Dan Moser's Outdoors Column in Florida Weekly
Jan. 7, 2015
Last November’s second undertaking of Streets Alive!, our local version of an open streets event that’s also known as a Cyclovia, was even more successful than the inaugural one a year earlier. Surveys conducted in person and online confirm many of the benefits that had been anticipated. Individual participants, local businesses and the larger community had much to like.
Attendees generally engaged in at least two activities being offered with a significant number experiencing five or more. Of the healthy fruit and vegetables that were available as free samples or for purchase, more than half tried them. Survey comments indicate many plan to engage in an activity that was tried or regularly consume a food sampled. And, as hoped for, having had fun was cited by the vast majority.
Merchants who were on the route or very nearby had folks stop in who likely would not have done so, especially on an early Sunday afternoon. Even better news: Survey results indicate almost 75 percent discovered a business that had been unfamiliar to them and over 95 percent planned to return there. Traditional advertising doesn’t have this success rate.
The location and date of the next Streets Alive! has yet to be determined. Along with Fort Myers, which was the site of the first two, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero, and Lehigh Acres are other prospects. But wherever the next one happens, it’ll take a lot of support, both in terms of peoplepower and financial resources. Local governments, businesses, and residents have to step-up. The long-term vision is for each community to host Streets Alive! on a routine basis. Visit streetsalivelee.org to learn more.
This is a reminder than the next few months offer lots of opportunities to run, walk and cycle. Here’s a partial rundown:
- River Roots & Ruts Half-Marathon & 5K trail runs (rrrtrail.com) take place this Sunday, Jan. 11, at Caloosahatchee Regional Park. More than half of the 13.1 -mile run is on very challenging single-track bike trails. The 5K sticks to hiking trails on the river side of this beautiful park.
- Tour de Cape (tourdecape.net) happens a couple of weekend later, with the 5K run and walk on Saturday, Jan. 17, and bike rides on Sunday, Jan. 18. The rides include distances of 15, 30, 60 and 100 miles. All events stage at Cape Harbor.
- Calusa Bug Chase 5K (ftmyerstrackclub.com) is as interesting a run or walk as the name itself and takes place on Saturday, Jan. 31. Anyone who’s visited the Calusa Nature Center will appreciate the name. Others who are new to the center will quickly understand it.
- Run to the Arts 5K (runtothearts.com), a first-year event that kicks off the final day of ArtFest in the downtown Fort Myers River District, will run on Sunday morning, Feb. 8. Considering the quality of the larger three-day ArtFest event, one can expect the 5K to be top-notch as well. To ensure that happens, consider volunteering if you’re unable to otherwise participate.
- Edison Fest 5K (ftmyerstrackclub.com) is our area’s premier 5K that attracts world-class runners due to it being a flat and fast course. There have been two world records and one national record set at this certified course over the years. It precedes the Grand Parade on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 21.
- Hooters Half-Marathon (hootershalfmarathon.com), a local classic that turns into a party that only an organization like Hooters can be expected to put on, happens on Sunday, March 1. In order to maintain the quality an event of this distance and complexity mandates, many volunteers are required, all of whom are invited to the post-race festivities.
— Dan Moser is a long- time bicycle/ pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at email@example.com or 334- 6417.