Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bonita Springs makes safe paths for biking, walking a priority

Thanks to Bonita Springs Deputy Mayor, Peter O'Flinn, for writing this article for the
 Naples Daily News that updates the citizens on what the City is doing to make Bonita
Springs a safer place for walking and biking.
Naples Daily News, May 22, 2019
Bonita Springs makes safe paths for biking, walking a priority

By Peter R. O’Flinn, deputy mayor of Bonita Springs

Safe pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians support quality of life and healthy living. They are proven attractors of good economic development.
However, there is another, more important reason, why safe pathways have become a priority in Bonita Springs. Unfortunately, Florida has consistently topped the most dangerous list in the national Dangerous by Design report, and the Lee County area has ranked among the most dangerous in Florida.
Peter O'Flinn, Deputy Mayor, Bonita Springs
That’s a designation Bonita Springs must have zero tolerance for. Terry Street between U.S. 41 and Old 41 Road has been selected as the city’s first priority on its bike/pedestrian master plan.
The goal of the West Terry Street Project is to have something special — a transformative project to serve as a template for future improvements in town. It will include a wide, shaded pathway for recreational bikers and pedestrians, replacing the narrow sidewalk on Terry Street’s north side, near the Bonita Springs Middle School. An expanded roadway will allow better separation of road bikers and automobiles, enhancing safety for all. 

Rendering of bike and walking path alongside Terry Street in Bonita Springs,
subject to final design.

Members of the Pelican Landing and Bonita Bay bike clubs, and the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian advisory group, have shared safety ideas with design professionals from Alta Planning, the national firm engaged by Bonita Springs. Groups like the Blue Zones Project, BikeWalkLee and BonitaEstero Safetravelways have provided important insight.

The West Terry Street design plans are 90% complete, and the project has received the required clearances from the South Florida Water Management District. Construction is anticipated to start in late summer, with completion anticipated in the mid-winter of 2019/2020.
Terry Street in Bonita Springs as it looks today
Other priority projects include the creation of a new east-west route, north of the Terry Street roundabout, so that students living in Rosemary Park can better access the middle school; and building a pathway along Terry Street east of Imperial Parkway and over I-75 toward the YMCA, Bonita Nature Place and Cullum’s Bonita Trail.
We are also working with our friends in Estero, and the railroad owners, on the possibility of a pathway along the railroad right-of-way from Bonita Beach Road to Estero Parkway.
The funding for future flood control projects is, of course, Bonita’s top priority, but we are assiduously working to fund pathway projects. For example, we have applied for a federal BUILD grant for the extension of the Terry Street project eastward. Our city staff, with the help of volunteer residents, has garnered more than one-half million dollars in grants for the West Terry Street Project.


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