Monday, March 21, 2011

BikeWalkLee applauds statewide recognition of Lee County commissioners and the Sanibel Bicycle Club

BWL Press Release: March 22, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL – BikeWalkLee applauds today’s announcement by the Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) of its annual award winners for 2011, with three of the twelve awards going to groups and individuals in Lee County. The Lee County Board of County Commissioners was named the Elected Official(s) of the Year; the Sanibel Bicycle Club was named the Bicycle Club of the Year; and two members of the Sanibel Bicycle Club were named Volunteer(s) of the Year.

“We are especially gratified to see the Lee County commissioners recognized at the state level for their leadership and accomplishments in making Lee County a more bike/pedestrian/transit-friendly community,” said BikeWalkLee’s Darla Letourneau. As the FBA announcement says; “Less than two years after approving a resolution embracing the concept of “complete streets” for Lee County, the Board of County Commissioners have turned their philosophical commitment into formal policy.”

Singled out in the FBA announcement was the county’s recently adopted Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR), an exhaustive review of the county's land use policies undertaken every seven years; this EAR is being cited by many as the most significant overhaul of county land-use planning since the first Lee Plan was instituted in 1984. “It is a visionary, bold plan with a focus on sustainability and a blueprint for changes in land use that will promote walkable/bikeable and transit accessible neighborhoods, with complete streets concepts integrated into every component of this plan,” said Letourneau. "As the announcement states, 'This continued focus of changing the way this county government deals with transportation and community planning, even as budgets are stretched to their limits, is a shining example of the political will required to make our communities more walkable, bikeable, livable.’”

“We are proud to see one of our partner organizations, the Sanibel Bicycle Club (SBC), recognized for its long history of advocacy and community involvement supporting the improvement and expansion of Sanibel’s 23-mile shared use path system,” said Letourneau. The club was instrumental in the development of the city’s shared use path master plan, and is working in partnership with the city and other community groups on the plan's implementation. “It is exciting to see how a master plan, which entailed a great deal of public involvement, is being implemented by the city, with broad community support and continuing leadership from the club,” said Letourneau. "As the FBA said; ‘The Sanibel Bicycle Club is truly a role model of how to run a successful club.’”

SBC’s involvement in the community was also highlighted by FBA’s award to two of the club’s members, Norm and Helen Flemington, who were named Volunteer(s) of the Year for their work in managing Three separate club sponsored projects, including the club’s used bicycle collection drive for the farm-worker community in Immokalee.

"Recognition such as this -- for Lee County's efforts to embrace complete streets and the Sanibel Bicycle Club’s advocacy work-- is welcomed," said Letourneau. "We have much to be proud of here in Lee County and we hope it will inspire both the county and the city to affirm its commitments to sustainable transportation in these tight economic times, and attract more supporters willing to work for safer streets and more transportation choices throughout the county."

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