Marco Island Planning Board: Keep the community on its feet

— Marco Island is known for its wealth of outdoor activities, biking and walking trails, but more can be done to make the city more exercise-friendly, according to Stacy Revay, coordinator of Collier County’s Smart Growth Coalition.

Revay told members of the island’s Planning Board on Friday that shaping a community’s environment has an impact on the health, wealth and future of its citizens.

While Revay praised Marco Island for being a walkable community, she urged planning board members to keep the continued use of sidewalks and open spaces in mind when considering future developments.

Although Marco Island is mostly built-out and nearly devoid of sprawl, Revay explained that there are still ways board members can encourage a reduced reliance on cars.

“We know people are not as healthy if they’re in an environment where they have to drive constantly,” she told planning board members. “More walking equals less obesity.”

Walking can also be felt in residents’ wallets. Revay told the board she is saving $200 a month in gas by taking the Collier Area Transit bus to work each day. Plus, Revay said having to walk to the bus stop provides her with daily exercise.

Instead of having parents drive their children to school, city leaders on Marco and elsewhere should encourage walking as an alternative.

Revay pointed to a 2007 survey which shows that 59.6 percent of adults and 12.5 percent of high school students in Collier County are obese or overweight, as proof that the lack of daily exercise is threatening the wellbeing of our community. County statistics for 2010 have yet to be released, Revay said, but she expects a substantial increase in the number of overweight adults and teens.

“It’s the parents fault as much as kids or government,” noted board member Marv Needles, adding that its second nature for parents to drive children around the corner to a friend’s home rather than have them walk. Many parents, he said, also choose to drive their children because they’re inundated with media messages that their children might be kidnapped if they don’t. “I’m concerned you’re fighting an uphill battle.”

Revay responded that she’s merely trying to “plant a seed” of awareness among planning board members.

“We know cities that design infrastructure where people can walk have healthier cities.”

Her hope is that when members have future development plans before them, they’ll ask questions about where sidewalks will be placed, or request changes that will make a proposal more accessible to pedestrian traffic.

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Comments » 7

ajm3s writes:

It may be a tough proposition to have sidewalks, when they are only required when building a home on a vacant lot. Until that point, no sidewalk required.

Before we talk of the master plan of ideas how about we just put sidewalks where there are breaks in front of vacant lots.

My take, the city wants the private land owner to pay for a sidewalk on city property, while it needs a new Community Center. Here's a thought, perhaps we can install sidewalks where none exists (in front of vacant lots) so we can exercise at a leisurely pace in our own neighborhoods. Rather than driving to a new proposed community center in an air conditioned gym.

I know the new plans call for a smaller project, but you can never tell how things go, because the city could make a last minute claim that a new community center is less expensive than installing sidewalks and god forbid maintaining the sections of sidewalk that have risen more than 1" from adjacent sections.

So folks, you may have to get in your car and go the new Community Center for exercise. In my world the best community center is my neighborhood less the issue of missing sidewalks in front of vacant lots.

Perhaps, it should be considered a safety matter, but the Fire Chief was more concerned about shell driveways and gurneys but not the lack of sidewalks. Imagine having to walk on the street due to lack of continuous sidewalks. I guess the city has different priorities, walking in the street is considered safe.

So safe, that bike pathways are planned out but not continuous sidewalks. And I consider sidewalks a basic responsibility of cities, yet remains unchallenged.

So which will the city choose, exercise stations and indoor gym in a park or sidewalks for pedestrian traffic.

I know which path I would choose, your turn to choose. Priorities matter, but in this city of foundations, none exists to represent the utilitarian needs of this community, so the likes of a P&R Foundation get to drown out any request for a sound city infrastructure for pedestrians.

Or is this another single family home vs condo issue? Is there a pattern here?

MarcoCitizen writes:

The fix continues to be in for the Mackle Extravaganza. The City Cronies are in panic mode making up absurd justifications for a plainly unneeded project.

Who believes that the main justification for this project is to improve the Island's health?

Such nonsense begs for the replacement of the usual hacks and restaffing of our advisory committees with responsible, realistic folks.

RayPray writes:

"County statistics for 2010 have yet to be released, Revay said, but she expects a substantial increase in the number of overweight adults and teens."

>>> The local business establishment promotes all sorts of junk food eateries, and it's somehow keeping stats on how many people go stuff themselves in these?

>> Who in the county government knows how much we weigh?

“It’s the parents fault as much as kids or government,” noted board member Marv Needles...

>>> Why not it always is....

"Many parents, he said, also choose to drive their children because they’re [afraid] their children might be kidnapped...."

>>> On Marco island? That could end up like th Ransom of Red Chief....

>>> Where do these committee nitwits come from anyway?

Tinkers_Damn writes:

Install treadmills and water fountains at the park.
Walk/run as long as desired in an air conditioned building provided by tax payers.
Did someone suggest an indoor pool for dogs and cats or possibly a convertable FEMA camp.

RayPray writes:

Here is expedient to consider to chastise our smug tax-eating masters in the municipal government:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/nyr...

ajm3s writes:

in response to RayPray:

Here is expedient to consider to chastise our smug tax-eating masters in the municipal government:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/nyr...

You just shook up Wayne's world, in which Marco Island has low millage. Mr. Waldack may come to the realization that property valuations and millage rate are interrelated and if property valuations are higher than market values, oh my God millage rate will have to rise to offset lower assessments to meet increasing budgetary requests. this coupled with an expanding Marco Island mindset that more and bigger for the "betterment" of this place through expansion of services and facilities, both in scope and size.

MarcoMaven writes:

When the thought of exercise beckons, I lie down and take a nap. It's a matter of physics: a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. THIS body prefers to stay at rest.

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