Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Bike/Ped actions at 2/19/2010 MPO Meeting
At the February 19th Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)local elected officials voted unanimously in support of BikeWalkLee's proposal that when the next round of federal highway stimulus funds comes, a minimum of 5 percent of the funds FODT receives for Lee County (on the state project ready list) be set aside for stand alone bike/ped projects. In addition, 43 of the 44 top priorities on the local project ready list are bike/ped projects. When (and if) Congress enacts a Jobs Bill, Lee County will see more sidewalks and bike facilities constructed. Kudos to the MPO members for demonstrating their strong commitment to making progress on improving bike/ped facilities with stimulus funds.
The MPO Board spent over an hour in a conversation with Dan Moser and FDOT and LeeDOT officials about planned bike/ped improvements through interstate interchanges--I-75/Bonita Beach Road Interchange; I-75/Colonial Blvd. Interchange; and I-75/SR 78 Interchange. Although transportation officials have determined that they cannot put on-road biking facilities on any of these 3 locations, they have agreed to put 10 ft. bike path (concrete) on both sides of the Bonita Beach Rd. interchange, 8-10 ft. bike path (asphalt) on both sides of the Colonial interchange (LCDOT to check to see if 10 ft. is possible--currently only planned for 8 ft.). The SR 78 interchange still has no facilities but they are planning to request separate funding for sidewalks in that area.
At Fort Myers Councilman Flanders' suggestion, the Board adopted a motion to request FDOT to make crosswalks in these interchange areas more pronounced where the path crosses the road (to the extent possible by the federal guidelines). Although the motion pertained only to these interchange, the conversation was a broad message to transportation planners that high visibility crosswalks should be installed throughout the county, and Commissioner Hall asked the MPO committees to come up with consistent policies for safety at crosswalks.
BikeWalkLee will continue to push for accommodating cyclists and pedestrians to the fullest extent possible as early in the planning process as possible. Progress is being made. Thanks to Chairman Judah for bringing these issues before the MPO Board for discussion.