Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Public input requested on Estero Parkway Improvement project

Do you want to make Estero Parkway a model complete street that demonstrates how one roadway can be redesigned to make it safer for all road users, esp. pedestrians and cyclists? If so, we need you to participate NOW in the Estero Parkway Improvement project getting underway in the Village of Estero, first by completing the Village's online survey about some of the options.

The Village of Estero is moving forward with plans to improve safety on Estero Parkway for all modes of transportation including vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians and are looking for your input. On May 22nd, the Village website posted the following message.
You can help design an improved Estero Parkway
The Village has developed a new webpage dedicated to the Estero Parkway Improvement Project so that you can be part of the planning process.

You may use this page to fill out the Resident Input Survey, prioritizing your selections for layout of the road, bike paths and landscaping. (link to Survey)

In addition, you may read about previous meetings where the project was discussed, see dates of upcoming meetings, review public presentations and, once the project has started, review the timeline for project completion.

Estero Parkway was selected as the Village’s first capital improvement project due to safety concerns with this heavily traveled road which has deteriorating pavement, missing sidewalks and a lack of bike paths.

Before starting this important project, the Village wants to hear how residents would prioritize the improvements to this major roadway.

The Village wants to make sure the community is engaged in the overall planning process as this project will set a precedent for upcoming projects

If there is any information you would like to see included regarding this project, please call 239-221-5035 or send an email to


In March, at a Village Council workshop, council members reviewed the staff's proposed approach for developing the Estero Parkway Improvement project. BikeWalkLee sent a letter to the Village Council recommending a holistic complete streets approach for planning Estero Pkwy improvements, rather than the staff's proposed approach of treating as separate projects--the road, the off-road bike/ped facilities, and beautification ((landscaping, signage, and lighting). To create a complete street, all these components are part of the whole and must be designed together.

Here are a couple of key excerpts from the BWL letter:

"To create a "complete street" all these components are part of the whole and must be designed together. For example, roadway medians and landscaping designs are tools for traffic calming, not just aesthetics. In order for landscaping to enhance the safety of the roadway for all users, the choice of type of vegetation and its location need to be safety-driven. To determine the best mix of tools for traffic calming, all the tools--hardscape, streetscape, and landscape--must be considered together throughout the design process. "

" Streets play an enormous role in determining a place's quality of life. While people may not know the term "complete street", they know the characteristics of their favorite streets-- streets with tree canopy and attractive landscaping; safe, comfortable and shady places to walk and bike buffered from traffic; moderate traffic speeds, safe ways to cross the street, and inviting places to be for all kinds of uses. The holistic and integrated planning of a roadway (the entire right-of-way public space) is context sensitive and reflects balance among the needs of the various users."

See BWL's extensive blog with links from the March Council discussion.

Although no formal action was taken by the Council, the implementation plan as presented at the March meeting has proceeded, meaning that the 3 components of the project (road, off road bike/ped, and beautification) are not being designed together. At the May 17th Council meeting the project consultant made a presentation on only the road project, including various options for the width of travel lanes and bike lanes. BikeWalkLee is pleased to see that Alternative 3 (11 foot travel lanes and 7 foot bike lanes) reflects FDOT's new Complete Streets Policy.    (See consultant presentation)

BWL’s Estero rep Doug Saxton sent an email to the Village Council and Village Manager on May 22nd (link email) articulating our concerns and questions about how this project is being designed and asked that there be an opportunity for an evening public interactive workshop to get input on the various alternatives under consideration.
BWL's Doug Saxton at Village Council

Below is a key excerpt from the letter:

While we are pleased to see the Village following FDOT's new complete streets design standards for bike lanes, a complete streets approach would be holistic--considering how all the pieces interact (roadway, shared use path, landscaping, traffic calming, etc.) and choosing the package that best meets the goals of safety for all users and for connectivity purposes. If Alternative 3 is chosen as the choice for resurfacing and striping of the road, what is the impact on that choice for the options to be considered for the shared use path? Does it rule out the option of a linear park? Does it imply less landscaping buffer, etc.? Does it preclude roundabouts? What options does it foreclose with respect to crosswalks and traffic calming treatments? If the iterative planning approach isn't modified, can this roadway decision be modified once the alternatives for shared use paths are considered? And same question regarding landscaping? Will there be an opportunity to make this a model complete street even if you don't take the needed holistic approach? 

Complete Village's Online Survey
Your opinion matters. It is important that Village Council and staff hear from citizens that there is a desire for a complete street approach on Estero Pkwy. It is also important to realize that this is not just about Estero Pkwy. --the design of Estero Parkway will serve as the template for future road roadway projects in the Village.

BikeWalkLee encourages you to fill out this online survey, which asked you to vote on several options.  Because no explanation for any of these options are provided, we suggest that you read both the March and May BWL letters before you fill out the survey. While there are options for the width of the bike lanes, there are no options presented on the off-road bike/ped facilities (sidewalk, shared use path, linear park). As you review the options, please consider all users of the road, whether you are strictly a driver or you would love to bike and/or walk if you had a safe environment. The context of Complete Streets is that everyone is far safer when we each have our own space on the road.

There are also a series of questions asking you to rank order your interest in 4 criteria:
  • Safety
  • Beautification/landscaping
  • Cost
  • Speed of project completion
Clearly, BikeWalkLee places the highest priority on safety.

At the end, there is a section inviting your questions/comments/concerns, which we encourage you to fill out, since so much is lacking from this survey. Below are some additional thoughts for your consideration:

• The public should be solicited for input once the entire project has been presented and only after everyone has had a chance to see the options and talk to consultants at public workshop.

• Lane diet to help calm vehicle speeds closer to the 45 mph posted speed limit.

• Note: Three Oaks Pkwy is already 11’ with a speed limit of 45 mph. Narrowing the travel lanes on Estero Pkwy will not affect the capacity or speed limit.

• Wide bike lane 6-7’ to accommodate bicyclists that prefer to ride along the road for added visibility.

• Wide shared use path (off the road) of 10-12’ or linear park to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

• Other traffic calming measures such as roundabouts and landscaping. Potential roundabout locations on Estero Pkwy are:
• Cypress View and the Rookery community
• The Reserve and Cascades communities
• Walmart entrance/exit onto Estero Pkwy
• Street lighting for safety for those that bike or walk at night

Please share this with your friends utilizing any and all forms of social media so we can get the word out to people who live, work, or play in Estero, including FGCU students and facility.  You may also wish to send a letter to the Village Manager and/or Village Council members about your ideas and/or concerns related to the Estero Parkway Improvement project. (Steven Sarkozy:

It is unclear what the next steps in the project are, but we'll keep you posted as soon as we hear about them. If you have any questions, please contact Doug Saxton:

Report by Doug Saxton and Darla Letourneau

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