Friday, June 17, 2011
Update on Cape Coral bike lanes request
Report by Steve Chupack, BikeWalkLee Representative for Cape Coral
June 17, 2011
The Cape Coral Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) on June 15, approved two of the three bike lane requests submitted on behalf of the SW Cape Coral Neighborhood Association. The requests were presented by Board member Pat Young at the May 18, TAC meeting and supported by Joe Cervoni, President. The application was also endorsed by Caloosa Riders president Mike Swanson, BikeWalkLee and its Cape Coral representative Steve Chupack.
The TAC is chaired by Councilman Pete Brandt and includes Mayor Sullivan and Council members Chulakes-Leetz, Kuehn, and McGrail. The action followed discussion of the recommendations made by Traffic Engineer Rashad Hanbali.
The TAC approved creating bike lanes on: both sides of Agualinda Boulevard between Cape Coral Parkway and Beach Parkway (1.3 miles); both sides of Beach Parkway between Agualinda Boulevard and Oasis Boulevard (.4 miles). Presently, Agualinda Boulevard has bike lanes between Cape Coral Parkway and Eldorado Boulevard; Beach Parkway has bike lanes between Oasis Boulevard and Surfside Boulevard. Putting lanes on these sections adds greatly to achieving the goal of creating bike lanes that are connected. Young and Chupack thanked Council members and Dr. Hanbali in particular for finding a creative solution to an issue of concern at the May TAC meeting about the proposed bike lane at the Beach and Oasis intersection.
It is disappointing that the TAC did not approve the request for a bike lane on both sides of Cape Coral Parkway between Sands Boulevard and SW 17th Place (1.3 miles). SW 17th Place is the first street west of Chiquita Boulevard. Young emphasized a major benefit of this bike lane was that it would provide much needed access by bicycle riders to the many shopping and retail businesses in the area as well as to the nearby Lee Tran bus stop. The TAC agreed with Dr. Hanbali's objections to reducing this part of Cape Coral Parkway to one lane to accommodate the bike lane. He cited traffic volume, that the road was a major artery for vehicles, and a designated hurricane evacuation route. The failure to get approval for the bike lanes on Cape Coral Parkway means the request may need to be re-submitted in a way that better meets both the Cape Coral and MPO Bike/Ped Master Plan connectivity goals.
Two steps remain before the bike lane request can be submitted by the TAC to the full Council for its approval. A petition indicating support for the bike lane requests will be circulated among residents in the immediate area where the bike lanes are to be created, and an open house meeting will be held to invite comment by those living in the area.
This action by the TAC approving the Agualinda and Beach bike lanes fits very well with the MPO's unanimous adoption on May 20, of the Bike/Ped Master plan, particularly with regard to the recommendation calling for greater bike lane connectivity.