At the August 17th Lee MPO Board meeting, the Board unanimously approved the scope of services for the Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The scope had been developed by MPO staff and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinating Committee, and also recommended by the TAC and CAC committees. This Action Plan is being done to help reduce bicycle and pedestrian injury and fatality crashes through a wide range of recommended activities that will be identified as part of this project.
At Friday's meeting, Steve Chupack, representing BikeWalkLee, spoke in support of the development of this plan.
As Steve Chupack stated, one of the reasons that BikeWalkLee is committed to complete streets for Lee County is because we know that complete streets are safer streets. We have a problem here in Florida-- the most dangerous state in the country for both pedestrians and cyclists; and Lee County's numbers are no better than the state average, meaning it's all too dangerous here for walkers and cyclists. Improving the safety of our roadways for all users is important to providing transportation choices for our citizens.
BikeWalklee believes that the efforts to improve safety in our community will require the involvement of a broad array of stakeholders and tools. We need better data so that factual analysis can drive the search for solutions. We need more education of all road users about the rules of the road and their responsibilities. We need better enforcement of the laws protecting pedestrians and cyclists. And we need improvements in roadway designs to help create solutions.
· The MPO's bike/ped master plan adopted in May 2011 called for the establishment of a bike/ped safety program and the development of this Action Plan is the first step in this process.
BikeWalkLee looks forward to participating in the development of this Action Plan and working to ensure the implementation of the Plan when it's adopted in the Fall of 2013. We need to make safety improvements a top priority in our funding processes, and keep our eyes on the goal of this effort --to greatly reduce the incidence of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and serious injuries in our community.
At Friday's MPO meeting, BikeWalklee's representative urged all the jurisdictions and agencies that have a role in bike/ped safety to actively participate in the development of this important Action Plan.