Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Moser column: Vulnerable road users put at risk on our Streets of Shame

This week's Moser column is the beginning of a series that will shine spotlight on worst streets for pedestrians and cyclists in Lee County, with first focus on Hanson Street in central Fort Myers.

Vulnerable road users put at risk on our Streets of Shame

Florida weekly sept 18, 2013

It’s no secret that far too many of our streets, roads and highways lack adequate accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. Sometimes there’s minimal motor vehicle traffic volume and low speeds so it’s not necessarily a problem, especially on local residential streets. But a significant number have just the opposite dynamics yet are frequented by vulnerable users who have no choice but to put themselves at risk on a regular basis. In fact, some are so bad that these public ways should be considered “Streets of Shame.” So, beginning with this column, I’m going to identify the most egregious examples in the hope the controlling municipalities do what’s necessary to make them safe and accessible for all users.

The first Street of Shame is most of Hanson Street between U.S. 41 and Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in central Fort Myers. This is a prime example of government failing its residents. For a number of reasons, it’s a head scratcher as to why it’s been neglected for so long, but particularly because Hanson Street is identified as a primary east-west bicycle/ pedestrian corridor, as defined in the city of Fort Myers bike/ped master plan, which was approved in 2007. It takes only one visit to the street to see that the need is real and immediate.

Hanson near Broadway
Hanson near Broadway
Also troubling is that rather than focusingf on this existing critical need, the cityc ds is instead spending money to plan, design and eventually build an extension of Hanson Street from its current easterne terminus at Veronica Shoemaker BoulevardB that will primarily serve the purpose of opening up more currently inaccessible property to development.

Considering that a public school is located along Hanson Street, that the average income in the adjacent neighborhoods is well below average (which means lower automobile ownership rates, thus more foot, bicycle and transit trips), and that it’s a busy street with commercial, light industrial and residential development along and around it, the city should have taken care of this Street of Shame many years ago. It should do so immediately before spending any more money to extend it.

Saying farewell to a champion

Dean Davis, who was killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle near his North Carolina home on Sept. 6, was an accomplished athlete who made his mark in Southwest Florida as well as other parts of the country. Dean was well known among our triathlon, running and cycling communities, splitting his time between here and North Carolina. When news of his death spread, comments I heard from many of his friends and acquaintances all had the same theme: Dean loved to train, compete, have fun and tell great stories. Whether on the road or mountain bike trails, he spent many hours in the saddle, maintaining a high level of fitness that allowed him to compete and win his age group in triathlons from Naples to Budapest, Hungary, including two Ironman Triathlons. We will all miss Dean, who lived life to the fullest and served as an example to many, but who was taken away too soon, even at the age of 84. What’s so sad is that Dean’s death was completely preventable: the motorist who killed Dean claims she didn’t see him, but may have been distracted by her cell phone when she failed to avoid colliding with him (law enforcement has filed misdemeanor charges, but continue to investigate possible cell phone distraction as a contributing factor).

Advocacy update

By now readers of this column likely know that Lee County was awarded $10.7 million to improve our bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure. Winning the federal TIGER grant was no easy task, nor will implementing it be, unless the various governments involved (it’s a multijurisdictional effort) work together and do their parts. When they do, residents and visitors will benefit greatly in terms of both safety and access. In the meantime, Lee County is considering major cutbacks to LeeTran’s operating hours and frequency, a decision that would be wrong for so many reasons, including its tie-in with the aforementioned TIGER grant. Check BikeWalkLee’s blog at bikewalklee. blogspot.comfor more on both matters.

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 or334- 6417.

Upcoming Events


Cops & Joggers 5K, Saturday, Sept. 28,
downtown Fort Myers (
Lexington Cares 5K, Saturday, Oct. 5,
South Fort Myers (
Sanibel 10K, Saturday, Oct. 19, Sanibel
Community House (

Cycling & Other Events:

Share the Road Celebration of Cycling,
Friday-SundayOct. 25-27, DeLand, Fla.
Streets Alive!, Sunday, Nov. 10, downtown
Fort Myers River District (
Turkey Leg Century Ride*, Sunday, Nov. 29,
Publix, Six Mile Cypress at Daniels Parkway
( (*A self-supported ride)

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