This week's Moser column highlights the upcoming runs and rides around the county; while his advocacy corner focuses on another "street of shame"--Luckett Road.
Get a (turkey) leg up and preemptively burn off some of the excess calories that will undoubtedly be consumed on Thanksgiving Day by running in the wildly popular Turkey Trot 5K from Cape Coral Hospital before the day’s overindulgence begins. After the damage is done, ride the 100 mile Turkey Leg Century with the Caloosa Riders on Friday, Nov. 29. Visit www.caloosariders.org.
Then, about a week later, on Saturday, Dec. 7, cross the Caloosahatchee River twice on two different bridges by participating in the 35th annual City of Palms River Run 10K, a race that also serves as a Florida Senior Games State Qualifier 10K. This is one of our community’s most established races, having been first run in 1978. The ambiance at the staging area in Centennial Park is as good as it gets, as is the satisfaction of completing this classic run. For those a bit less ambitious, there’s a 2-mile walk as well.
The very next Saturday, Dec. 14, the Rotary 5K takes place in Cape Coral’s Rotary Park. This one serves as both Florida’s Sunshine State Games and Florida Senior Games State Championship for this distance. Details and registration for all three running events can be found at www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.
Slipped into the middle of all these is an event that’s becoming a classic of another kind: Everyone Rides /Everyone Runs being staged at JetBlue Park. Beginning on Saturday, Dec. 7, VIPs who donate or raise additional funds for Boys and Girls Club can accompany the professional cyclists who make this one-of-a-kind in Southwest Florida. On Sunday, the masses join those same pros for rides ranging from 15 miles to a full century. A half marathon and 5K run are also part of the activities, which include an expo at the park that goes all day. For more info, visit www.everyonerides.org.
How would you like to live on a two-lane residential street in a middle-income suburban neighborhood that gets transformed into an interstate interchange that also includes an industrial park and truck stop? That’s exactly what happened to residents of Luckett Road, located in Tice between Palm Beach Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
In the early ’80s, when I-75 was extended south from Tampa to Naples, eventually connecting to Miami, most roads that became interchange connectors were slated to be our major roads, even if they weren’t at that stage just yet. But Luckett Road was different and doesn’t fit the description of a Bayshore Road, Colonial Boulevard or Daniels Parkway.
So how did it become an interstate access road? One could speculate that because property owners who were holding large parcels of land that were going to be adjacent to I-75 but inaccessible to it convinced the powers that be to add an interchange that would otherwise never exist (there was/is no need otherwise), thereby making that property much more valuable. Whatever the reason(s), many lives were impacted in a very negative way, making those who had previously been able to use their street as intended virtual prisoners in their own yards.
What’s most disturbing is that the transformation from neighborhood street to interstate highway / industrial park access road did not include sidewalks, and each attempt by residents to have this very basic feature added after the fact was shot down. Currently, after almost three decades since the neighborhood destruction occurred, parcels on one side of the street have been purchased and those homes razed so Luckett Road can be widened.
By now it’s little consolation to those who remain that there will finally be sidewalks since it’ll be turned into a multi-lane speedway to the interstate that’ll remain bicycle/pedestrian unfriendly. I wonder if those who were bought out were given fair market value that included compensation for having to live in fear that walking or cycling on their own street could easily result if tragedy (not to mention backing out of their driveways)? And what of those who are stuck with the homes that are left? I’m guessing that no one but the landowners and developers who gained access to the interstate made out on this deal.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334- 6417.