Saturday, January 21, 2012

Report from Complete Streets Lessons Learned Presentations

On Thursday, Fit Friendly of Southwest Florida hosted an excellent 2 hour workshop for county and city officials and staff to hear about Lee County’s complete streets implementation and to discuss lessons learned that could be useful to the local jurisdictions as they move forward on complete streets. Attending were the County Manager, the LeeDOT Director and the county's complete streets team, the City Manager of Fort Myers, and staff from Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, LMHS, BikeWalkLee, Naples Pathways Coalition,and the Department of Health and its Director who hosted the event.

Andy Getch, LeeDOT, made the presentation and led an excellent discussion.

Some of the key lessons learned that were discussed:
• Need to change the public participation process and reach people in new ways;
• Need for prototypes on the ground so citizens can see what complete street improvement would look like
• Need for local jurisdictions to take a holistic perspective and include a complete streets approach in their EARs
• The importance of organizational change and the value of interdepartmental team as way of breaking down silos and taking holistic approach
• Importance of champions, both internal and external
• Importance of health aspect of complete streets

On Friday, Andy made a similar (but shorter) presentation to the APA Florida lunch series, with 28 attendees, primarily planners in both Lee and Collier Counties. The planners’ discussion focused on how engineers and planners could get developers to build interconnected roads, sidewalks, and bicycling facilities. There was discussion about the need to change transportation concurrency so that it included bike/ped/transit connectivity, not just moving cars, and the need to change the incentives and disincentives in the codes and through performance measures or walkability scores to move in the direction of complete streets and sustainable communities.

Thanks to Andy Getch and the Lee County Complete Streets team for taking the time to share their experiences with complete streets implementation and engaging the larger community in the discussions about how to work together across all the county jurisdictions, agencies, professional and community organizations to move forward.
By Darla Letourneau

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