Kudos to Peter O'Flinn of SW Spotlight Magazine for this outstanding commentary imagining the future of Bonita Springs. It's exciting to see ideas such as complete streets, balanced transportation that's affordable and sustainable, mobility fees, integration of land use and transportation planning, roundabouts, walkable and bikeable and livable communities taking hold in Bonita Springs.
By Peter R. O’Flinn
Imagine Bonita Beach Road as a beautiful and distinctive gateway to the beach, a signature street defining Bonita Springs. Imagine tree-shaded pathways welcoming bikes and pedestrians, not just a funnel for cars.
In other words, try thinking of a very special place that will burnish Bonita Springs’ reputation as a great small city.
Great streets define great cities, and stimulate economic progress, wrote Prince Charles in his introduction to Dover and Massengale’s classic book, Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns.
That age-old concept was recognized by most of the City Council when they recently decided to conduct a visioning study of Bonita Beach Road, and dropped a plan for city funding of further six laning of Beach Road, from Old 41 to Vanderbilt Drive.
On city council there is now talk of mobility fees to replace road impact fees; and “complete streets” designed for pedestrians and connectivity, as advocated by BikeWalkLee.
These voices are great to hear — and they have plenty of company.
In almost a thousand responses to a Lee County MPO questionnaire this year, “biking and walking” and “less driving” were ranked as top priorities, including in Bonita Springs.
In Rep. Curt Clawson we have an advocate in Washington supportive of these concepts.
And, significantly, we have a forward thinking state transportation department. “I was encouraged that City Council was looking to undertake (the visioning study) inclusive of all the users of that roadway — bicycle, pedestrian and transit,” said Carmen Monroy, FDOT’s Southwest Area Director, at the recent meeting where she recommended termination of the $1 million flyover study contract.
An overpass at Beach Road and US 41 could have cost upwards of $50 million, and more six laning of Beach Road an additional $22 million.
Let’s think of something a lot cheaper and a heck of lot nicer.
So imagine…perhaps a street with safe, tree-shaded pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages; where a mom bicycling with baby buggy in tow can pull up to Dolly’s for coffee and pie; where an ever more cool corridor, hopping with eateries, evolves west of US 41; where remote beach parking provides access for residents and takes traffic off Little Hickory Island; and where, yes, cars can also travel, but at speeds where drivers will actually notice stores and restaurants, not whiz by.
Imagine what a place it could be.
Previous BikeWalkLee blog posts on Bonita developments:
August 26, 2014: BikeWalkLee calls for comprehensive transportation planning at Aug. 22nd MPO Board meeting
August 10, 2014: Recent developments in Bonita Springs signal support for complete streets and livable communities vision
Other related SW Spotlight 9/1/14 articles this month re: Bonita developments: