Thursday, December 22, 2016

Warning to Cyclists: Don't bike on Fort Myers Beach until the Estero Blvd. Improvement project is completed

Below is a message from Tina Sujana, an area avid cyclist, past bike shop manager, local realtor, and current member of the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee, about the dangers of biking on Estero Blvd. in Fort Myers Beach.  Thanks, Tina, for bringing this to our attention.

Message to BikeWalkLee on Dec. 22, 2016:
Just wanted to send a warning out to anyone who cycles to avoid Fort Myers Beach, or proceed with extreme caution. Three of us went down this morning due to the road works. We were not going fast but the new curb in the middle, the metal along the way, and the various ways the road is torn up is extremely detrimental.

The fact that they are conducting these road works in the busiest part of the whole beach during season is astounding.  As I mentioned, three of us went down independently, riding as a group but not as a cause of the other. We all hit our heads and have various contusions and scrapes.  Our bikes all need some kind of attention due to damage, and 2 helmets are cracked. Luckily a friend picked us up so we didn't have to ride any further.   

Thank goodness for helmets, and that this was not more serious.
 Perhaps you could warn other cyclists about this area of extreme danger which extends basically from just past the traffic light at the base of the bridge, to the fire station. Our accidents were around the 50 feet or so in front of Mango St.  

I would just like to state the obvious though, in the hopes it gets passed along. This is not just about us as locals.  This is a tourist destination. Tourists are going to come here and want to ride their bikes and are going to be faced with these same problems, or worse because they are staying on FMB. Not a very smart move on behalf of the city of FMB. [BWL NOTE: this is a County-maintained road and LeeDOT managed project.]  I have seen this stretch of road go from not that bad to absolutely terrible and dangerous, and here we are about to hit the height of season in a few weeks.  

As a realtor in the area I should be advising visitors who contact me to avoid the beach area until, I am told, several years from now when this might be completed.  As a cyclist, I owe it to other cyclists to do the same. 
And I would like to report this to the correct authority so that they know this has happened. Do you know who I would contact?

Thank you

Tina Sujana

Bonita City Council takes action to move forward on priority multi-use path projects

Kudos to the Bonita Springs staff and City Council for holding a Dec. 21st  Council workshop exclusively on bike mobility.  There was an excellent presentation, discussion, and unanimous action by Council to move forward on the its top priority multi-use path projects.  2017 promises to be another exciting year in Bonita Springs.

 Last year, the Bonita Springs City Council undertook a transportation study by McMahon consultants.  As a byproduct of this study, the City asked McMahon to develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which was presented to the City Council in July 2016 and approved shortly thereafter.  The City's FY 2016-17 budget included $2 million to begin implementation of this plan.  In December 2015, the current Council established its goals for the year, with multi-modal transportation being the top priority goal.  
PowerPoint Presentation
Dec. 21st City Council Meeting on Bike Mobility
The Dec. 21, 2016 Council meeting was scheduled  to begin to implement its multi-modal transportation goal by looking first at separated biking facilities, with the goal of prioritizing four potential shared use path projects to use the $2 million. The Council views these as "signature" projects that will define Bonita's image and create a "WOW" effect. A representative of the City's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee spoke in support of the Bike/Ped Master Plan and the multi-use path priority projects presented by staff.

The Council agreed unanimously on how to proceed on each of the four priority projects suggested by staff.  Staff will develop the initial scope of work for the first project--a shared use path on West Terry Street to the pool and surrounding civic destinations--and present it to Council for its consideration at the Jan. 18th meeting. Similar to the process used for the Bonita Beach Road Visioning study, world-class national expert consultant teams will be encouraged to compete, and Council plans to take a hands-on role in the development of the Statement of Work and the selection of the consultant team.

 The Council discussed the SUNTrail grant program (managed by FDOT with annual $25 million) and its opportunities for Bonita.  The Council also agreed to hold a joint meeting with the Estero Village Council to start an initiative to investigate a multi-modal path on the railroad right-of-way that goes through both jurisdictions.
Kudos to the Bonita Springs staff team, led by Public Works Director Matt Feeney, for an excellent presentation at the Dec. 21st Council meeting.  Kudos also to the Bonita City Council for its in-depth discussion of the type of shared use paths with accompanying amenities that they want for their first signature projects.   Click here to view Matt's PowerPoint presentation; and click here to watch the meeting.  If you're interested in learning about what Bonita is planning, or if you're working on a similar project in your community and are looking for good ideas, this meeting is worth watching.  (2 1/2 hours long)

Related Links:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BWL Column: Patience pays off for Fiddlesticks Blvd. community

This week's BWL column highlights the recent celebration of the completion of the Fiddlesticks Blvd. shared use path, and what other communities can learn from this project's long journey to successful completion.  Thank you to the many people who made this project happen!  Be sure to let the officials, staff, and community advocates know that you appreciate this project.  During the holiday break,  plan to get on your bike or put on your running shoes to try out the new path, which connects to the extensive path system on Daniels Parkway and beyond. Click here to see BWL's full photo album from ribbon-cutting event.

 BikeWalkLee's Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section: 12/22/16
Dec. 8th Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony (L to R: David Murphy (David Murphy, Andy Getch, Matt Spielman, Christine Deramo, Antionette Johnson, Doug Meurer, Darla Letourneau, Commissioners Pendergrass, Pat Connor, and Ray Gonzalez)

What does it take for a neighborhood to improve its biking/walking infrastructure?

Tireless champions, a committed community and patience… lots and lots of patience.

That’s the lesson from the Fiddlesticks Boulevard Shared Use Path, which marked its opening with a county-sponsored ribbon cutting Dec. 8.

For background: Fiddlesticks Boulevard is a road leading off Daniels Parkway to four major communities totaling some 5,000 residents. Like so many thoroughfares around here, the road was flat, fast and potentially fatal to walkers and bikers alike.

Enter the dedicated champions, Ben and Kelly Bishop, who moved to one of the communities in 2004 and quickly committed themselves to improving the bike/walk safety of the boulevard. While requests for improvements had been made before, no sign of widespread support was ever in evidence. (Patience…)

That soon changed. The Bishops worked with the four Fiddlesticks communities to get their associations to sign on to supporting bike/ped improvements with county officials. With the larger circle of community champions, the project gained momentum to move it on to the county’s five-year Capital Improvements Project budget. Due to the backlog of requests, such projects usually can hope to be funded only at the end of that CIP cycle. (More patience…)

Possible improvements to the boulevard were suggested, from “share the road” signs to sidewalks and more. But community support and pressure resulted in a county commissioner-convened community meeting in 2012 where residents turned out in force to push for a shared use path – a wider, more useful and more expensive solution. (More patience…)

County officials saw the strong support as reason to agree to a higher priced shared use path. The design phase turned up some new issues, necessitating changes and additional permitting. (More patience…)
Ben and Kelly Bishop committed themselves to improving the bike/walk safety of Fiddlesticks Boulevard.
However, the many community champions monitored the project progress closely, calling on residents to turn out when necessary to show just how strong the neighborhood support continued to be. This, in turn, kept county officials engaged and enabled obstacles to be overcome to keep the project on track. (Just a little more patience…)

Permits and plans finally in hand, the county awarded the construction contract in June 2016… and six months later, everyone gathered on a December afternoon about two weeks ago to celebrate a project well done, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by District 2 Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass.

The new path connects the Fiddlesticks Boulevard communities to the Daniels Parkway path, and from there to the larger county bike/walk network. Residents can now ride or walk to shops and more in safety… they could even ride to the spring training games just up the road and cruise past all those cars stuck in all that traffic.

Congratulations to everyone who helped bring this project to fruition, adding another crucial connection to the bike/walk network.

Other communities can learn from this, of course. Want to make your neighborhood safer to bike and walk?
  • Identify a need and propose a  specific project.
  • Have a community champion willing to hang in there to the end.
  • Build and maintain community support start to finish (however long it takes).
  • Learn the county process and players to get things started and keep things moving.
  • Be there for the long haul, with patience to spare.
-- Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at

Biking, walking to happier holidays

While we always encourage people to enjoy the plentiful opportunities to bike, walk and run in Southwest Florida, holidays are an especially excellent time to hit the trails and paths.
  • To create family-friendly moments. Biking and, in particular, walking is something almost all of your family and visitors can do… so you can do it together.
  • To give everyone a little space. Getting on each other’s nerves? Get out and go for a walk or ride… it breaks up the routine and break downs some of the bad family habits we all can fall prey to.
  • To burn off some calories. Even the most prudent among us can partake a little too festively this time of year. Moving around is still the best remedy to too much food… so get moving!
  • Finally, to beat the traffic. The week between holidays is often approaching gridlock on our roads… but not necessarily on our paths. Would you rather be stuck in traffic, or pedaling by it?
Enjoy your holidays – and any walks or rides you can fit in.

Ready to ride or run?

Run: There’s a break in organized events with the holidays coming, so you’ll need to find friends and family (or too much food) to keep you motivated to move. You can celebrate the new year with a 5K and plunge in Naples (, or keep in training for the River Roots & Ruts Half Marathon/5K on Jan. 8 (

Ride: Celebrate New Year’s Eve early with Critical Mass, with a night ride Dec. 30 in Cape Coral, a morning ride in Fort Myers on Dec. 31, and the original CM downtown ride Jan. 6 Details and RSVP at

Both: The HITS tri series returns to Naples on Jan. 7-8 with distances for everyone, from the short Open to the full Ironman (

Regional cooperation links us to our neighbors and the rest of the state

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 12/21/2016 

Dan Moser
Roadways linking neighboring communities have always been the norm and that link is obviously one of their primary functions. In some cases, nonmotorized facilities — such as sidewalks, shared-use paths and bike lanes — accompany them or have been added.

Until recently, however, trails unassociated with or well separated from roadways or trails that would be more than a bare-bones facility, rarely crossed county lines. But thanks to a number of efforts taking place — including those being undertaken by state and local governments — those wanting to use human power are getting better connected to our neighbors.

The respective Metropolitan Planning Organizations of each county inSouthwest Florida have been working together to create a regional network of non-motorized transportation and recreation facilities and roadway treatments. Seizing on planning and funding opportunities from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Office of Greenways and Trails, the MPOs are coordinating efforts to ensure the area receives the resources necessary to make this possible.

Vision of Florida interconnected trail system
A while back I wrote about FDOT’s SUNTrail (shared use non-motorized trail network), which includes the Southwest Coastal Regional Trail segment. A local champion, Christin Collins, was recruited to represent the region at the state level. Armed with our regional bike/ped plans that Lee County MPO and our neighbors to the north and south had agreed upon, Ms. Collins attended a statewide gathering and made the case for the southwest coast segment to be the next area of focus — or at least get funding for projects. While the area didn’t make the cut as the state’s primary focus area, it did eventually come away with significant dollars to start building the Kismet pathway in north Cape Coral.

Lee County segment of SW Coastal Regional Trail
Lee MPO’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinating Committee has been meeting with Collier County MPO’s Pathway Advisory Committee annually for many years, allowing the area to refine plans to connect the two counties. Recently, BPCC and Charlotte County/Punta Gorda MPO’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee met for the first time to compare notes on how to best connect with each other.

Besides discussion of the Kismet project - which is an important part of the western link to Charlotte County along Burnt Store Road - the eastern link along the SR 31 corridor, which includes Babcock Ranch, was a major topic. An excellent presentation was made as to how the fledgling Babcock town will be integrated into the trail network.

And as is the case for Collier County, U.S. 41 is the central county connection between North Fort Myers and south Punta Gorda. It may not be the preferred route for most folks but there is or eventually will be bike lanes and sidepaths along the entire corridor, one that will undoubtedly be a key trail link for most of Florida’s west coast and beyond. An example is the possibility of Florida River of Grass Greenway, a trail that would run adjacent to the U.S. 41 corridor and link Collier County to Florida’s east coast.

It’s going to take many years for much of the network to be complete but there is progress. Much more information about the regional plans can be found at

Join the Million Mile Movement
What might be considered the perfect motivator for a New Year’s resolution, Healthy Lee’s Million Mile Movement challenge will be happening from Jan. 9 through March 31. Those who register (it’s free) can log their daily exercise at, where every “step” counts.

Tracking walking miles and other healthy activities like running, swimming, bicycling and even housework and yard work, will add to the total as they are converted to walking miles. The goal is to collectively log 1 million miles by March 31. So plan to take a walk or run, climb stairs (an excellent training regime for April’s Fight for Air Stair Climb event; or exercise any way you want and log your progress. It just may be the thing we all need to keep our own New Year’s resolutions.¦

- 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 and 334-6417.

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

BikeWalkLee wishes each of you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Upcoming events

  • Sunday, Jan. 1: Dave Craynor 5K and Big Dave’s Polar Plunge. Lowdermilk Park, Naples (
  • Sunday, Jan. 8: 14th annual River Roots & Ruts Half Marathon and 5K. A change of pace at Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva. (
  • Saturday, Jan. 14: Facial Hair for Cancer Causes 5K/10K run and 5K walk, Tara Woods, Noprth Fort Myers (
  • Sunday, Jan. 15: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Fifth Avenue South, Naples (
  • Saturday, Jan. 21: Wings Over Water 5K Nature Run, presented by the Rotary Club of Lehigh Acres. Harns Marsh, 3399 38th Street West, Lehigh Acres. (
  • Saturday, Jan. 28: Calusa BUG Chase, to help kids Bring Up Grades. Calusa Nature Center, 3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers.
  • Saturday, Jan. 28: Run the Paws 5K, supports Humane Society of Naples. Naples Airport (
  • Saturday, Jan. 28: Snowflake Shuffle 5K, Hancock Creek Elementary, North Fort Myers (
  • For more running events visit;; and

  • Friday, Dec. 30: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (
  • Saturday, Dec. 31: SW Florida Critical Mass will offer a starter/sightseeing ride on Saturday; gather at 9 a.m., roll at 9:15 a.m. from 2160 McGregor Blvd. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (
  • Friday, Jan. 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. ( or
  • Sunday, Jan. 15: Hamster Wheel 200, Peace River Riders. Rides of 32 miles, metric century, century or double century (
  • Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 20-21: 26th annual Tour de Cape, Cape Harbour Resort. 5K run Saturday, bike Sunday, distances of 15, 30, 60 and 100 miles (
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (; Florida Mudcutters (; and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Be active: It will provide a great quality of life

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 12/14/2016 

Dan Moser
Admittedly, I’m no fitness expert. But it’s quite clear to me — especially as old age steadily overwhelms my day-to-day life — that staying physically active is a key factor in quality of life. In fact, were it not for my literal addiction to running (or jogging, as is now the case) that began in the late 1970s I’m sure I would be much worse off health-wise at this point in my life. And many of my friends can attest to that fact.

When I discovered running I was a young man who had been a skinny but very active kid who enjoyed playing sports. At one point I realized I was becoming soft and sedentary — and wasn’t so skinny any more. Lucky for me the first wave of the running craze was hitting our country at that time. All one needed was a pair of running shoes (and short-shorts, of course) to take part, something even I could afford at the time.

Little did I know that when I ran my first race, the Lee Memorial Hospital 10K, in 1978, I would be hooked for life. I also had no idea at the time that becoming a runner would lead me to a lifetime of advocacy and eventually the profession I ended up choosing (“falling into” may be a better description).

Dan Moser
In the early 1980s I lived near the then newly opened Lakes Park, a place with shaded paths that were perfect for runners, even on the hottest of days. Although I was a mere mile away it was a challenge to get there. There were no sidewalks on two-lane Gladiolus Drive, a road known for being dangerous and congested as it was one of the only roads to Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach at the time. The only park entrance was on Gladiolus’s “dead man’s curve.”

And the road had deep ditches on both sides. Being in the prime of my running years I could usually traverse the ditches and unpaved shoulders myself to access Lakes Park but I realized many others couldn’t, including almost anyone on bike. Once I got back in the saddle myself as I dipped my toe in the triathlon world the lack of bike access issue hit me directly. That was enough of a reason to get me involved in the sausage-making process of transportation infrastructure and policy decision making.

Advocacy efforts were rare back then but BikeWays Lee County, being operated out of what’s now Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery, was where I first found others who were likeminded.

Undoubtedly, conditions and infrastructure have drastically improved since the early ’80s. For many who live and visit here now, it’s possible to walk, run and bike on many of our public roads in relative safety (“relative” being the key term). That being the case, based on many different sources of research data as well as my own observations and experience, those who have optimal conditions in their own neighborhoods and nearby major roadways get out there the most.

Some of the benefits of being physically active by way of providing Complete Streets — those that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities — include reducing chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease; reducing exposure to and increases in motor vehicle emissions when fewer cars are on the road; and reducing the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths.

Just as important for those who have limited access to motor vehicle transportation benefits include better access to day-to-day needs including employment, food shopping and health-supportive services. Providing this access is also a matter of social equity that any community should strive to ensure is the case.

If you want to become involved in seeing that all of our streets are Complete Streets or you have a specific location or policy in mind that you know is in need of improvement, you can look into efforts being undertaken by BikeWalkLee, Healthy Lee, Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition and others taking place here. There are many ways to be part of the solution so you’ll be able to pick and choose the best fit. But being physically active and getting out on our roads and streets is an important and necessary step, both for your own health and to experience firsthand the good, bad and ugly of our community’s infrastructure and priorities.

Please keep in mind that the tendency of our local and regional governments — and the developers who have much influence upon them — has been to focus on moving cars and trucks, oftentimes at the expense of the people who operate outside these vehicles. The only way to ensure this doesn’t remain the trend is to exert pressure on decision makers to do the right thing, which may not always benefit developers and others in it for profit. Get started by visiting ¦

- 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 and 334-6417.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

News-Press 2016 People of the Year finalists include complete street champions

At this time each year, News-Press announces the finalists for its People of the Year awards, which honor "those who have made tremendous community impacts and changes lives along the way." There are eight award categories, including Person of the Year, Trailblazer of the Year, and Young Professionals of the Year. BikeWalkLee is thrilled that several finalists are community leaders who are part of the broad-based community efforts in support of complete streets and livable communities.

BikeWalkLee especially congratulates the founder and leader of the Cape Coral Bike-Peds (CCBP)group, Carolyn Conant, who is being honored as a finalist for Trailblazer of the Year. Not only has Carolyn and the CCCBP team made Cape Coral a better place to live, their partnership with the City is a model for others throughout SWFL.  In addition, Christin Collins, who leads LMHS's health and wellness/active lifestyles initiatives, as well as serving on the Board of Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, is a finalist for Person of the Year.  Barbara Manzo, the County's past longtime Parks and Rec Director, is also a Trailblazer finalist of the Year for her successful work on the Conservation 2020 ballot referendum.  Finally Jan-Erik Hustrulid is a finalist for the Young Professional of the Year award.  Jan-Erik works for Owens-Ames-Kimball Company, which was awarded the construction contract for the Lee MPO's TIGER Complete Streets Initiative project, and Jan-Erik has been part of that team. 

Thanks to the News-Press for continuing to highlight the importance of complete streets and livable communities through its ongoing recognition of the community leaders contributing to these efforts.  BikeWalkLee was a finalist for the News-Press Hero of the Year award in 201l.  This year's winners will be announced on Feb. 21 at the News-Press awards breakfast held at FGCU.  Congratulations to all the finalists for their incredible efforts to improve our community.
News-Press Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016: Our People of the Year finalists
Below are excerpt on these four highlighted finalists:

Trailblazer of the Year Finalist: Carolyn Conant

Carolyn Conant
A long-time volunteer, Conant had a vision to offer Cape Coral cyclists, runners and walkers safe and separate pathways near busy roads to enjoy the outdoors. Her efforts helped create 90 miles of wonderful pathways called Cape Coral Bike-Peds. Conant, along with many other volunteers and community leaders, and fueled by tremendous fund-raising efforts, created these nationally-recognized city jewels that wind through the city.

In her nomination letter, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, emeritus Executive Fellow for Business Ethics for Bentley University and a Cape Coral resident, said: "And in this post-election malaise, I think it would be well to honor someone who shows that people can come together outside of partisan politics, work on an important issue together to improve our communities and accomplish much."

Person of the Year Finalist: Christin Collins [no photo in News-Press]

We received over 25 nomination letters for Collins, who not only is an ambassador for health and wellness, but also active in raising funds for Golisano Children’s Hospital and also involved with Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, the SWFL Wine & Food Festival, the Women’s Foundation, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, the PACE Center for Girls and the American Heart Association.

But it’s her work at Lee Health, which is celebrating 100 years, that is truly a game changer. She is co-chairing the second Million Mile Movement, creating an awareness for health and wellness and the movement for community members to log 1 million miles over a three-month period. She was instrumental in creating the health system’s Healthy Lifestyle Approach to Wellness and Prevention, focusing on purpose-driven living, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, stress management, mental and behavioral health.

She created a national speaker series, bringing wellness leaders from around the world to Southwest Florida. Last month, she was part of a four-person team asked to present wellness initiatives at a national conference for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Her influence also resulted in the children’s hospital reaching its $100 million goal, with the final $1 million coming from the SWFL Wine & Food Festival, where she is the co-chair. Her work also has inspired raising funds for pediatric mental and behavioral health, a department which does not yet exist but is needed at Golisano.

In one of the nomination letters, Lee Health CEO Jim Nathan and Cape Coral Hospital CAO Scott Cashman said: "She has helped make an impact locally, spreading regionally and influencing nationally. She embraces and inspires so many community leaders."

Barbara Manzo
Trailblazer of the Year Finalist: Barbara Manzo

She led an effort to inform Lee County residents of saving the county’s most important environmental program, Conservation 20/20. She was chairwomen of the Yes on Conservation 20/20 group, driven by the purpose to make sure voters in the November election approved the referendum to continue the land buying, management and conservation program, which started in 1996.

The group organized in six months and implemented a plan that started a local political committee, raised funds, established a social media campaign and a Facebook page to inform the people of the importance of this referendum. They also created a speakers bureau to meet with various groups across the county.

Jan-Erik Hustrulid
Young Professional of the Year Finalist:  Jan-Erik Hustrulid

The Business Development and Community Outreach Coordinator with the Owen-Ames-Kimball Company, he keeps a hectic and productive pace as chairman of the board for the Heights Foundation and Heights Center, as a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Lee County as a board trustee for The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, a board member for the Harry Chapin Food Bank and as a executive committee member and programming co-chair for the Southwest Florida Urban Land Institute.

His leadership efforts in various events have helped raise over $200,000 for various organizations and at-risk children. He also served on the first The News-Press Young Professionals Advisory Board this year.

As business development and outreach coordinator for the company, Hustrulid also develops new project opportunities.

He also helps mentor students at FGCU

In her nomination letter, Jeanette Baldwin of Owen-Ames-Kimball said: “He and his colleagues at Owen-Ames-Kimball Company actively support more than 50 local organizations each year by giving of their time, talents and resources.”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sanibel nearing completion of removal of STOP markings on path system

It's great to see Sanibel implement recommendations from the Nov. 2015 "Shared Use Pathway Intersection Report" by TY Lin International, including the removal of STOP markings on the Sanibel path, which is almost completed, and Council's approval this week of the placement of  "3 feet please--it's the law" decals on city vehicles. Thanks to Sanibel City Council and Staff and the Sanibel Bicycle Club for their efforts over the past 3 years to bring this project to fruition.  Thanks also to the Santiva Chronicle for its continuing coverage of Sanibel's bike/ped issues. [See links to report and previous BWL blog posts below.]

SANTIVA TODAY: City in Process of Removing STOP Markings on Shared Use Paths
Thursday, December 08, 2016
 City workers prep a "STOP" for covering on the shared use path at the intersection of Albatross and Dixie Beach roads on Wednesday, Dec. 7. SC photo by David Staver

The City of Sanibel is nearing the end of its project of covering the old “STOP” marks on the city's 25 miles of shared use paths.

“We expect to complete the project in the very near future, and the city as well as the Sanibel Bicycle Club are sure the paths will be safer as a result,” Sanibel Public Works Director Keith Williams said.
The removal of the painted “STOP” markings that were prevalent all across the island were recommended for removal in the recent study of the shared use paths by TY Lin Inc.

“Based on several days of observation of pedestrian and cyclist behavior, we noted that these messages tend to be ignored by both cyclists and pedestrians,” the TY Lin study said. “In addition, they promote user disregard for real or apparent dangers and are specially prohibited in the Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices.”

A survey of citizen input by TY Lin revealed that 85 percent of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the Lin finding that the “STOP” marking should go away.

The Lin study was realistic in its assessment. Typically, neither bicyclists nor pedestrians should be required or encouraged to stop at every driveway and street crossing,” which was the case with all the painted “STOP” markings. Lin recommended appropriate marking and signs where they are really needed.

“At some locations with high traffic volumes, limited sight distances or other constraints, half-size “STOP” signs placed specifically for bicycles and pedestrians are appropriate,” the study concluded.
“Most of the “STOP” markings have been covered,” Williams said. “The rest of them are being prepped for covering and will be gone soon.”

Three Feet Please, It's the Law

In other cycling news, the Sanibel City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday, Dec. 6, to place bumper stickers on city police cars that remind motorists that they must yield three feet to cyclists. The “Three Feet Please, It's the Law” bumper stickers were another recommendation in the TY Lin report. The stickers are already on government vehicles in Naples, Tampa and Punta Gorda and on Lee County Sheriff's vehicles, and soon they will be seen on Sanibel.

See related BikeWalkLee blogs:


Dec. 1, 2015: Sanibel City Council Approved Shared Use Path Funds; STOP Markings Going Away

Link to Nov. 2015 TY Lin International Report: Shared Use Pathway Intersection Improvement Study (see Sanibel City Council 12/1/15 Agenda item 8 for links to below documents)
  • Final shared use path report
  • Survey Matrix 
  • Shared Use Pathway Survey Matrix 
  • Survey Results
  • Shared Use Pathway Survey Results 
  • Staff Recommendations and Proposed Next Steps
  • Funding resolution for first phase implementation

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BWL Column: Find the perfect gift for runner, cyclist in your life

 It's the holiday season again and this week's BWL column provides some ideas for gift buying.

BikeWalkLee's Column in "Go Coastal" section of News-Press, Dec. 8, 2016
(Photo: petrunjela, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Looking for holiday ideas for family and friends who bike, walk or run? Look no further than their favorite fitness activity for inspiration.

It should be a no-brainer. You know they like to do the aforementioned activity – that’s why they do it. You know what they use (and therefore could use) while participating – you’ve seen them head out the door almost every day. And you know that a gift which supports their sport will be used and appreciated (at least if you make the right selections).

So what should you be looking for?

Support their fitness. There are all kinds of gadgets to let people track their activities, for example… but be sure to check that the monitor you have in mind actually tracks their action, since not all sports are included in every monitor.

Is your recipient ready to take their efforts to the next level? Why not give them the gift of a few sessions with a sport-specific coach who can help them with their form and provide the tips they may need to get better at getting down the road (or path).

And if you’ve noticed some of their gear is getting a little grotesque, help them replace the run-down with something new. (Gift cards are always an answer if you don’t know exactly what they want but you know where they want to buy it.)

Support their safety. You want to them come back home in one piece, of course… so help them stay safe by helping them be seen. Lights are a must this time of year, with less daylight and more people out and about. Walkers and runners can use flashers or head lamps, while bikers can use lights for their rides.

Attire is also key to safety, so look for something bright and something that can keep them safe from the climate, too. Hats, jackets and gloves (don’t laugh, hands get cold this time of year) are good options.

You can keep them safe out on the road, too – by making it easier for first responders to act should something go awry. Buy them a subscription such as Road ID, an ID system that allows you to have all your health and other pertinent info online and accessible to first responders – all in a handy bracelet with options for every sport and preference.

Support their fun. Does your walker or runner need some tunes to keep them motivated? Help them buy new music to download, or upgrade their earphones to something easier to use or better to listen with.

Since your cyclist should not be riding with headphones (the better to hear approaching traffic), look for something unique for their ride. Perhaps something to customize their cycle, or a carrier to make carrying things easier. In the spirit of the season, get them some battery-operated lights with which to decorate their bike.

Perhaps it’s a good time to swing by your local bike shop or running store, to see what’s out there and be inspired in your gift selection (not to mention finding something for yourself). Lots of good ideas, and you’ll help support some local small businesses to boot!

Maybe give them the best gift of all… more time to walk, run or ride (by offering to do something to free them up) or, better yet, more time with you (by joining them in their run or ride a few more times in the months ahead).

-- Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at
Critical Mass for Christmas?

Looking for something different to celebrate the holidays? Consider joining the Crappy Sweater and Cookie Ride being offered by SWFL Critical Mass on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Join up with the Mass at 7 p.m. at 2180 McGregor Blvd., then roll out at 7:30 p.m. for a slow ride through downtown Fort Myers to enjoy the decorations. Some of the best lights may be on the bikes themselves, as riders are encouraged to light up their rides for the season – and you can expect some stellar work.

You can also bring a holiday treat to share, as the group will amass back at the starting lot for post-ride festivities.

It’s a slow ride, so everyone can keep up. But it’s at night, so lights are a must (loaners available) and helmets are strongly encouraged (more protection than a Santa hat). Crappy sweaters are optional, but recommended. Find out more on Facebook.

Ready to ride or run?

Run: Collier County has all the upcoming action, with a Naples 5K and Marco 5-milers on Dec. 17 after a Dec. 10 5K ( and All are good training for the River Roots and Ruts half marathon at Caloosahatchee Regional Park on Jan. 8.

Ride: Critical Mass rules, with rides in NE Lee (Friday), Sanibel (Saturday) and Estero (Dec. 16) prior to the Xmas ride in downtown Fort Myers on Dec. 17. Details at or on Facebook.

Both: Get ready for the Christmas with a sprint tri (or duathlon) on Dec. 18 at Sugden Regional Park, Naples (


Congratulations to the Sanibel City Council for joining the "3 feet please" campaign. A big thank you to the Sanibel Bicycle Club for recommending and advocating for this action to improve the safety of cyclists on Sanibel roadways.
At the Dec. 6, 2016 Sanibel City Council approved the Sanibel Bicycle Club's request that the City place "3 feet please, it's the law" decals on all Sanibel city vehicles.  Sanibel joins other area communities and agencies in the campaign to raise motorists' awareness of Florida law requiring drivers to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on a roadway. 

The "3 feet please--it's the law" campaign has been underway in SWFL since 2010, resulting in Lee County government, LeeTran, Lee County Sheriff's office, the cities of Naples, Punta Gorda, Tampa, and now Sanibel, placing these decals on their police and other government vehicles.  [See BWL's 2013 column about the initiative. ] Discussions are underway in both the cities of Cape Coral and Fort Myers to follow suit.  In addition, the Sanibel Bicycle Club, BikeWalkLee, SWFL Critical Mass, and bike shops, including Billy's Bikes and Bike Bistro, have been distributing these decals to cyclists and citizens for placement on their vehicles. [See BikeWalkLee's Jan. 17, 2016 blog story: "Promote the "3 Feet Please--it's the law" bike safety campaign.] 

In addition, Sanibel's  November 2015 "Shared Use Pathway Intersection Safety Report" by TY Lin International consultants (a study undertaken in 2014 by the City of Sanibel at Council's request), recommended that the City, as part of its community education program, place these bumper stickers on City vehicles to remind motorists of their obligations to cyclists on the roadways.

In comments submitted by the Sanibel Bicycle Club to the Sanibel City Council in support of this proposal, it stated that "Bike Club members are aware of many instances on Sanibel where this law was violated, apparently in deliberate efforts to convince cyclists to move to the shared use path, even though cyclists have the legal right to operate on the roads.  Such acts have placed cyclists in physical danger."

Mayor Ruane also brought to the Council's attention that these "3 feet please" decals were on the 3 cruisers that Lee County Sheriff's Office recently loaned to the City of Sanibel after the on-island police shooting incident. The Council voted 4-1 to direct the city staff to place these decals on city vehicles.  

Kudos to Mayor Ruane and City Council members for their support.  A big "thank you" also goes to the Sanibel Bicycle Club for recommending and advocating for this initiative as part of its ongoing bike/ped safety campaign.

If you want to join the "3 feet please--it's the law" campaign by putting a decal on your car, contact one of the organizations mentioned above that are distributing the decals; or place your own order for decals directly.  [See instructions in the Jan.17th BWL blog post.]
 Report by Darla Letourneau