Monday, January 6, 2014

BikeWalkLee letter to FDOT Secretary Prasad in support of statewide bike/ped safety campaign

BikeWalkLee sent letter to Secretary Prasad expressing appreciation for his leadership and commitment to the statewide bike/ped safety campaign, specifically thanking him for his appointment of Billy Hattaway, who is doing an outstanding job leading this initiative.  The letter also highlights the importance of FDOT's plans to develop a complete streets policy and guidance.

December 26, 2013

Secretary Ananth Prasad
Florida Department of Transportation
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450

Secretary Prasad,

BikeWalkLee is an award-winning community coalition in Lee County, raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets and a more balanced transportation system.  Since our formation in 2009, we have been actively involved at the local, regional, state, and national levels to advance safe and convenient travel for all road users, and have partnered with FDOT District 1 on its "Alert Today Alive Tomorrow" bike/ped safety campaign.

On behalf of BikeWalkLee, I wanted to express our gratitude for your leadership and commitment to the statewide bike/ped safety campaign.  Your appointment of Billy Hattaway to head this initiative and your steadfast support of his efforts is greatly appreciated and is yielding results. We deeply appreciate the leadership and support that FDOT District Secretary Billy Hattaway is providing both statewide and in District 1 to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, to support a balanced multi-modal transportation system, and to promote innovative approaches such as roundabouts, road diets, and the integration of land use and transportation planning.  Billy's leadership is widely respected and appreciated in Lee County and throughout the district, which has enhanced FDOT's reputation and relationships in our region.  Most important, his leadership is helping our MPO Board and its local jurisdictions navigate the paradigm shift that is occurring in the transportation world and is helping us all stay focused on improving bike/ped safety--a serious problem in Lee County.

I attended the December 13th public hearing on the FDOT District 1 work plan and the joint Lee/Charlotte County MPO Board meeting and spoke on behalf of BikeWalkLee.  It was gratifying to see Secretary Hattaway's focus on the statewide bike/ped safety campaign, clearly communicating that it is FDOT's # 1 priority.  Billy's opening statement on the video about the FDOT work plan and his status report at the end of the meeting about the work of the statewide bike/ped policy and implementation team all reinforced the message that bike/ped safety is FDOT's #1 priority. 

We are thrilled that FDOT is committed to developing a statewide complete streets policy that will include guidance in support of that policy.  Since 2009, BikeWalkLee has recommended to FDOT that it adopt a complete streets program.  Complete streets are safer streets, and by adopting a statewide complete streets policy, Florida will be signaling that safety requires a culture shift that says the roadways are for everyone and we need to design, construct and manage our roadways with all the users in mind. 

There are now at least 32 individual communities in Florida that have adopted complete streets policies, and having statewide leadership and support will help both communities that currently have policies, as well as those communities that are interested in adopting such policies.  Such umbrella support from FDOT will be critical to the long term success of its state-wide bike/ped safety campaign. We look forward to the issuance of the statewide complete streets policy, along with its guidance on road diets, roundabouts, and context-sensitive application.  We stand ready to help FDOT in any way needed in support of this effort.

BikeWalkLee is also appreciative of FDOT District 1's assistance to the Lee MPO on implementation of our TIGER grant complete streets initiative project.  On this and many other initiatives in our area, Billy has stepped in to provide effective leadership and assistance.  At the December 13th joint MPO Board meeting, members of the Board expressed their appreciation for everything that Secretary Hattaway is doing to bring real change to FDOT and for his close collaboration with the MPO and its local jurisdictions.

We at BikeWalkLee feel incredibly lucky to have Secretary Hattaway in this leadership position and are grateful to you for entrusting him with the assignment to make Florida a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists.  We trust that FDOT will continue to make roadway safety, especially for vulnerable road users, its #1 priority.  We look forward to the day when Florida is no longer the most dangerous state in the country for walking and biking.

Darla Letourneau
on behalf of BikeWalkLee 

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