Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6th: Dan Moser’s Column: Public Participation Makes a Difference

Florida Weekly "Outdoor" Section, April 6, 2016
 Dan Moser's column today shows the difference that citizens can make in improving walking and biking in their community, updating his earlier story on the Meadow Park issue. As a result of citizens' organized efforts, all parties (residents, the developer, and the city of Fort Myers) came together and found a way to keep access open for non-motorists. The agreement still has to be formally adopted by City..stay tuned for info on the public hearings. Kudos to the residents who organized this successful effort.
  It ain’t always pretty. A lot like sausage making, the civic engagement process is often just as unappealing. But also like sausage, the final product can turn out to be quite good. A few columns ago I wrote of the potential loss of a popular and crucial non-motorized access for nearby residents as well as the many others who use an exclusive bike/ped access as part of their route between McGregor Boulevard and Summerlin Road and points south and east. Meadow Park Drive is a street that originally connected to Park Shore Circle in the Hamlet neighborhood, creating an alternate route between McGregor and Colonial Boulevard at Summerlin.

When the Midpoint Bridge was coming into being well over a decade ago, motor traffic became overwhelming, making the residential neighborhood a dangerous place to walk, bike and even drive. To preserve the quality of life for residents the city closed Meadow Park Drive to motor vehicles but left bike/ ped access, a wise and forward-thinking move. Since the time of that action, much has happened with the road and adjacent undeveloped property, including Meadow Park Drive being given over to the original developer, who has since sold the property — including the cul-de-sac road — to another developer.

Lagg Avenue is an example of bike/ped access being overlooked
when closed at Colonial Boulevard
When it became known that the new property owner had no plans to continue to allow the bike/ped access as part of their development, residents protested and took action by getting involved in the development’s approval process. They organized and because of their efforts, all parties — residents, the developer, and the city  of Fort Myers — came together and were able to work out what appears to be a way to keep access open for non-motorists.

This deal will also benefit the eventual owners of the properties within the new development by providing them with the same access, as well as by increasing the value of their homes because of it being a walkable and bikeable neighborhood, something that’s a great demand in today’s housing market. The goodwill created will also be very beneficial to the developer.

The deal hasn’t been formally adopted but there’s agreement by all parties that this is a workable solution. The formal approval process begins with the city planning board before eventually going to public hearings at city council meetings. Meeting dates, times and agendas for the McGregor Oaks PUD can be found at

Bike-friendly Cape Coral

Continuing its efforts to move up and become a Silver-level Bike Friendly Community, Cape Coral is developing the city’s first bicycle and pedestrian master plan and seeks your help and input. An interactive community workshop is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at the Cape Coral Public Works Building Green Room, 815 Nicholas Parkway East. There’s also an opportunity to provide input without attending. The city’s website,, has an interactive map that “allows you to note walking or biking issues and/or make comments on improvements to the network you’d like to see, such as a particular bike route you’d like built, attention to a missing link, etc. The results will be used to identify and prioritize projects during the planning process.”

TIGER update

Readers of this column will recall the many mentions I’ve made of the $10 million TIGER grant we received to enhance our bike/ped network, primarily in the south central and south county area. Because there has been little to no information on progress shared with the public up to this point, you may not be aware that work is well underway.

Specifically, in the San Carlos Park neighborhood; on the University Loop and Tour de Parks route; along and on Six-Mile Cypress Parkway, Colonial Boulevard and Daniels Parkway; and primarily along U.S. 41, where new bus shelters are being added. Wayfinding will also be part of the project.

Dan Moser is a long- time bicycle/ pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Read more at bikewalklee. Contact him at and 334- 6417.

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