Close this search box.

Supporting Mobility in LaBelle, Florida

Project #: 4WA103
Start Date: 10/26/2022
End Date: 08/15/2024
Status: Current

LaBelle, located in and serving as the county seat for Hendry County, is a small rural community in southwest Florida.  The 2022 U.S. Census cited the LaBelle population as 4,966 people.[1]  The community has shown an interest in creating a multi-modal environment that supports community members walking, bicycling, and driving, particularly to connect to its downtown.  However, some of the current community design may limit full mobility using these various modes.  In particular, two large Florida highways (State Road 80 and State Road 29) cross in the middle of the community, providing a lifeline to commerce but also severing the community’s core into four quadrants.  Researchers will collect data to quantify the number of people walking and bicycling in the community, quantify the crash experience (vehicular and non-motorized), describe peer Florida communities with multi-modal treatments on their main street, and provide recommendations for improving multi-modal connectivity.



The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation Team will work in cooperation with the City of Labelle to:  1) examine how State Road 29 and State Road 80 impact multi-mobility in LaBelle and how peer communities have overcome the challenge of having a highway travel through downtown, 2) quantify where people are walking and bicycling in LaBelle, 3) quantify the walking and bicycling crash experience in LaBelle, and 4) investigate how active transportation connectivity can be improved in the community.


Benefits: Many small, rural communities like LaBelle are both dependent upon and impacted by the state roadways running through them.  The state roadways function as an economic lifeline but can divide the community, particularly for those that may want to make short trips on foot or by bike.  This project seeks to help community leadership better understand how many people within their community are walking and bicycling.  It will also help them look at their entire community when considering where crashes are occurring.  Finally, the project will provide recommendations on how the community may better balance competing interests.


  • Natalie Villwock-Witte
    Natalie Villwock-Witte