Friday, June 28, 2013

In just six months, all Cape Coral Bike-Ped routes are named

Kudos to Cape Coral Bike-Ped on getting commitments from businesses and others in less than six months to raise the funds for signing the 90-miles of cycling routes in Cape Coral!

Cape Coral, FL. (June 24, 2013) – The community has come together to begin to create a system of over 90 miles of interconnected cycling routes within Cape Coral.  

Raising the funds to bring this dream to fruition was a daunting task but now, residents, business owners and professionals are making this important project a reality.

Physicians’ Primary Care Route is the 30 mile section of the route that will circle Northern Cape Coral. Physicians’ Primary Care has committed to raising the funds necessary for completion of this route. As Dr. Mary Yankaskas notes, “this project fits with our mission of promoting health and well-being in the communities we serve.” Rotary Club of Cape Coral North was one of the first major donors to step up to commit $5000 toward this route. 

The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce has already raised the funds to mark the Chamber route with distinctive signage. Special thanks to Cindy Gallagher, Beverly Black and Diane Everhart for spearheading this effort.

The Team Aubuchon Route has funded the four mile route in Southwest Cape Coral.  Gary Aubuchon, a member of Cape Coral Bike-Ped Committee and Owner & President of Team Aubuchon, has also been instrumental in bringing the community together behind this effort. 

The Cape Coral Community Foundation Route: As Beth Sanger, Director of the Cape Coral Community Foundation notes “this project fits our mission to support the public well-being and to improve the quality of life in the greater Cape Coral community. This project will improve the quality of life in our community, increase its economic vitality and bring more tourists to our city.”

The City of Cape Coral Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring the Yacht Club Spur. Steve Pohlman, Director of the Parks & Recreation Department and Steve Neff, Director of Public Works have been the primary liaisons from the City to this volunteer project.  As Steve Pohlman notes, “more cyclist, walkers and runners will hopefully visit the many parks which are along these Bike-Ped routes.”

The CCCIA Route:  The Board of the CCCIA (Cape Coral Construction Industry Association) unanimously approved sponsoring a section of the route early on in the planning.  Anthony Greco, Jr., President of the CCCIA, notes “the CCCIA is committed to improving our community and this project fits within those parameters.  The markings and continuity of these paths are essential to the safety and enjoyment of our citizens and visitors.” For more information, contact Maureen “Moe” Beneke at”

Veteran’s Route: The City of Cape Coral Public Works Department is in negotiations with Lee County Department of Transportation concerning marking this route which goes from Lee County pathways onto City of Cape Coral share roads with the distinctive route signage.  Cape Coral Bike-Ped is asking the county to provide this signage as an in-kind contribution. Hopefully, Lee DOT will place these signs on the county pathways and the City will place the signs on city share roads that are part of interconnecting these Veterans’ routes.

In less than 6 months, the community rallied behind this effort with various businesses, club & civic organizations agreeing to raise funds to sponsor particular routes which will be renamed for their organizations.   While no work can commence until all of the funds are raised for a particular routes, the Chamber Route and the Team Aubuchon Route are completely funded, so the City will begin the engineering work and placement of signage needed to create these routes within the next few months.

The ultimate goal is for Cape Coral to become a premier cycling destination.  Help these groups to raise funds to make this vision a reality!  There is pride in our community coming together to create cycling routes that can increase tourism in our community and improve the quality of life for many of its citizens including that of our children.  

You can also send your tax-deductible contribution in any amount.  Go to to donate on line or send your check made out to “Cape Coral Bike Ped” to:
Carolyn Conant - Cape Coral Bike-Ped
2616 SW 51st Street, Cape Coral, FL. 33914

If you have any questions, you can call (239) 851-9737 or email us at

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Update: You can order a BikeWalkLee biking jersey until July 10th

Cycling buddies, Kelly and Darla, in new BWL biking jerseys
Update--Primal has just extended the Team Store dates until July 10th, so if you hadn't ordered a jersey, now's your chance!

In an earlier blog, we gave you a heads up on an opportunity to order the new BikeWalkLee biking jerseys. The team store set up by Primal Wear will now be open for three weeks (June 19th-July 10th), so now is the time to place your orders!

See the instructions and info below, and the Team Name is BikeWalkLee.  Don't miss this one-time opportunity!  Note that the shirts have to be produced after the orders are in, so shirts won't arrive until September...just in time for cooler riding weather.

The shirts cost $70, plus a $10 shipping fee.  In terms of sizes, they are essentially all men sizes (but a great fit for women), so the medium worked well for both Kelly and I (see above).  For the guys, if you're trying to decide between a large and x-large, I'd go with x-large (several guys on our team ordered large and they're a bit too small).

Order Instructions:
Your team has elected to utilize the team store feature on Primal Custom Pro to place your custom apparel order. The team store allows you to login and place an order for the team apparel you would like to receive and pay for your order individually with a personal credit card. To login and place an order, please follow the link below to create an account.
Create an account at Primal Custom Pro

If you already have an account with Primal Custom Pro, no need to create another. Follow this link to login.
Log into Primal Custom Pro
Please note that all custom team store products are PREORDERS. All orders will be put into production once the store closes and will be delivered approximately 10-12 weeks after. You must place your order before the store closes. Your team store will close on: July 10th 2013. If you have any questions please contact your Team Manager or customer service at 800-275-6953.

Thank you!
The Primal Custom Team

Here's BWL's Ann Pierce wearing her shirt BACKWARDS on the Tour de Parks 5/18 ride!

BWL Column: Enjoy excursion bike-friendly Sanibel

News-Press "Go Coastal" Section 6/27/13
BikeWalkLee Column

For years, Sanibel has been the gold standard for bike-friendly communities in Southwest Florida — or, more correctly, the bronze standard, since that’s the distinction the town earned in the Bike Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists.
With an extensive system of interconnected shared-use paths and the most bike-friendly folks around, the island offers plenty of riding options — plus, in season, bicyclists can often make better time traversing the island’s main drag thanks to the tourist-clogged roadways. 
Off-island locals can either ride out to the island via the Sanibel Causeway, rent a bike from an island outlet or park and bike from a number of starting points. If you take the Causeway, you’ll be on the spacious (by local standards) shoulder along McGregor Boulevard from Shell Point Village on, and your legs will get a good workout climbing over the high bridge, a rarity in elevation-challenged Southwest Florida. 
Bringing your bike? Parking options include: all the public beaches (for a fee); some parking at two small city parks on Periwinkle Way (Roadside Park and Sanibel Community Park); at Bailey’s General Store (corner of Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay Road); at the Wildlife Refuge and the Sanibel School (both on San-Cap Road). Some require payment and may have other rules for use, so check the signs. 
If you don’t own a bike, not to worry ... there are two major bike rental companies on Sanibel that rent a wide range of bikes for all ages and skill levels. Both are located on Periwinkle Way: Billy’s Rentals ( and Finnimore’s Cycle Shop (

The island measures 13 miles (as the bike rides) from the Lighthouse to Blind Pass, with some 23 miles total of pathways. You have two main options for riding — the commercial corridor of Periwinkle Way or the more residential Gulf Drive, a circuitous route that winds from East to Middle to West Gulf Drives. The two connect at numerous points — Rabbit Road, Tarpon Bay Road, Casa Ybel Road, Donax Road and Lundgren Boulevard — so it’s easy to create a loop that’s as long as you want.

Heading toward Blind Pass, one favorite side trip is unavailable this summer, as Wildlife Drive through the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is closed for repairs. The ride to the pass is still worth the trip, and you can continue on to Captiva (riding the shoulders) if you’re willing to share the road with slower (25 mph) traffic for the 3.5-mile ride.

A few tips:
• Be sure to visit the Path Welcome Center (established through a public-private partnership spearheaded by the Sanibel Bicycle Club), along the Periwinkle path between Lundgren and Donax. It’s a good way to get oriented to the path system and to learn a little about Sanibel’s history and natural environment.
• This is a shared-use path, meaning it includes walkers, runners and bikers of all skill sets — so it can be crowded at times and requires a sharp eye due to a variety of forward speeds. Those who prefer a higher gear can opt to ride in the roadway, but there’s not much room so be ready to share the road.
• If you’re looking for places to eat or drink along your ride, Periwinkle has the best options. Some of the other routes — particularly the Gulf Drives and San-Cap Road — have a scarcity of shops, so plan accordingly.
 It’s Southwest Florida, so bring water and stay hydrated.
• Finally, summer on the islands means mosquitoes — something those who live on the mainland can easily forget. While Mosquito Control does a good job at controlling the pests, those who find themselves popular with the winged bloodsuckers might want to pack some repellent.

More information
Plan your ride: Download a user-friendly (and nicely illustrated) Sanibel path map at and 
 Looking for parks? Go here for a map of all Sanibel parks, beaches and public parking facilities: City of Sanibel website. 

— BikeWalkLee is a community coalition advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moser Column: Biking boneheads give us all a bad rap

This week's Moser column focuses on the cyclists who are behaving in illegal and dangerous manner, giving all cyclists a bad rap.
Dan Moser
Florida Weekly, June 26, 2013
by Dan Moser

We watched with a mixture of horror and amazement as the spandex-clad cyclist on a high-end bike maneuvered around us, zipped into the intersection of U.S. 41 and Six Mile Cypress / Gladiolus, then somehow dodged the thick Saturday afternoon traffic to make his way across the highway in a manner that was as illegal and dangerous as it gets. More than a dozen of us who were taking part in a Tour de Parks guided ride were gathered near the intersection, being sure to keep the way clear for others as we waited for the signal to indicate it was safe to proceed, when this rogue cyclist provided us with the perfect example of why bicyclists are often looked at with disdain by motorists.

As we got back to Lakes Park, we witnessed this same middle-aged wannabe racer speeding around the park, terrorizing pedestrians and families riding their bikes on the pathways as well as startling unsuspecting motorists on the parks’ roadways as he got his training miles in. We could only shake our heads and hope he’d be stopped by a park ranger or other law enforcement officer before he injured someone or ended up as a statistic himself. But other damage was already done.

Assuming they’re maintained properly, bridges should accommodate bikes. Assuming they’re maintained properly, bridges should accommodate bikes. To cyclists like this one, traffic at signals and stop signs are just suggestions. Courtesy toward others is a concept foreign to them since that might slow them down (they are, after all, in training, so the world revolves around them). On the other end of the spectrum are the clueless bicyclists who only want to get from here to there but routinely do so without any apparent understanding of traffic law or common sense principles.

Those who engage in these behaviors know who they are, yet, even the ones who are also motorists don’t acknowledge the hypocrisy or sociopathic nature of their behavior. The price they may pay for blatantly and consistently breaking all the rules of the road and pathway is their own well-being. Unfortunately, the cost to all cyclists is the perception among many motorists that we don’t belong on our roads, and among pedestrians, that we don’t belong on the sidewalks and paths. In other words, the boneheaded actions of some convince many that bicyclists have proven they can’t behave and that they don’t deserve access to our roads and sidepaths.

Decades of working in the bicycle/ pedestrian world have convinced me that there’s some hope, as evidenced by the fact that not all parts of the world have nearly as many boneheads as here. Perhaps, as our overall bike/ped environment improves in our community, fewer cyclists will choose to make us all look bad.

Upcoming events
It’s hot, hot, hot, but running across the Cape Coral Bridge for the Freedom 5K on Thursday, July 4, will make those holiday beverages taste that much better ( A few days later, on Saturday, July 6, the Peace River Riders holds its annual Wheels & Wings Ride ( in Punta Gorda. And later in the summer the Galloway Captiva Triathlon ( takes place on the weekend of Sept. 14-15. There’s already a wait list for some divisions, so register ASAP.

Advocacy update
An update for anyone hoping they’d see the day when cycling across the westbound span of the Cape Coral Bridge would be anything less than a death-defying ride: Lee County DOT recently stated in an article about our country’s aging bridges and other infrastructure that we may finally see reasonable accommodation for those using the span on their bikes, but not until 2027. Yikes! After having just missed an opportunity to make things right for cyclists as part of the one-way tolling project, that wait time seems a bit excessive, to say the least. But Lee County DOT can still create a space for cyclists on the existing span — and at a reasonable cost — if the agency just had the political will. Check BikeWalkLee’s blog for more on that matter and many others affecting you at bikewalklee.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicy cle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

City of Sanibel releases updated shared use path incident report

Kudos to the City of Sanibel for issuing a report to the City Council and to the public analyzing the crashes that have occurred on the path system and trends over the past 8 years.  Almost half of the incidents are a result of someone falling off of a bike with no vehicle involvement.


News Release – For Immediate Release
June 19, 2013
City of Sanibel, FL
Contact: City Manager’s Office (239) 472-3700

Today the City of Sanibel issued an updated study analyzing all incidents on Sanibel’s Shared Use Paths. This is the second year the City has issued a report analyzing all reported incidents that occurred on the community’s Shared Use Path system.

Data from 2006 to June 14, 2013 is analyzed in the report. Trends analyzed include cause of and type of incident, location of incident, ages of involved parties, residency of involved parties, injuries, date of reported incident and time of reported incident.

“In light of the thousands of daily users of our path system, the paths are an extremely safe manner of transportation on the island,” stated Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra when releasing this report. “However this data, particularly trends, is critical in planning our future capital improvements as well as for education and enforcement purposes.”

Sanibel City Council will officially receive the report at their July 16, 2013 meeting. All Path users are urged to view the City’s video on Bike Safety. The Video is available on the City’s Home Page or by clicking here . A copy of the report can be viewed here .

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Join the new Lee County "Town Hall" conversation on the College Parkway Corridor Study

Why do we need to do this?

 The County's Town Hall website has a new topic:  College Parkway Corridor Study

Do you think redevelopment of this corridor is important?

Why Do We Need To Do This?

The College Parkway Corridor is largely used for moving people by car between Cape Coral and Fort Myers. This segment of the corridor is often passed through on the way to somewhere else, resulting in loss of patronage to area businesses. Moving around in the corridor by foot or bicycle is often a scary experience, reducing the desire to use alternative forms of transportation. As a result of the character of this roadway, businesses are declining. The redevelopment effort is a way for the community to consider alternative ways to attract businesses and keep the economy going.
More Info:
College Parkway Corridor Study Area Map
College Parkway Redevelopment Group Facebook Page
Click here to join the conversation and share your ideas!

BikeWalkLee's letter to BoCC on proposed transit and park budget cuts

 As highlighted in a previous blog post, at the Board of County Commissioners' June 24th budget workshop, they will discuss proposals to cut transit and park services in next year's budget. The Board is also considering the transportation Capital Improvement Projects budget (see our earlier recommendations).  Below is our letter to the Board.

June 18, 2013
Dear Commissioners:

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets and a balanced multi-modal transportation system in Lee County.  At the June 24th budget workshop, you will discuss the draft 2013-14 budget, including proposals to cut transit and park services.

Budgets are a statement of the community's priorities and it is important that our elected officials make decisions that reflect the community's values. The budget needs to be developed in a rational and thoughtful way, with a focus on the long term consequences of today's budget decisions.   It is critical that these decisions reflect the quality of life investments that are vital to the sustainability and economic viability of our community.

For the past six years,  the county's budget has been tightened, staffing has been reduced, staff hasn't received any raises, and services have been cut back.  The BoCC has chosen not to raise property taxes, preferring to balance the budget by taking from reserves.  BikeWalkLee acknowledges that at some point the Board may have to raise additional revenues and we would support that effort in order to maintain the quality of life for our residents and visitors.  Our long term economic viability depends on maintaining and enhancing the quality of life that attracts and retains our residents.
Click here to continue reading BWL's letter, which focuses on the following proposals:
1.  Proposed Transit Cuts   
2.  Proposed Parks Cuts
3.  Proposed Transportation CIP

  We believe that economic prosperity comes from quality investments in community infrastructure, such as transit, parks, and complete streets.

Monday's budget workshop has no opportunity for public comment but the public can be present in the County Commission chambers, or watch it on the Lee County website or on Lee TV (Channel 97) on June 24th, 1:30-4:00 p.m.  Public hearings on the budget will be held in September.

For BikeWalkLee's memo to BoCC on the CIP, click here.
For News-Press 6/18/13 article on the Alico Rd. widening debate, click here. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Letourneau Commentary on County Manager Selection Process

Below is a commentary published (6/18/13) in News-Press by Darla Letourneau, one of the steering group members of BikeWalkLee, expressing disappointment in the way the News-Press has reported on the county manager selection process.  Here's a link to our earlier blog post thanking BoCC for selecting Joyce Wilson.

Although we don't know Joyce Wilson personally, as part of BikeWalkLee's in-depth involvement in the county's planning processes over the past 4 years, we've been identifying other communities that are leaders in the fields of transportation and land use planning, complete streets, sustainability, economic development, innovative public involvement, and transformative leadership.  We've been sharing these best practices with Lee County staff and various advisory committees as the county considers lessons learned from other communities as it implements its complete streets policies and the County's first major rewrite of the comprehensive plan in 28 years.

Two of the communities with model plans and best practices that we've used as benchmarks have been El Paso, TX and Arlington, VA--both communities where Joyce Wilson was either the county manager (El Paso) or deputy county manager (Arlington), so we were familiar with what she had accomplished in those communities.  Having been part of the Lee County community effort over these past four years to move in new directions, we have a good sense of the leadership, skills set, and experiences that are needed to lead transformative change in Lee County at this critical point in time, and Joyce Wilson has demonstrated her ability to meet these challenges.

BikeWalkLee is looking forward to Joyce Wilson's arrival as Lee County's new County Manager.

 News-Press June 18, 2013

Wilson best county manager pick, so stop being unfair to her

 By Darla Letourneau

On May 26, News-Press President and Publisher Mei-Mei Chan wrote an excellent commentary entitled “At a time when we need leaders, here is a road map.” I, and others in the community, were pleased to see this community concern be articulated so well. The commentary clearly identified that we have significant leadership voids in our community just when we’re at a critical juncture in Lee County.

The leaders we select in the next few months and years will determine whether or not we can take advantage of the opportunities that have landed on our doorstep (e.g., Hertz headquarters and FGCU’s high-flying Eagles) at a time that our economy is starting to recover.

That leader is exemplified in Joyce Wilson, a candidate of the caliber and proven leadership experience that can help lead us into the future. That she applied for the Lee County manager job and has been selected unanimously by the Lee County commissioners to be the county manager demonstrates a broad recognition of Ms. Chan’s call for leadership.

Unfortunately, The News-Press has done a disservice to the community by not reporting on her many accomplishments and what she brings to Lee County.

Any city/county official who has been in a leadership position, especially those who have been successful in bringing change to their communities, will generate controversy. The job of the media is to look beyond the easy news of budding controversies to really understand what a leader has accomplished and to talk to community members who have been involved.

Instead, both the news and editorial staff have taken the easy way out: simply repeating the “dirt” they could find on the Web and providing no reporting on Joyce Wilson’s accomplishments. Wilson’s interview with Lee County Board of County Commissioners was very informative and clearly demonstrated her experience and top ranking for the job. Why not follow up on the points she made in that interview? Unfortunately, the article written about the interview didn’t report on what she had to say or provide a link to her full interview.

Our community is hungry to learn about Wilson and what she brings to Lee County. We expect the media to do their homework and interview players in El Paso, do some research, and share that with the readers. It should be a balanced picture. This is not the moment for The News-Press to play the gotcha game and to ignore the need to inform the public about this excellent prospective county manager.

As the Chan commentary states, we have a leadership vacuum and we desperately need to hire great leaders to take us to the next level. The News-Press needs to assist the community in making this happen by fair and balanced reporting.

Darla Letourneau is a resident of Sanibel.