Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Putting alternative transportation options on exhibit and into practice

March 28, 2012
One truism I relate to any audience I have the opportunity to reach is that, when one thinks about it, we all must deal with traffic of one form or another and in one way or another pretty much all of our lives, beginning the day we leave the hospital maternity ward. By traffic, I mean everything from the most basic form — walking — to cycling, driving, being driven or otherwise transported from point A to point B. So this aspect of our lives is something everyone is familiar with, although with many different perspectives and experiences. Commuter Services (, a program that promotes and facilitates alternatives to single occupant vehicle driving to work is the force behind an exhibition at Northwest Cape Regional Library that features transportation options available to Southwest Floridians. The library is located at 915 Chiquita Blvd., Cape Coral, next to Mariner High School.

Another interesting event took place last week at Harborside. The city of Fort Myers kicked off its Downtown Mobility Study with a public meeting to introduce the project and begin taking input. One of the best community planners in Florida (who also happens to be based in Fort Myers), Bill Spikowski, is on the team leading the study, so I have high hopes that the final product will be a well done and practicable tool. After the study phase is complete, the trick, of course, is to find the money to implement it and to stay on course (some readers might recall how politics and influence got us sidetracked to some degree from the prior downtown plan, although much of it has been followed as approved). If you go to you’ll find details and be able to make comments and suggestions.

Upcoming events
Related to the transportation exhibition is “Taking it to the Streets,” a regional campaign spanning all of FDOT District 1 (12 counties) that encourages, through incentives and tips to make it easy to do so, alternatives to single-passenger driving for commuting to work or school, as well as other trips. Doing so can save money, help the environment and offer health dividends, among other benefits. Your transit, car/van-pooling, cycling, telecommuting and walking trips can be submitted to TakingittotheStreetsSWF. By doing so, you’ll become eligible for prizes and other incentives being offered by Commuter Services.

Finally, don’t forget to register to take part in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb on Saturday, April 28, at High Point Place in downtown Fort Myers ( fl/fort-myers-climb-fy12/). Training opportunities at High Point on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings are open to anyone registered for this unique event.

Advocacy update
A number of issues may be of interest at this time to anyone who would like to run, walk and cycle in a safe and inviting environment. BikeWalkLee’s blog: http:// has details. But one matter stands out: the death toll on our roads continues to mount, with a 50 percent increase in traffic fatalities over this time last year. And many of the dead and injured are pedestrians and cyclists. There remains serious concern among those who work professionally in the field of bike/ped/traffic safety about road users’ behavior that leads to these tragic crashes and the consequences faced by those involved.

From my perspective, and one I’ve related in a recent column, motorists are all too often exonerated if the vulnerable road user victim (pedestrian or cyclist) was in any way, shape or form doing something he or she shouldn’t have been. So, until the attitude and practices of certain investigating law enforcement agencies changes from “blame the victim” to determining if one or both parties were at fault to some degree, be aware that just by being in the road but not in a motor vehicle means you’ve got strikes against you should something happen, even if the driver involved had a legal obligation to avoid the crash.

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

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