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Bike-lane conversion plan advances
One lane each way from Cape Coral to Veterans


By Don Ruane
druane@news-press.com
Originally posted on October 19, 2006


A $60,000 project to convert 7.5 miles of traffic lanes to bike lanes won support from four Cape Coral City Council members Wednesday.The plan would convert a lane in each direction on portions of Surfside Boulevard, Beach and Gleason parkways. It still needs approval from the full council, but the four votes represent a majority. Councilman Mickey Rosado is sitting out this month during an investigation into whether he violated the city charter and used his official position for personal gain. The result of the project will be a bike route that runs from Cape Coral Parkway to Veterans Parkway, Mayor Eric Feichthaler said. If traffic increases, the lanes may be reclaimed, he said. "If we need capacity, road needs will take precedence over bike lanes," Feichthaler said. The plan was discussed during the council's Transportation Advisory Commission meeting. The commission, composed of the four council members, reviews transportation issues to provide guidance to the rest of the council. The lanes probably won't be needed for traffic for another 10 years, said transportation manager Steve Neff. Residents in western Cape Coral supported the changes in a survey conducted by the city's transportation division. Of 140 responses, 137 favored the project. The Sands Boulevard portion received the strongest support with 43 favorable comments.

"We want to ride in our neighborhood. Having the bike lanes there will make it a lot safer to ride in our neighborhood as well as the potential to go farther," said Herb Schneider of the Sands Area Neighborhood Improvement Association. Councilwomen Dolores Bertolini and Alex LePera said they would give reluctant support but doubted the conversion of a lane in each direction would improve safety. "I really don't like bike lanes. They give an artificial sense of security. I would prefer them to be bike paths off the street," Le-Pera said.

Bertolini said the survey sample was small and she doesn't want bicyclists to get too close to traffic. Surfside Boulevard resident Jean Morano, however, said bicyclists will have more room between them and traffic than they have now. People should ride on neighborhood streets, not major roads, said Councilman Richard Stevens. Converting traffic lanes to bicycling won't solve the safety issues, he said. The mayor said he likes the project because it fills the bike lane gaps between Cape Coral Parkway and Veterans Parkway.

Bertolini had doubts. "I'm not interested in connectivity going from one end of Cape Coral to the other," Bertolini said. LePera supported the concept. "People shouldn't have to ride around their neighborhood. They should be able to get someplace," LePera said.

BIKE LANES
These road segments might be converted from four lanes to two lanes of traffic and two bike lanes.
• Surfside Boulevard from Veterans Parkway to Gleason Parkway
• Surfside from Gleason to Beach Parkway
• Beach Parkway from Surfside to Sands Boulevard
• Sands Boulevard from Beach Parkway to Cape Coral Parkway
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