Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Moser Column: BikeWalkLee extends kudos to Sanibel and Cape Coral

 This week's Dan Moser column focuses on the 2013 Complete Streets Champion of the Year awards recently awarded to Cape Coral and Sanibel for their significant bike/ped improvements.
Florida Weekly, Dec. 11, 2013
Dan Moser
We’re all guilty at one time or another of making great plans but never following through. Governments are no different, although the plans they develop generally come with price tags that make them very wasteful if they sit on a shelf gathering dust. Over the years I’ve seen many do just that, sometimes due to lack of resources to make things happen, other times because the plan was only intended as a way to placate elected officials or the public. So when bicycle and pedestrian plans actually get to the stage of implementation, I’m impressed. BikeWalkLee recently awarded the cities of Cape Coral and Sanibel its 2013 Complete Streets Champion of the Year award for making real progress toward significant improvements to the bicycle and pedestrian environment in their respective jurisdictions.

The city of Cape Coral doesn’t have a formal bike/pedestrian plan but has integrated those modes into its overall transportation strategy, at least to some degree, for many years. In a city of more than 100 square miles that’s covered with roads throughout much of it, the task of safely and fairly accommodating all users is daunting, especially since the founders and early developers provided bare bones infrastructure whenever possible. But over the years, Cape Coral saw opportunity in cases where there was actually more roadway capacity than needed: the city turned overbuilt four-lane boulevards (usually originally built that way as a sales tool) into quasi-Complete Streets simply by reallocating the asphalt into two motor vehicle travel lanes and two bike/ped lanes. In some instances, the city has since added true pedestrian facilities (sidewalks), but on slower-speed roadways, especially those that dead end at the river or other waterway, there’s really no need. That creative road dieting means there are now many miles of bike/ped-friendly roads. What impressed BikeWalkLee, however, is how quickly a plan to better utilize these assets is being put into action (hopefully, the city will now develop and implement a formal Complete Streets policy).

After months of planning meetings with key city staffers, Cape Coral Bike Ped, a nonprofit advocacy organization, came to the city council requesting a resolution establishing fundraising authority for pedestrian and bicycle paths within the city. It was unanimously approved. The plan put forth by CCBP and city staff identified more than 90 miles of interconnected bike/ped routes and an innovative approach to raise funds for named bicycle routes through private sector sponsors for way-finding signs along each named route. With the cooperation and support of many businesses, civic organizations and individuals, CCBP raised the funds to cover the cost of seven named/sponsored routes in less than a year, meaning all signage will be complete by the end of 2014.

In anyone’s book, that’s impressive and worthy of recognition.

The other 2013 Complete Streets Champion of the Year award winner, the city of Sanibel, is already a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community as designated by League of American Bicyclists. Its effort began when the city, with the sweat-equity and financial support of the Sanibel Bicycle Club, embarked on the development of a formal bike/ped master plan around 2006. It was a difficult task with plenty of public involvement and discourse, but after almost three years, the plan was adopted by the Sanibel City Council.

Since that time, remarkable improvements have been made to what was already an enviable pathway-based bike/ped network. New paths and trails, widening of existing ones, and crosswalk and pavement marking improvements are elements of the plan that are already on the ground or underway to some degree or another. Additionally, SBC has been very instrumental in education and awareness efforts as well as bike/ ped counts and surveys. For islanders and visitors alike, all this progress means better conditions for those wanting to avoid driving on roads that sometimes become parking lots because so many come to experience all that Sanibel Island has to offer, an experience that’s enhanced by getting out of the car and into the island’s natural environment. Like the other award winner, Sanibel’s recognition is well deserved.

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
¦ Rotary Park 5K, Saturday, Dec. 14, Rotary Park,
Cape Coral (
¦ River, Roots, & Ruts Half-Marathon & 5K, Sunday,
Jan. 5, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva (
¦ Tour de Cape 5K, Saturday, Jan. 18, Cape Harbor
Resort, Cape Coral (
¦ Hooters-to-Hooters Half-Marathon, Sunday,
March 2, Hooters @ Edison Mall, Fort Myers (
For more Lee County running events, visit Fort Myers Track Club (, Endurance Sports Timing ( and 3-D Racing ( For Naples/ Collier running info, it’s the Gulf Coast Runners ( Charlotte County running information is at Walkers can visit

Cycling & Other Events:
¦ Ride for Hope, Saturday, Feb. 14, Bonita Springs
Hope Hospice House (
¦ Tour de Cape, Sunday, Jan. 19, Cape Harbor
Resort, Cape Coral (
Visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club,; Florida Mudcutters,; Naples Pathways Coalition,; Naples Velo,; Peace River Riders,; and Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club, for more information on local bicycling activities, including weekly rides. The Florida Bicycle Association is your source for statewide happenings.

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