Thursday, December 20, 2012

BWL Column: What should Lee County's road system look like?

 This week's BikeWalkLee column focuses on Lee County's update of its transportation policies currently underway as part of the Horizon 2035 effort, and invites the public to participate in the conversation through the County's online "Town Hall" tool.

12/20/12 (Go Coastal Section)  By BikeWalkLee
 Lee County looks the way it does partly because of transportation and land-use policies adopted 25 years ago in the county’s Lee Plan, a state-required comprehensive plan that lays out how growth will occur.If official predictions are correct, by 2035 Lee County's population will be more than 1 million — up from the current 631,000. Decisions that the Lee County Commissioners make in the next several months will set the county’s transportation and development course for the next 25 years.

McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers is one kind of design of a major Lee County roadway.
McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers is one kind of design of a major Lee County roadway.
A community’s transportation system can be either an asset or a liability. It can offer economic opportunity by moving residents from home to work or recreation and shopping. But it can also isolate neighborhoods, exacerbate congestion, degrade public health and jeopardize public safety.
Across the country, communities are coming to understand that a thriving, equitable economy requires jobs, services and housing connected by a robust, multi-modal transportation system.

US 41 in Fort Myers (looking north towards Colonial bridge)
US 41 in Fort Myers (looking north towards Colonial bridge) 
 Last year, as part of a community effort, the Lee County 2035 vision statement was adopted:
“Lee County will be a highly desirable place to live, work, and visit — recognized for its commitment to a sustainable future characterized by a healthy economy, environment, and community. Because of its commitment, Lee County will be a community of choice — valued for its quality of life; varied natural environment; unique sense of history and place; distinct urban, suburban, and rural communities; diverse economy and workforce; and varied travel options.”
Now, it’s time to implement this vision of a livable Lee. County staff is working on the important set of transportation policies that will become a part of the revised Lee Plan — and the time for public input is now.
Lee County has made it easy for you to participate in a new town hall virtual public forum at The proposed transportation element is posted for public input. Registration is free and it is easy to share your own ideas and support those you like. Lee County decision-makers will be listening.

You can comment directly on proposed policies, or you can present your opinions on important questions:

• Everyone agrees that roadway safety is important; do you think that enough priority is being given to the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists?
  Would you like to see more emphasis on public transit, walking and bicycling?• Do you think speeding is a problem on Lee County's neighborhood streets?
• Should Lee County keep building flyover overpasses like the ones along Summerlin at the intersections of College Parkway and Gladiolus?

It's up to you to become part of this community conversation to help shape the county’s transportation network of the future. Visit www.bikewalklee. org for more information, including BikeWalkLee’s comments on the draft transportation element.

How to Take Part in the Forum

What: invites residents to share opinions and ideas on proposed projects. Participate in the New Horizon 2035 campaign, which is currently inviting comments on transportation policies.
How: look on the left hand column where it says “Sign up Now!” and click to sign-up. It's free.
Once you've signed up, you can click on “Walking, Riding & Rolling: Transportation Element.” Then click on the box that says “vote on this topic.” Review the information. Click the box at the bottom that says “What would you add to the conversation” and insert your comments. The click “submit your vote.”

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