Community calls for bike paths

Posted at 7:07 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 11:06:59-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Some Cape Coral citizens asking 'what's the hold up," Thursday, when it comes to some seriously needed multi-use paths.

A proposed pathway would connect Burnt Store Road/Veterans Parkway to Stringfellow Road on Pine Island. Residents told Fox 4 the shoulder in place isn't enough to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, and people in wheelchairs. "I have gone down that road a number of times and your whole bike ride, your whole adventure, is just making sure you stay on your side of the line," said Mike Shevlin, petitioner for the project.

Dr. Ileana Sisson has also been involved with the petitioning. She pointed out several hazards when it came to the current state of the road. "You would have to be a really skilled cyclist and have a mountain bike to be able to go over this," she said pointing to a ditch on the designated shoulder of the road. "If you have a bicycle with thin wheels, you cannot go over this. I do both, I am a competitive cyclist myself."

She also pointed our drains that could cause falls for bicyclists riding over or even people walking.

The project to build a path big enough for cyclists and pedestrians has been talked about for the last few years, but beginning stages are not slated to begin until 2021. This would consist of a project development and environmental study, which would evaluate wetland and other environmental impacts, look at potential alignments for building the pathway, a preferred alignment, available right of way for each of the alignments, title search, costs associated with environmental mitigation, design and construction and public outreach.

Fox 4 reached out to Lee County's Metropolitan Planning organization to see what the hold up was, and they told us Lee County does not have the proper funding. "This is one project we consider regional in nature, that's why we consider it a high priority project, but we have been quite unfortunate when it came to the Florida Department of Transportation to fund some of these regional projects with state dollars," said Ron Gogoi, Transportation Planning Administrator for the organization that prioritizes projects to FDOT.

However, the Florida Department of Transportation said the project isn't prioritized high enough. It ranked 3rd on their priority list of projects they received from Lee County for the year, therefore, cannot start the survey process until 2021.

 Sisson and Shevlin will continue their petition drive to put more pressure on the state to get it built. Anyone who wishes to sign can stop in at Century 21 at the Pine Island Center at 10191 Stringfellow Road.