Kudos to the Sanibel City Council that voted unanimously this morning to implement the first phase of the recommendations from the Shared Use Path Intersection Improvement Study, including removal of the "stop" markings on the pathway. A special thanks to the Sanibel Bicycle Club for initiating this study and working in partnership with the city over the past 18 months.
Here's a link to the full study and recommendations (see the documents under Agenda Item #8 on Council agenda pkg)
Santiva Chronicle, Dec. 1, 2015
by David Staver
|Edward Kant of consulting firm T.Y. Lin International, standing left, discusses the Shared Use Path Study with the Sanibel City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at City Hall. SC photo by David StaverAdd caption|
|Patti Sousa, vice president of the Sanibel Bicycle Club, emphatically tells the City Council, including Vice Mayor Mick Denham, left, and Mayor Kevin Ruane, that the painted 'Stop' markings on the Shared Use Paths should be removed. SC photo by David Staver|
The council voted unanimously to approve the money for these early steps, but not before Vice Mayor Mick Denham explored the contrarian point of view. He questioned whether more signs and 'sharks teeth' markings on paths are good ideas and if the expenditures are necessary at all.
“Are we overreacting? We're looking at a very expensive program. We have to assess not only our budget, but the work load,” Denham said. “I agree with some of the recommendations, but I'm not ready to sign off on this just yet.”
Public Works Director Keith Williams said any addition of new signs on the island is always done reluctantly, but he stuck to his recommendation that actual 'Stop' signs in a few locations and 'sharks teeth' pavement markings are worth the expenditure in early pilot projects. He also said that the painted 'Stop' markings should be removed.
Mayor Kevin Ruane and Councilman Chauncey Goss noted that only about half of the money goes into the pilot projects. The rest will be spent to improve intersection visibility through trimming beyond the existing trimming program that Williams described as “robust.”
“With the building of the bike path came the responsibility to make it as safe as we can. The trimming is a no-brainer and is about half of the money we're being asked to appropriate today,” Goss said.
“We're advocating less traffic and less vehicular movement. The paths are are an asset we have to take care of,” Ruane said. “This is really a $35,000 question. We're all for the trimming. What it comes down to is the rest of it.”
“Bikes aren't going away. We don't have any enforcement of the bike laws (on the paths),” Councilman Marty Harrity said. “We've been great stewards of the taxpayers' money and we do have the money to move forward with the staff's recommendations.”
“The Bike Club has been through this with us,” Ruane said. “To just do the trimming would be an insult to all who have taken part.”
Mike Miller and Patti Sousa of the Sanibel Bicycle Club rose in support of the staff recommendations, with Sousa placing a strong emphasis on the club's desire to see the mostly disregarded 'Stop' markings on the paths removed.
“The 'Stop' markings promote disregard. How do we educate people to stop if no one is stopping?” she asked.
Education has been a focal point of safety on the paths, but Ruane and others said education is problematic since so many of the people on the paths are visitors who come from places without shared use paths.
“Education is a challenge since we have such a large turnover,” Ruane said.
Billy Kirkland, owners of Billy's Bikes, suggested education be distributed by resorts when visitors register.
The Shared Use Path study included a list of accidents involving the paths.
“Thirty-eight accidents is 38 too many,” Sanibel resident Larry Schopp said in reference to a list of them in the study. “If we can improve that, we should.”
Schopp was also on board with the Bicycle Club when it came to the painted 'Stop' markings.
“I ignore them all the time,” he said.
T.Y. Lin, represented at the council meeting by senior transportation engineer Edward Kant, put the painted 'Stop' markings as the No. 1 concern, followed by possible relocation of some of Sanibel's unique T-shaped warning signs. Also listed as suggestions that could be quickly carried out are adding the 'sharks teeth' painted markings at mid-block crosswalks, foliage trimming, review of placement of advance crosswalk warning signs, active public-awareness campaign, a crosswalk at Lighthouse Park and Tarpon Bay 'Share the Road' signs.
The staff report presented by Williams suggested pilot programs involving the 'sharks teeth,' the public awareness campaign, 'yield' warning signs at selected crosswalks, pathway 'Stop' signs and edge striping and ladder markings at selected driveways.
Among other suggestions from T.Y. Lin were some new mid-block crosswalks, a new segment of path on the north side of Periwinkle and an update of the Shared Use Master Plan.
In another matter involving the Shared Use Paths, the council held first reading on an ordinance that would make surreys legal on the paths, but only available in a limited number from the island's two bike rental stores.
A public hearing and vote on the surrey ordinance will be at the 9 a.m. Jan. 5 council meeting.
Shared Use Path Study Recommendations
T.Y. Lin considers these recommendations as easily performed:
STOP messages on pavement
Shark's teeth at mid-block crosswalks – X
Review placement of advance crosswalk warning signs
Active public awareness campaign – X
Crosswalk at Lighthouse Park
Tarpon Bay 'Share the Road' signs
T.Y. Lin suggests these recommendations as part of a five-year budget projection:
R1-6 'Yield' warning signs at selected crosswalks – X
Pathway STOP signs – X
Edge striping and ladder markings at driveways – X
East Gulf (Nerita to Elinor) path relocation
Periwinkle at Dunlop path to nowhere
Periwinkle at Palm Ridge crosswalk north of CVS
Casa Ybel and Algiers plantings
Extend Post Office path (Lee Road)
New mid-block crosswalks
Sanibel-Captiva Road at Mangrove separator island
T.Y. Lin considers these proposals as having a longer time frame:
'Ding' Darling entrance geometry change
Update of Shared Use Path Master Plan
Shared Use Path path segment on north side of Periwinkle
X – part of pilot program