Monday, October 24, 2011

Fowler Street one-way extension proposal

Report by Ann Pierce, BikeWalkLee Representative in City of Fort Myers

On Friday, October 28, the MPO will vote on a measure to amend the Long-Range Transportation Plan regarding a proposed one-way extension of Fowler Street, in downtown Fort Myers, beyond MLK, to connection at Metro Parkway and Kennesaw Street. Currently, the project is designated as ready for design phase. The upcoming vote is to move it back into a new study phase. The original study was done over 18 years ago, and much has changed in Fort Myers in the interim.
When this new study is done, these important concerns need to be addressed: alternatives to extending this one way, alternatives to the existing one ways or portions thereof, impacts on people newly are intermittently venturing into downtown Fort Myers, impacts on business revenues and residential property values, implications for transit access and ease of multi-directional use (particularly in service to the planned new regional library at the corner of Second Street and Royal Palm Avenue, in downtown Fort Myers ),impact on future development along and adjacent to the one-way corridors, and bike/ped accessibility, conductivity and safety.
The study update should also address the following evidence from studies of similar existing single-purpose, urban, one-way pairs:
• Existing evidence indicates significant negative impacts from one-way pairs on business revenue and surrounding property values by as much as 20%.
• One-way pairs increase vehicle miles traveled from 20 to 50%, in the recirculation required to reach a destination.
• One-way pairs increase turning maneuvers from 20 to 60%, greatly increasing the chances of conflict with cyclists and pedestrians.
• Vehicles on one-way roads consistently travel well above the posted speed, resulting in more severe bike/pedestrian crashes.
• Those most disoriented, confused or discouraged by urban one-way pairs are new visitors, vacationers, and the occasional user.... A poor invitation, indeed.

Both Lee County and the City of Fort Myers have committed to the principles of complete streets, requiring a rebalancing of their roadways, making them safer and friendlier for all modes of travel. Therefore any further considerations of this project should address those principles in the context of encouraging a thriving, healthy residential and business environment in County, as well as the City of Fort Myers.

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