Sunday, June 3, 2018

BikeWalkLee's Letter to Estero Council on Estero Parkway Options

On May 29th, BWL issued an action alert re: Estero Council's upcoming June 6th decision on the Estero Parkway design.  On June 1st, BWL sent a letter to the Estero Village Council with its comments on the Estero Parkway Options (see below).  Communicate your preference to Estero Council members in several ways:  complete the ECCL survey by Monday, June 4th (Estero residents only); attend the June 6th Council meeting (starting at 9:30 a.m.) to speak during public comment period; and/or write, call or meet with Estero Council members before June 6th. For background on the two options, click here.  Click here for letter to Council from Dr. Margaret Banyan, author of the FGCU Estero Infrastructure Study, requested by Estero Council in 2015. Click here for Streets Alive of SWFL's letter to Council, both in support of the complete streets approach (Option 2).
June 1, 2018

Village of Estero Council
9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle 
Estero, FL 33928

Dear Mayor Boesch and Council Members:
BikeWalkLee is a volunteer countywide coalition advocating for complete streets. With Lee County being ranked as the most dangerous area in the country for pedestrians, it is clear that our roadways are dangerous by designand local governments must begin to design our streets for safety, which is what the complete streets approach is all about. 
As the Village Council gets ready to vote on the final design for Estero Parkway, BikeWalkLee would like to communicate its strong support for Option 2—the 2-lane complete streetsoption.  Our overriding priority is safety and Option 2 is the only option before you that is designed to make the roadway safer for all users—pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike.  Option 2 also best supports the new FDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan and the Villages original vision of Estero Parkway as a signature project that will serve as a model street for the Village.
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 bikes 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.  Again, we believe that Option 2 best balances the needs of all users.
The roundabouts in Option 2 are key components to slowing down the traffic and making the roads safer for everyone.  Research has proven that roundabouts are safer—there is a 35% overall decrease in crashes; a 76% decrease in injury crashes; and a 71% to 81% decrease in fatal/incapacitating crashes for single lane roundabouts. As then FDOT District 1 Secretary Billy Hattaway told the MPO Board and the Bonita Springs City Council in 2015, there is often opposition to roundabouts from businesses and the public before installation.  According to Hattaway, 75% of the public is opposed to roundabouts before installation, and as soon as the roundabouts go in, it flips to 75% support of them. FDOT promotes the use of roundabouts and has developed an informational guide for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists about roundabouts: FDOT Brochure: A guide to Roundabouts (One-Lane)
Option 1—the 4-lane option will essentially make Estero Parkway another highway in Lee Countyone designed to prioritize and move vehicles as fast as possible.  Research has proven that speed kills, especially for vulnerable road users.  Not only will the highwaywith virtually no traffic calming features be less safe, it ignores the needs of those bike riders (whether children, seniors, or others) that are not comfortable riding on the road.  Only installing narrow sidewalks (as called for in Option 1) means that the needs of these types of bike riders and their safety are not being addressed.  As the Village continues to grow and change demographically, if Option 1 is adopted, in a few years the Village will inevitably face citizen demands for a wider path so it can be used safely by both walkers and bikers.  It’s much more cost effective to install wider paths now.  According to the MPO, the costs of retrofitting will be 5 to 10 times the cost of doing it right the first time.something that many communities throughout Lee County have learned the hard (and expensive) way.   Finally, Option 1 is essentially more of the samewhich means that the Village will lose its once in a lifetime opportunity to create the promised model street that could help define the Village as a walkable/bikeable/livable community that is a place where people want to live, work, and play. The option that is chosen for Estero Parkway will help define the future of Estero.

Thank you for considering our views.  We appreciate the efforts that the Village has made to consider a range of options and to invite public participation throughout the past 2+ years. We hope as leaders that you will take all of this into consideration and choose Option 2 in order to do what is best for the safety of all residents now and well into the future.
Darla Letourneau and Doug Saxton
on behalf of BikeWalkLee
cc: Steven Sarkozy, Village Manager
      David Willems, Public Works Director
FDOT Brochure: A guide to Roundabouts (One-Lane)

FHWA brochure concerning roundabouts and 1st responders

No comments:

Post a Comment

BikeWalkLee is not responsible for the validity of any comment posted at this site and has the right to remove any comment at any time.