Final construction was completed recently connecting nearly 50 miles of bike path access around the perimeter of Cape Coral. A ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard officially opened the circular route.
The northern section of the city loop is named for Physicians Primary Care, which donated money to complete the path and to place signage along the route. The southern section of the loop is named for the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, which likewise contributed money to the project. Together, the routes comprise 49 miles of the city's completed system.
Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki, City Manager John Szerlag and several other city officials and dignitaries attended the ceremony on a cool, clear and bright morning suitable for an informal bike ride of various distances.
Carolyn Conant, center, head of Cape Coral Bike-Ped, introduces Dr. Mary Yankaskas of Physicians Primary Care at Saturday's ribbon-cutting officially opening the northern loop of the city's bike path bearing the doctors' office name. About 50 cyclists lined up behind the ribbon at Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard and ride a portion of the route.
Over many years, the city has been converting less traveled four-lane streets to two lanes with a designated bike lanes at the curb side as well as constructing sidewalks and paths. Those existing bike lanes have now been linked together to form safe access for bike and pedestrian use.
"It has been a great partnership with the private sector to put these sections together," said Cape Coral Public Works director Steve Neff. "Just six months ago it was decided to get the last of the routes laid out and funded. By the end of the year we expect to have a total of 90 miles of paths completed."
Mike Swanson of the Caloosa Riders cycling club was instrumental in designing and laying out the routes, which are clearly marked with green and white traffic control signage as well as blue and white Adopt A Route sponsorship signs.
Cape Coral Bike-Ped, a volunteer organization, spearheaded the fund-raising part of the project, raising more than $70,000 from local businesses and organizations and naming the routes.
Seven routes will be sponsored when the project is completed.
"In less than a year we were able to create these routes," said Carolyn Conant, head of Cape Coral Bike-Ped. "It's been a tremendous public-private partnership. We will continue to try to improve the experience along the route by constructing benches and kiosks for riders and pedestrians."
Crews are still working to complete sections of routes associated with the Physicians Primary Care and chamber routes. Team Aubuchon Route is a four-mile link servicing the chamber route running from El Dorado Parkway along Agualinda Boulevard, Beach Parkway, Oasis Boulevard and Gleason Parkway at Surfside.
The Yacht Club Spur is a 2.7-mile route from the Cape Coral Yacht Club along Driftwood Parkway, Lucerne and Coronado, Southeast 47th Terrace and a portion of Palm Tree Boulevard.
The Veterans Route runs east and west from the Midpoint Bridge at Four Mile Cove to Surfside where it intersects with the Physicians Primary Care and Chamber Route as well as the seven-mile Cape Coral Community Foundation route.
The Community Foundation route runs north on Surfside to Trafalgar and joining up with Chiquita Boulevard, east along Pine Island Road to Cultural Park Boulevard.
That leaves the CCCIA Route, a seven-plus mile stretch which runs from U.S. 41 west along mostly Diplomat Parkway to El Dorado Boulevard.