Complete Streets Program moving forward in county
The Complete Streets Program resolution, which will integrate bicycling, walking and public transit within the county transportation system, was approved by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting.
The agenda item attracted various community members to commission chambers to speak out on how important it is for Lee County to have a safe infrastructure in place for those who are not traveling by motor vehicle.
Wayne Drexler, of Smart Growth, said that when the committee was first set up, it established goals including land use, natural resources and community character for those traveling by foot or bike.
He said it is about connecting the destination with one’s travel, which includes all means of transportation.
Commissioner Brian Bigelow said he was touched by many of the comments the audience made at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting.
“I am really encouraged of what we are doing today because it will now be a requirement,” he said. “We can’t keep building to accommodate the cars to the exclusion of other means of transportation.”
“It is a grass-roots effort,” Bigelow said. “I would really like to applaud everyone who has been involved.”
Commissioner Frank Mann said the resolution should have been adopted 50 years ago.
Many residents who spoke addressed the safety issue they face when riding bikes or walking.
Mann said that when the county adopts the resolution, “it’s going to be a long time” before the streets are safe.
“(So) we can’t start flooding a bunch of bicycles out there or pedestrians on U.S. 41 or Palm Beach Blvd,” he said. “I would hope that folks who ride bicycles wear the brightest colored clothes.”
Mann added that bicyclists should have antennas that stick up above their heads with a flag or a flashing marker while out riding.
“Be careful out there,” he said.
Commissioner Ray Judah said the Smart Growth Committee has “done a phenomenal job.”
He said the county is conducting a survey of Estero Boulevard on Fort Myers Beach to determine what kind of enhancements need to be done for walkers and bicyclists.
A plan has been provided by the Smart Growth Committee to show the board an example of how the Complete Streets resolution can be accomplished.
The committee has made recommendations for policy and implementations since 2002, with the majority of them being adopted by commissioners.
The Complete Streets effort hopes to have a multi-modal system that connects residential areas to likely destination areas for bicyclists and walkers.