Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Moser Column: Streets Alive! makes history in the River District

This week's Moser column lauds Streets Alive! and everyone who made it a success.  The advocacy corner focuses on the recent spike in pedestrian fatalities and importance of law enforcement assistance in implementing the community's bike/ped safety action plan.

Florida Weekly, Outdoors Section, Nov. 27, 2013
Dan Moser
After more than a year of planning and preparation, Lee County residents are now among the ranks of those in hundreds of communities around the country and throughout the world who have experienced a cyclovia or Open Street event. The River District of downtown Fort Myers was the venue for the first go-around of Streets Alive!, which came off with the usual number of hiccups for an inaugural and unique event, but overall was everything organizers had hoped for: active fun for everyone.

The many volunteers and government representatives who came through to help make it happen before, during, and afterward were instrumental in its success and their support is very much appreciated. Elected officials and staff from the city of Fort Myers and its Redevelopment Agency; Lee County administration and facilities staff; Fort Myers police and fire departments; and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office V.O.I.C.E. personnel were especially helpful, as were the many sponsors who took a chance on an unknown entity and product. Activity providers, exhibitors, and vendors offered so many choices that there was little excuse not to be moving or trying out healthy food options.

 BikeWalkLee and partner organizations garnished lots of public input on what kind of community design and attributes are preferred through an interactive “pop-up city hall” and other activities that turned out to be a big hit. (Be sure to visit the blog at for the results of this particular aspect of Streets Alive!) As for the future, if there’s adequate interest and commitment from the health community and others who want to see this happen on an ongoing basis, Streets Alive! may reoccur in the spring, tentatively on Sunday, April 6. I’ll keep you informed as decisions are made.

Fort Myers Track Club happenings
Fort Myers Track Club, our area’s experts on all things running, is once again offering its Youth Running Program starting Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Wa-ke Hatchee Community Park, 16760 Bass Road (just off Summerlin near HealthPark). Kids 18 and younger will meet weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Youth running coach Maria Andrews will lead this free program. And don’t forget to participate in the 35th annual City of Palms River Run 10K on Saturday, Dec. 7, which starts and finishes along at Centennial Park. For the less ambitious, there’s also a two-mile walk. Details of those and other FMTC happenings can be found at

Advocacy update
There’s been no respite from the carnage on our roads, whether it involves pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists. As of the writing of this column, Lee County has had 71 traffic fatalities, 19 of those being pedestrians. And those numbers don’t include serious injuries that are often life-changing for the victims and others.

Those of us in the business of working to help prevent such incidents are frustrated and perplexed. Neither our messages nor traditional enforcement activities seem to be reaching a certain segment of the population. Vulnerable road users continue to make poor decisions. Motor-vehicle operators fail to take their weapon-wielding responsibility seriously. And the general public doesn’t appear concerned enough to be outraged or demand changes in the status quo (unless, of course, it directly affects them).

It’s hard to say what more can be done to convince ourselves to pay attention and act responsibly, but we’ll keep at it by trying to change the perception among both the public and law enforcement that traffic-related deaths and injuries are tolerable.

I’ve written about this before, but one relatively new tool we have is our community’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. You can view the plan at Local law enforcement leaders are meeting in early December to kick-off the plan’s enforcement element implementation. Their commitment to bringing our fatality and injury numbers down is vital and appreciated. Many of us look forward to being part of the development of the enforcement community’s plan of action, something we believe will help change behavior for the better if it’s well crafted and implemented.

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 or 334- 6417.

Upcoming events
¦ River Run 10K & 2-Mile Walk, Saturday,
Dec. 7, downtown Fort Myers, (
¦ Everyone Runs Half-Marathon &
5K, Sunday, Dec. 8, JetBlue Park (
For more Lee County running events visit Fort
Myers Track Club (www.ftmyerstrackclub.
com), Endurance Sports Timing (, and 3-D Racing
( For Naples/Collier
running info it’s the Gulf Coast Runners (

Cycling & Other Events:
¦ Turkey Leg Century Ride*, Sunday,
Nov. 29, Publix, Six Mile @ Daniels ( (*A self-supported ride)
¦ Everyone Rides, Sunday, Dec. 8, JetBlue Park (
¦ Ride for Hope, Saturday, Feb. 14, Bonita Springs Hope Hospice House (

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