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Sanibel recognized as ‘Complete Streets Champion’ for public biking and walking paths

By Staff | Dec 12, 2013

The City of Sanibel and the Sanibel Bicycle Club were recognized by BikeWalkLee as the 2013 “Complete Streets Champion of the Year.” Pictured above, the five members of City Council, Marty Harrity, Mick Denham, Mayor Kevin Ruane, Vice-Mayor Doug Congress, and Jim Jennings, city staff, City Manager Judie Zimomra, and Darla Letourneau from BikeWalkLee. Mckenzie Cassidy.

The City of Sanibel and the Sanibel Bicycle Club were selected as the 2013 “Complete Streets Champions of the Year” by BikeWalkLee.

City officials, staff, and members of the Sanibel Bicycle Club were recognized at the Dec. 3 meeting of City Council by Darla Letourneau from BikeWalkLee. The award was presented in honor of the city’s dedication to creating and maintaining a walkable and bikeable community.

“I am proud of what they have done,” said Letourneau. “It’s really a combination of many years of work.”

BikeWalkLee, a countywide organization with the goal of improving conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, has added 149 miles of walking and biking paths across Lee County in the last three years.

It recognized the City of Sanibel for developing the Sanibel Shared Use Path Master Plan, implementing the plan by expanding the path system, implementing the crosswalk study, conducting a survey on path users for accurate data, and educating the public on safety.

The Sanibel Bicycle Club was also commended for its ongoing safety campaign through public service announcements in The Islander, a public biking map, and safety tips hung across the city paths.

Letourneau recognized City Council, Mayor Kevin Ruane, and City Manager Judie Zimomra for their leadership and commitment over the past six years. She said the master plan has been instrumental in the process and often uses it as a role model for other communities.

“The master plan was a really good document, but the process that got us there was just as important. Unlike many plans, this one didn’t go on the shelf. That’s one of the reasons this is a role model for he rest of the county. Sanibel has demonstrated not only how to adopt a master plan but how to use it to actually implement it,” she said.

The city also promotes alternate means of attending festivals or events in order to reduce traffic on the island. Many of the shoppers at the Farmers Market, for instance, ride bicycles with baskets to carry their produce or merchandise.

In 2010, the city was the first Southwest Florida community to be designated a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists. The City of Cape Coral was also honored this year with the same award.

For more information on BikeWalkLee, visit bikewalklee.org.