This week’s Moser column is the beginning of a series that will shine spotlight on worst streets for pedestrians and cyclists in Lee County, with first focus on Hanson Street in central Fort Myers.
Vulnerable road users put at risk on our Streets of Shame
Florida weekly sept 18, 2013
It’s no secret that far too many of our streets, roads and highways lack adequate accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. Sometimes there’s minimal motor vehicle traffic volume and low speeds so it’s not necessarily a problem, especially on local residential streets. But a significant number have just the opposite dynamics yet are frequented by vulnerable users who have no choice but to put themselves at risk on a regular basis. In fact, some are so bad that these public ways should be considered “Streets of Shame.” So, beginning with this column, I’m going to identify the most egregious examples in the hope the controlling municipalities do what’s necessary to make them safe and accessible for all users.
The first Street of Shame is most of Hanson Street between U.S. 41 and Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in central Fort Myers. This is a prime example of government failing its residents. For a number of reasons, it’s a head scratcher as to why it’s been neglected for so long, but particularly because Hanson Street is identified as a primary east-west bicycle/ pedestrian corridor, as defined in the city of Fort Myers bike/ped master plan, which was approved in 2007. It takes only one visit to the street to see that the need is real and immediate.
Hanson near Broadway
Also troubling is that rather than focusingf on this existing critical need, the cityc ds is instead spending money to plan, design and eventually build an extension of Hanson Street from its current easterne terminus at Veronica Shoemaker BoulevardB that will primarily serve the purpose of opening up more currently inaccessible property to development.