space and supplies. Now, your boss tells you to cut back 10 percent of the total budget. You eliminate all drinks from the meeting to cover that 10 percent, instead of trimming from each category. When the thirsty guests ask for drinks, you tell them that you didn't actually "give up" any money for drinks from the meeting, because in fact you'd never had the funds to begin with (technically true, since the full amount was budgeted but not authorized). And further, no drinks were lost because they were never even ordered in the first place!
Click here to read the full article:

Below is the "form letter" response we received from the Governor's office:

From: Frye, Kira [mailto:Kira.Frye@LASPBS.STATE.FL.US]
Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 9:19 AM
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: From the Executive Office of the Governor

September 22, 2010
Dear Concerned Citizen:
Thank you for writing to Governor Charlie Crist to express your support for bicycle and pedestrian program funding. The Governor appreciates the opportunity to consider your views and has asked that I respond on his behalf.
The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) works with all levels of government and impacted citizens like you to ensure that our roadways are safe and accessible to all users, which includes pedestrians and cyclists. The state and federal funding available to DOT is distributed with this goal in mind.

On August 13, 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation advised the state that all unobligated federal transportation funding allocated to the states is rescinded by Congress. The state was also directed to identify the categories of unobligated funds to be rescinded.

DOT has advised the Executive of the Governor that no bicycle, pedestrian, trail or enhancement projects will be eliminated as a result of the federal rescission. Florida’s Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways requires, with the exception of limited access highways that new roadways must be designed and constructed under the assumption that the roadway will be used by pedestrians, and bicycles where permitted. Bicycle paths and walkways are also encouraged when making improvements to existing roadways.

DOT is also working to enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility with help from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council. This council makes recommendations to the department and its partners on design, planning, safety and other programs that ensure statewide improvements in safety and facilities integration. To monitor our progress in this important endeavor please visit:

Again, thank you for writing to Governor Crist. Your thoughts are very important to him.
Kira Frye
Executive Office of the Governor

WSJ: Whatever Happened to Walking to School?

Today’s WSJ had an excellent op ed piece about walking to school. How do we change this? Darla

Whatever Happened to Walking to School?
Those of us who remember using our own legs for transit now run the risk of sounding Abe Lincolnesque.

If you think the first week of September means kids skipping off to school, you might want to check your calendar—for the century. The way you got to school isn't the way they do.

Take the bus. Sure, about 40% of kids still ride the cheery yellow chugger, but in many towns it doesn't stop only at the bus stops anymore. It stops at each child's house.

Often, the kids aren't waiting outside to get on. They are waiting in their parents' cars—cars the parents drove from the garage to the sidewalk so their children would be climate-controlled and safe from the predators so prevalent on suburban driveways.

Those of us who remember using our own legs for transit now run the risk of sounding Abe Lincolnesque. Today, only about one in 10 kids walks to school, says Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

The shift is so profound that the language itself has changed. "Arrival" and "dismissal" have become "drop-off" and "pick-up" because an adult is almost always involved—even when it doesn't make continue reading the article, click here.

News-Press Letter to Editor: cycle tags needed

This week saw another letter to the editor about cyclists. Below the letter is Dan Moser's response that gets the facts straight.

News-Press Letters to Editor; 9/6/10
Cycle tags needed

It costs extra to have a bike lane on a road - more land, more asphalt, more paint, more signs.
If bicyclists are allowed to share the road, they should share the cost of the roads. They should be required to have bike tags and to pay annual registration fees for the tags. They should pass a test, then pay for a license and subsequent renewals in order to have road privileges.
Car, truck, and motorcycle drivers are required to have tags and a license; why not bicyclists who ride on the roadways?
Maybe if the bicyclists had to have a license and tags, they would think twice before riding side by side or three abreast in the road way. They might finally get a ticket.

Bonita Springs

It was great to see the following four letters to the editor responding to this letter published in September 10, 2010 News-Press

Road cost shared

In response to a recent Mailbag letter suggesting
bicyclists need to pay our way ("Cycle tags needed,"
Patricia Kicklighter, Sept. 6,) I'd like to set the record
straight: Bicyclists do, in fact, pay their share of the
cost of roads they use - and don't use.

According to the Federal Highway Administration,
92 percent of the funds for local roads come from
property, income and sales taxes.

Bicyclists pay one or more of these taxes, as do
other nonmotorists. FHWA also calculates that
typically 94.4 percent of federal highway funds
come from user fees, meaning that 5.6 percent of
highway dollars are from non-transportation funds.
That means even bicyclists who do not own cars
contribute to federal highway funds, including for
highways that we are not allowed to ride upon.

Additionally, I, like many who bicycle, also own an
automobile, so am paying user fees regularly. Being
one who travels our public roads as a pedestrian,
cyclist, occasional transit user and motorist, I'm well
aware of the need for our transportation system to
accommodate a variety of modes. Rather than
discourage those having the least negative impact
on our environment, the roads themselves, and
overall quality of life, Ms. Kicklighter should
welcome us.

Fort Myers

Walking licenses?

The logic behind Ms. Patricia Kicklighter's
cantankerous diatribe against providing bicycle
lanes on busy streets because of the cost becomes
hilarious if extended to the far more costly
sidewalks provided for pedestrians.

Ms. Kicklighter suggests that bicyclists should be
required to obtain a bicycle driver's license, take a test, pay an annual fee, and periodically be required to get renewals for the privilege of using the bicycle

Presumably, under her governance pedestrians
should also be required to obtain a pedestrian
walking license, take a test, pay an annual fee with
periodic renewals for the privilege of walking on the

It has been my observation that more pedestrians
than bicyclists use the bicycle lanes in the absence
of sidewalks.

Finally, does Ms. Kicklighter really want to have a
child arrested if he or she is caught riding a tiny
bicycle side by side with a parent in the bicycle

Fort Myers

Green ride

Re: "Cycle tags needed," Patricia Kicklighter, Sept. 6.
How sad. When the rest of the world is trying to
discourage the consumption of polluting
hydrocarbon vehicles, here is an individual who
would tax bicycle usage.

Bicycling reduces the costs of traffic congestion,
parking and atmospheric pollution to name a few.
Its benefits also include better physical conditioning.

Bicyclists are aware of the safety and security of
riding properly and do not ride abreast on roads
because it is unsafe. They ride safely because they
are concerned and conscientious about inattentive
or malicious drivers who do not give them the
courteous and required 3-foot roadway clearing
space between car and bike.

A requirement for bicycle testing, as Ms. Kicklighter
suggests, would not eliminate unsafe bicycle riding
any more than vehicular testing would eliminate
drunk driving. Isn't this just one more suggestion
for bigger government?

I would hope that we could all live to respect and
accept our neighbors' differing interests even if they
do not coincide with our own. A little tolerance and
respect of other people's rights and interests goes a
long way toward safer roads for all concerned.

Fort Myers

Too many cars

What an incredible situation is taking place in just
about every place on our planet but probably more
so in the United States.

The number of cars has increased steadily since
1960 and in fact cars have been outnumbering
licensed drivers since 1972 at an ever increasing
rate. Wow! Now what will happen in the next 100

Obviously there's going to be a significant increase
in the total population in America and of course
here in Fort Myers. In the next 100 years we will
also have an incredible car problem. There just
won't be room for so many cars.

So what can Fort Myers do to help solve this
situation? Obviously we could use something else
for transportation. Maybe we can bring trains and
buses that could take us on local and long travels
so we don't have to take our cars all the time. Let us
think about new ways to move around.

Fort Myers

Make your voices heard in support of biking, walking and using transit. Send a letter to the News-Press mailbag:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's No Copenhagen

Living on Earth: Focus on Biking in LA
Check out this good short piece on public radio on biking in LA and the policy progress they are making.

It's No Copenhagen – A growing number of frustrated commuters in Los Angeles are opting for the bicycle. Riders are putting pressure on the city, and the city is responding, especially after the mayor himself took a nasty fall.

Here's one quote that has a message for Lee County:

SNYDER: When you look at the cities that are doing the most, lets see, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Tucson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Columbus, Ohio, and a growing list of other cities. The only thing those cities have in common is the political will to make conditions better. We have a great climate here, most of our basin is flat, there is no reason that we can't do, certainly, as well as New York and Chicago.
Yes, we too have a great climate and flat terrain in Lee County...we need to make sure that the political will to make conditions better is strong and deep.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Speak up for Florida's Cyclists, Pedestrians and Trail Users!

In response to a federal order for states to trim their transportation budgets, FDOT has disproportionately cut $24.7 million in coveted Transportation Enhancements (TE) funds, along with $3 million from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). TE is our nation’s largest source of funding for trails, walking and bicycling. These funds are highly prized and very limited.

This decision leaves behind a long list of unfunded, production-ready trail projects—including a portion of SR 207 Rail Trail in St. Augustine and the regionally significant Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail projects linking Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.

In Florida, TE represents less than three percent of our total transportation dollars, yet accounts for nearly 22 percent of these recent reductions!

These cuts follow on the heels of two rescission orders in 2009 in which 29 percent of TE funds—more than a quarter of a year’s worth of funding—were returned. These highly disproportionate cuts are all the more difficult to justify in light of Florida’s mounting cyclist and pedestrian fatalities. Our state leaders could have opted to prioritize and fund projects that improve the safety of these users of our transportation system.

Far from an isolated incident, these recent cuts follow a similar pattern we’ve seen in Florida, in which walking and bicycling have been marginalized and under-prioritized.

Please speak up for TE and RTP to Governor Crist, gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink and Rick Scott, Florida State Transportation Development Administrator Brad Thoburn and FDOT Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development Debbie Hunt.

Florida's office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has made it easy for you to speak up. Just click on this link and you can send a letter in less than 30 seconds!

BikeWalkLee sent a letter to Governor Crist on 8/18 asking him to take the cuts proportionately, which clearly he did not do. Click here to read the letter. If you want to learn more about how FDOT took this rescission, read BikeWalkLee's September 2nd in-depth analysis, click here.

Spirits and Spokes Tour, Sunday 9/5/10

What: Spirits and Spokes Tour

When: 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Begins at Centennial Park, 2000 West First St., Fort Myers, and ends at Hotel Indigo, 1520 Broadway.

Cost: Those who bike and wear their helmets are asked to contribute $20, while those without helmets and bikes are asked to donate $25 to receive a wristband. The proceeds will benefit United Way.

Info: Search for “Spirits and Spokes Tour” or email

Today's News-Press had an article about this upcoming event:

Tour benefits Fort Myers businesses

By Lindsay Downey • Special to The News-Press
• September 2, 2010

Oops - the word is out.

What started as a low-key, grass-roots cycling event
is gaining momentum as Labor Day weekend

There are no official organizers for the first Labor
Day Spirits and Spokes Tour, a nine-stop biking and
walking tour to downtown Fort Myers watering holes
on Sunday. There are no registration forms and no
press releases for the event.

"We want it to be kind of this cool underground
movement," said Roger Mercado Jr., a cyclist who is
participating in the tour. "And it's funny because
word is starting to get out there about it that you
really can't stop."

To read the full article, click here. check out the bicycle safety tips on right hand box.