Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sanibel honored as a 'Complete Streets Champion of the Year'

It was a pleasure for BikeWalkLee to present the City of Sanibel and the Sanibel Bicycle Club with a 2013 Complete Streets Champion of the Year award.

 12/12/13 Island Reporter covered the story in a front page article.  Click here.

BikeWalkLee Press Release:   Dec. 3, 2013
BikeWalkLee, a local community coalition advocating for complete streets in Lee County, has selected the City of Sanibel and the Sanibel Bicycle Club (SBC) as a 2013 Complete Streets Champion of the Year for “a decade of incredible work to make Sanibel a model walkable, bikeable community.” BikeWalkLee representatives will present the award at the Dec. 3 City Council meeting.

In 2010 Sanibel was the first Southwest Florida community to be designated a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists, a sign of the city's commitment to a comprehensive program of engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation (the five Es) efforts to promote bicycling. In light of all the improvements the city has made over the past four years, the city's Bicycle Friendly Community status should be enhanced when it's up for renewal next year.

“The leadership and commitment from this City Council has been key to the progress you've made over the past six years,” said BikeWalkLee’s Darla Letourneau. “Sanibel is very lucky to have City Manager Judie Zimomra, who is such a strong champion for the shared use path system and promoting biking and walking for transportation, recreation, and health.

“BikeWalkLee is grateful to Mayor Kevin Ruane in his role as chairman of the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization Board for his support of a more balanced multi-modal transportation system that is safe and accessible for all users. He is providing countywide leadership at a critical time.

Continued Letourneau: “Finally, I would like to recognize the role  the Sanibel Bicycle Club played in these accomplishments, and pay special tribute to the contributions made by the late Doug Dietrich.”

BikeWalkLee cited the following accomplishments in making the award:

  • The development of the Sanibel Shared Use Path Master Plan was a major effort by the city in collaboration with the SBC and with broad public involvement, which took several years of hard work before it was adopted by city council in 2009. Since that time, the city has aggressively implemented this plan, serving as a true role model for other local communities in how to develop and implement a master plan.
  •  Following the blueprint of the master plan, the city has expanded the path system by four miles and improved existing paths by widening another four miles of pathways, along with other safety improvements. The just-completed widening and improvement project on the East End path is the latest example of these successful efforts.
  • The comprehensive shared use path survey of users, done  in 2006 and again in 2012, means Sanibel has quantitative data on the increases in path usage over the past six years,  Clearly, Sanibel's shared-use path is popular and well-used by both residents and visitors, whether they're walking or cycling. 
  • The Sanibel Path Information Center, completed in 2012, was initiated by the SBC and funded and implemented by a partnership of community organizations and private individuals with city involvement and assistance.  Again, this project  serves as a model for other communities in successful public/private partnerships.
  • The crosswalk study and the city council's swift action to implement the recommendations demonstrates your commitment to improving safety, and is serving as a model for other communities. The city has also increased its safety focus, as seen in reports on crashes and post-crash team reviews.
  • The SBC is to be commended for its ongoing safety education campaign, a series of public service announcements in island papers, its bike map with safety tips, and the safety tips on all bike racks.
  • The city's policy and practice of promoting biking and walking to events on island and the provision of bike parking is a model for others. Just look at the new T-shirts, promoting Sanibel as "walkable bikeable Sanibel Island" – the city clearly sees biking and walking as transportation modes and a way to reduce cars and congestion on island.
      The City of Cape Coral and Cape Coral Bike Ped was also honored with the same award this year, part of BIkeWalkLee’s efforts to honor the significant advances being achieved by Lee County’s cities to make our communities more bikeable and walkable.

Contact:       Darla Letourneau, (239) 850-3219, dletourneau@bikewalklee.org

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