Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

FDOT reveals traffic solution recommendation

June 20, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It's been years in the making, but Monday the Florida Department of Transportation showed the Fort Myers Beach Town Council what it's spent millions on to produce.

It's a new traffic pattern for the San Carlos Island, Matanzas Pass Bridge seasonal vehicle woes.

This alternative is supposed to help traffic flow better.

Article Photos

Courtesy of FDOT

FDOT held a public meeting in February to get feedback on a number of options it was considering for both Estero Island and San Carlos Island. At Monday's council meeting, FDOT engineer Jennifer Marshall showed council the state's picks to move forward with: one option for the beach and one for San Carlos Island.

On the Fort Myers Beach side, FDOT plans to place a traffic signal at Crescent Street and Estero Boulevard and Fifth Street and Old San Carlos Boulevard. At the base of the bridge, where Fifth Street crosses San Carlos Boulevard, a pedestrian signal will be installed, replacing the one just a hundred feet down the road by the trolley stop and Crescent Beach Park. The right turn from Estero/ San Carlos on to Fifth Street will be eliminated.

The trolley lane on the bridge will be re-designated for all traffic turning right, so that there will be two lanes of operational traffic headed over the bridge to the beach.

Council Member Anita Cereceda objected to the pedestrian light at the base of the bridge.

"The worst thing you can do is let pedestrians cross there at all," she said. "Add pedestrian activity to an increased traffic flow? No light will safeguard pedestrians."

Council Member Bruce Butcher agreed, saying with the added sidewalk on Matanzas Pass Bridge, there may not be as many pedestrians crossing that space. Now, with only the sidewalk on the south side, pedestrians have to cross to get to Times Square, and vice versa.

"That should have some reduction in activity," he said.

Cereceda suggested putting anything else there to deter pedestrians - like cactus or barbed wire, to which Marshall jokingly responded, "may not contribute to your beach ambiance."

On the San Carlos side, FDOT has opted for a light at the beginning of the bridge at Main Street, and changing the alternating light at Buttonwood and San Carlos back to a regular light, but leaving the ability to flip to alternating again should the need arise. Hurricane Pass Bridge will also be widened to add a sidewalk and bike lanes, and the pedestrian light just north of this bridge would be taken out.

Council Member Dennis Boback didn't support changing the alternating light - it was installed to prevent road rage when people in the right hand lane tried to get back over in the left lane to get on the bridge. He didn't think opening it back up would work.

"They're going to go to the lane that's moving fastest," he said. "The alternating lights were there to keep people from beating each other."

The San Carlos Island selection's configuration at the base of the bridge may have the "opportunity potentially for the arches," Marshall added in her presentation. She said FDOT will be reaching out to the Resort the Fort Myers Beach Arches group in the future.

All of these changes go hand in hand with the widening of Matanzas Pass Bridge to add a sidewalk to the other side of the bridge, Marshall said.

FDOT wants to move into the designing phase - during which Marshall assured the council any options they think absolutely wouldn't work could be addressed.

"When we get into design, we can get out of conceptual discussions into what can and can't be done," she said. "We're trying to finish this study by the end of July. I hesitate to say we're going to go back and analyze We want to get you something on the ground."

The design timeline would be complete in 2019, Marshall said. Construction is not yet funded, and anticipated to be around 2023.

Mayor Tracey Gore asked if FDOT had met yet with the Beach Area Civic Association; Marshall said they, and TPI Hospitality, were next on the list.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web