Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Partnership Aims to Increase Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety in Tice Community, Lee County

 BikeWalkLee is one of the partners in this Lee County 2-day walking audit workshop in the Tice Community, and the larger Lee County/FDOT bike/ped safety campaign being launched next week.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2013             

Media Contacts:
Tessa LeSage                                                               Debbie Tower
Sustainability Programs Manager                             Communications Director
Lee County Office of Sustainability                           Florida Department of Transportation
(239) 533-2240                                                           (239) 461-4300

LEE COUNTY, FL (May 1, 2013) - Tice residents and children from Tice Elementary School will walk their neighborhoods Thursday, May 9, and tell county officials and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) representatives what they think it will take to make walking and biking to school safer.
The community walk – called a Walking Audit – and a design workshop will happen 8 a.m. to noon, with children walking from 9:30 to 10 a.m.  Residents along with Lee County and City of Fort Myers leaders and staff and are invited to participate. A press conference – called Travel SafeLee – will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Tice Elementary School.
A Walking Audit is an assessment of what access exists to both cyclists and pedestrians that’s put together by stakeholders who literally walk the streets to do their research. 

The event is part of a larger two-day U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant-funded event administered through Project for Public Spaces to improve community engagement and livability. On Wednesday, May 8, and Thursday, May 9, residents of the Tice Historic Community will engage in Spanish and English Walking Audits and design exercises to complete a community wide Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan. The plan will help identify funding priorities to supplement the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. 

Convening in Tice for the two-day session is a team of multi-lingual community-building experts from the Local Government Commission, a nonprofit organization that works with local and regional leaders to create more livable, healthy, prosperous, and resource-efficient communities. 
FDOT is partnering with Lee County and the Project for Public Spaces team to simultaneously launch the “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow – Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident!” campaign for Lee County in Tice. 

The state initiative and what it can accomplish is critical, said FDOT District Secretary Billy Hattaway. 

“Florida has too many fatalities among bicyclists and pedestrians, and Lee County is one of the 10 worst counties in the state,” Hattaway said. “In the Tice community along Palm Beach Boulevard, in particular, over time we’ve seen high numbers of bike/ped crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities.  We’re taking steps forward with our bike/ped partners in Lee County to identify potential treatments and educate people in the community. We need to change their behavior with the goal to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.” 

The campaign emphasizes four important behaviors for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers on our roadways:

  •    always use the crosswalk,
  •   look before crossing, 
  •   stop before turning right on red,
  •   yield to pedestrians.

Learning the rules and making sure to follow them every time will help reduce fatalities and injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, Hattaway said. 

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Southwest Florida Center for Public & Social Policy partnered with Lee County, the Tice Historic Community and BikeWalkLee to apply for the U.S. EPA’s “Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities” Technical Assistance Grant in 2012. The community was awarded one of only nine grants nationally in 2013.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Lee County,” said Tessa LeSage, Lee County Sustainability Programs Manager. “We will work with national experts to learn best practices aimed at increasing community engagement and facilitating design workshops that will apply as we implement our Complete Streets resolution in Tice and throughout Lee County.”
Event Information:
Community Walk & Design Workshop
Tice Elementary School Media Center
4524 Tice St., Fort Myers, FL 33916
Thursday, May 9, 2013
8 a.m. – noon

Press Conference
Tice Elementary School main entrance
4524 Tice St., Fort Myers, FL 33916
Thursday, May 9, 2013
10:30 a.m.

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