This week Manatee County made laudatory progress on establishing something the citizenry has been advocating for many years: a sorely needed bicycle/pedestrian/trails plan. Potential multimodal projects will be identified and priorities established under the plan.
Three cheers to that public safety endeavor and lifestyle boost. Bicyclists put their lives at risk riding down arterials that lack dedicated bike lanes, and inattentive drivers are a constant threat.
"Our multimodal approach is one that puts the pedestrian ahead of the other modes," the county's Transportation Planning Division manager, Clarke Davis, told commissioners Tuesday. "It's not to say cars and trucks and things are not important. It's just that people are more important ..."
Well, yes indeed, people should have been the priority long ago.
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Planners evaluated land use and traffic statistics as well as demographics, crash data, location of attractions and proximity to goods to come up with priority projects. Those could include bike lanes, paved shoulders, sidewalks or trails and even roadway striping, depending on the location.
Lakewood Ranch ranks as the gold standard for delivering these assets, thus ensuring people-pleasing attributes that showcase an active lifestyle. Such improvements would vastly improve the quality of life elsewhere in the county.
More people would ride bicycles and walk to destinations when their safety is better ensured and they can enjoy the trip without palpable fear. Projects cannot start fast enough.