Monday, April 8, 2013

U.S. DOT's Bicycle Safety Summit spotlights Lee County’s Complete Streets program on April 11 in Tampa

 BikeWalkLee is excited that Lee County was asked to speak at Thursday's USDOT regional summit on bicycle safety hosted by Secretary LaHood.  Lee County's Tessa LeSage will be representing the County and talking about our complete streets program.  Several from BikeWalkLee will be in attendance and we'll report back what we learned.

April 8, 2013

Contact:   Darla Letourneau, (239) 850-3219,
U.S. DOT's Bicycle Safety Summit spotlights

Lee County’s Complete Streets program on April 11 in Tampa

Bicyclist/pedestrian safety takes center stage in Lee County in April and May

Fort Myers --- Lee County is one of Florida’s communities invited to share its experiences with complete streets as a way to make roadways safe for all users at the Southeast Regional Bicycle Safety Summit in Tampa on Thursday, April 11.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, along with other U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials, is hosting the event in partnership with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Tessa LeSage, Lee County's Sustainability Director and co-leader of the county's complete streets team, will speak during a panel discussion.  Several representatives from BikeWalkLee also will attend.

The Bicycle Safety Summit brings together federal, state and local officials, planners, designers, engineers, law enforcement personnel, safety experts and others throughout the bicycle community to identify innovative ideas for improving bicycle safety in local communities.

"It's a feather in Lee County's cap to be invited to speak at this regional safety summit held by Secretary LaHood,” said Lee Board of County Commissioners Chairman Cecil Pendergrass.  “Implementing the county’s complete streets program is leading us down the right road, but there’s more to do.  With the high fatality rates for pedestrians and cyclists in Lee County, it's critical we focus on making our roadways safer for everyone."

Florida Department of Transportation District Secretary Billy Hattaway echoed Commissioner Pendergrass’s praise.  “Congratulations to Lee County.  I'm pleased the county's great work on complete streets over the past four years will be highlighted at this summit.  Tessa’s discussion will help inform other Florida communities just starting their journey.
“FDOT is committed to reducing fatalities involving bicyclists and pedestrians in Florida,” said Secretary Hattaway.  “We have important work to do in Lee County and the other nine focus counties across Florida.  Transportation engineers and planners, law enforcement, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – are all part of the solution.  If all of us are in it together, we can make a difference.”

FDOT’s “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow!  Safety doesn’t happen by accident!” campaign kicks off locally in Fort Myers next month.  Safety messages will emphasize things motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians always should do to keep themselves and others safe as they share streets traveling in the area’s communities.

“Making our roadways safer for all users is the priority,” said BikeWalkLee’s Darla Letourneau.  “Our participation in Secretary LaHood’s summit in Tampa is the perfect springboard for Lee County’s events in May."  On May 8 and 9, the County and Tice Historic Community, along with other partners, are conducting bilingual walking audits of the Tice neighborhood.  FDOT's "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow!" press conference (to be held at the Russell Park Community Center) follows immediately midday on May 9th. On the evening of May 15th, a "Ride of Silence" will take place in downtown Fort Myers, part of an annual international event to honor fallen cyclists and promote road safety.  And, a fun family event called “Safe Kids Day” with a cookout, games, and education booths is May 18 at Gulf Coast Town Center.
ABOUT BIKEWALKLEE: BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. For more information, visit, the BikeWalkLee blog at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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