Friday, June 19, 2015

Video of June 9th special public workshop on Bonita Springs' downtown improvement plan

As a follow-up to BWL's June 5th blog post Action Alert about the June 9th Bonita Springs special workshop on Bonita's downtown improvement plan, we are posting the very informative video from the 3-hour workshop.   You'll learn a great deal about complete streets, livable communities, and downtown improvement projects from the consultant team (which included Michael Wallwork, the roundabout and complete streets international expert), and you'll see how one community addresses public concerns about a project that involves a great deal of change.  Kudos to the Bonita City Council for scheduling this workshop (and for posting this video on their website), to the consultant team for their excellent presentation and responses at the workshop, and to all the citizens who participated.  The video that the consultant team showed at the beginning of the workshop includes before and after footage and interviews from several other communities in Florida and beyond that have undertaken similar downtown improvement projects, and the benefits of these changes are compelling.
The video is in 2-parts:  The first two hours are in video 1; and the third hour is in video 2.

Video 1:

Video 2: 


On May 6th, the Bonita Springs' City Council approved ( 5-1 vote) an innovative downtown improvement plan, that has been under development for over a year. The City has committed $16 million to this downtown improvement project along Old 41 from Terry Street south to Oak Creek Bridge.  The planned improvement includes sidewalk and bicycle facilities, drainage, landscaping, utility relocation, parking, streetscape, medians, and two roundabouts, i.e., many features of a complete streets approach.  The City's stated goal for the project is to attract businesses to downtown Bonita and promote urban infill development. 

 At the June 3rd Council meeting, based on concerns raised during public comment, Council voted to hold another special workshop to receive and understand questions regarding the project and its components.  That workshop was held on June 9th and the video of the meeting is now on the City's website (and embedded above).

Background:  BikeWalkLee Honors Bonita

In December 2014, BikeWalkLee presented the Bonita Springs City Council and staff with its "2014 Complete Streets Champion of the Year" award for its embrace of a comprehensive complete streets approach, which culminated in its October 2014 adoption of a complete streets policy.  The award recognized several actions taken by the Council in support of complete streets and livable communities, including the design of this downtown improvement project.  BikeWalkLee's Dec. 3rd press release made the following statement about this project:
"The integration of complete streets concepts in the downtown redevelopment project recently awarded to a consultant team for design and construction. The design for this project holistically incorporates complete streets and livable community concepts in a visionary way from safe walking and biking facilities, to roundabouts, on-street parking, attractive streetscape designs, innovative storm water treatment, to creating attractive public spaces that will draw people and investment to a vibrant downtown."

Below are links to articles about this project as it has progressed through the process: 

(This in-depth article provides extensive information about the various features of the project and their potential benefit in terms of walkability, safety, economic development, etc.)
Report by Darla Letourneau

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