The TIGER project is making a difference. Our streets are becoming more pedestrian- and bicycle friendly: Dan Moser in the Florida Weekly.
Florida Weekly Outdoors section: Dan Moser's column June 29, 2016
What does $10 million mean for local efforts to complete our streets? When all the work is done there’ll be 13 miles of additional bike lanes and shared-use pathways from Colonial Boulevard to the north, SR 82 to the east, and south to the Collier County line. The USDOT award also includes 11 new LeeTran bus shelters, most of which are already constructed and open for use. Here’s a summary of the subprojects:
¦ Tour de Parks route: Two new shared use pathway segments on Daniels Parkway, a new bike lane on Six Mile Cypress Parkway, and a shared-use path on Colonial.
¦ University Loop/San Carlos Park: New sidewalk segments on Constitution Boulevard, Iris Road, Constitution Circle, Sanibel Boulevard and Lee Road.
¦ Bi-County Connector: New bikelanes on Corkscrew Road and a shared use path and two sidewalks around FGCU’s main entrance roadway.
¦ Transit access improvements: 11 passenger waiting shelters and 20 concrete landing pads with associated ADA access infrastructure.
It took three attempts but was well worth the time and effort committed by many individuals and agencies, including BikeWalkLee. The application was formally submitted by Lee Metropolitan Planning Organization, the agency that serves as the critical link connecting all of our local governments and citizens to the Florida Department of Transportation and the various Federal transportation funders.
Lee MPO is now the manager of the funds, which have a specific deadline for all work to be completed. At this point it’s looking like each of the sub-projects will be done along with an added benefit not originally included in the application.
Thanks to some of the sub-projects coming in below estimates there was a surplus of dollars that will be put to good use: a wayfinding element was submitted and recently approved by USDOT. Signs and markings will be added throughout the project’s geographic limits and will be the first phase of enhancing the entire bike/ped network throughout Lee County. Eventually, with other funds yet to be identified, anyone will be able to access routes, directions, and maps electronically via GPS apps. Unrelated to TIGER funds, our hard-copy bike map will be updated and published once all TIGER project work is complete.
Wayfinding is clearly a basic element of any transportation network so having the funds available to add it at least throughout the project’s geographic limits is welcome. That being said, I’ve noticed shortcomings in some of the gap-filling. At least in some cases, existing substandard segments are left in place so 8-, 10- or 12-foot wide asphalt shared-use paths narrow to 5-foot concrete sidewalks then go back to asphalt SUPs. As well, at some intersections the existing pedestrian-designed configuration remains, meaning SUPs skinny down to 5 feet and have severe 90-degree turns in them, making it very difficult for bicyclists to navigate. Refuge areas for bicyclists waiting to cross is also very limited in these cases since the design assumes pedestrian traffic only.
On major highways like Colonial and Daniels there’s significantly more bicycle traffic so infrastructure should accommodate both modes. More information on TIGER in Lee County can be found at leecompletestreets.leempo.com and bikewalklee.blogspot.com.
Fort Myers Track Club needs your help
Our area’s oldest running club and most accomplished race organizer and facilitator is in need of volunteers to help with the many elements necessary to make these events happen at the high level they’re well known for since being established in 1978.
FMTC is looking for communityminded individuals interested in serving on the board of directors, designing and marking race courses, working on electronic registration and race day timing and assisting in race day tasks.
Whether you’re a runner, former runner or just interested in running, consider becoming part of the FMTC leadership team and worker-bee family. You can contact them at email@example.com or visit their website (ftmyerstrackclub.com) or Facebook pages.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and 334- 6417.