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Advocate for safer shared use paths

By Staff | Jan 12, 2011

To the editor,

The possibility of a new shared use path along Dunlop and Wooster roads was anticipated with excitement by many Sanibel residents who frequent this busy area containing the Library, City Hall, the Historical Village and BIG Arts. Last month, all these groups agreed that a safer path system was a necessity. But even with six options to choose from, no consensus could be reached on which plan would be best. Even though the Island Reporter responded by accurately reviewing the events that took place at City Hall last week, unfortunately they came to the false conclusion that no improvements were needed in this area.

These roads have already been referred to as a shared use path, since they have always been used by a mix of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. In this heavily traveled area, this is nothing more than a recipe for disaster. Police Chief Tomlinson said that he gave the area an “F” as far as safety was concerned.

This is a safety issue! Anyone who has driven this stretch of road is well aware of the narrow divided lanes where visibility is often obstructed by the “lush, natural canopy” and sharp curves. And with these blind spots and confusion about which driveway to turn into, occasionally a car will actually head down the wrong lane. With the hundreds of people converging on BIG Arts from a variety of parking lots on both sides of the road, the safety of these patrons often walking in a darkened area should be the primary concern of any proposal suggested.

The Sanibel Bicycle Club has always been an island-wide advocate for safer shared use paths and it was our hope that a separate path to link all of these heavily used locations would come to fruition. Accomplishing the section from St. Michael’s Church on Periwinkle to the Library on Dunlop will be an important step, but let’s not let the rest of the project die because of the inability to come to a viable agreement.

Mary L. Miller

President, Sanibel Bicycle Club