March 28, 2012
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
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.
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 www.cityftmyers.com you’ll find details and be able to make comments and suggestions.
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 www.facebook.com/
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 (http://www.lungusa.org/pledgeevents/
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.
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:// bikewalklee.blogspot.com/) 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
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦