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Escalators, two-way Fifth Street among Grand Resorts adjustments

March 9, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A few weeks after a resident complained that Grand Resorts' proposed layout would cause him to take an elevator or staircase to get through the complex, developer Tom Torgerson has announced that new designs feature a two-way outdoor escalator for pedestrians along the side of the parking structure.

Furthermore, for those who don't like the idea of having to drive under the complex's "tunnel" despite it being the most direct way to drive down island from the Sky Bridge, Torgerson has also announced that adjacent Fifth Street has been adjusted to let traffic travel in two directions.

A third change is that a one-floor connection between the proposed Holiday Inn and A.C. Marriott hotels, which was to be used for servicing the two hotels, has been removed in order to open another viewing corridor. The space between the A.C. Marriott and the Hilton is already open in the form of a 100-foot-wide plaza.

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This rendering shows outdoor escalators along the side of the Grand Resorts parking structure.

Regarding the two-way travel on Fifth Street, the adjustment isn't ideal, Torgerson said.

"It does create a vehicle conflict - at the point of the parking facility - exiting the island that doesn't otherwise exist," he said. "The double helix on Fifth Street would be turning left on Fifth and the traffic in the roundabout turning right onto Fifth will conflict, because the exiting island traffic will have to cross the island-arriving traffic."

As for the tunnel, opening it up is not an option as long as the goal is to keep pedestrians safe, Torgerson said.

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"The only way to separate vehicle and perpendicular pedestrian traffic conflicts is one needs to go over or under the other," he said. "So for pedestrians, they arrive and exit by going over the roadway."

That walkway, or "fly over," is now going to be uncovered - an enhancement, Torgerson said, by not forcing pedestrians and recreational bikers to walk through a covered parking deck.

"This provides an awesome arrival and departure experience for pedestrians and recreational bicyclists," he said. "The pedestrian causeway and flyway is cantilevered on the outside of the parking facility, so it is open air. Cars that go through the pass-through will now see pedestrian activity above them, which also is a visual enhancement to them."

As for the new sign atop the parking structure, Torgerson said it is a concept borrowed from the famous "Hollywood" sign in Los Angeles. In this case, the letters would be placed upon sun screens, he said.

"It would be a highly viewed iconic image of Fort Myers Beach," he said.



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