Crosswalk Craziness

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Last week the Florida Department of Transportation made a presentation to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council about their new foot of the bridge design project. The state is going with a design that drops several new crosswalks right at the foot of the Matanzas Pass Bridge.

Everyone on Fort Myers Beach knows that one of the biggest reasons traffic gets backed up on Estero Boulevard is due to pedestrians crossing the road whenever they can. The state’s latest design plants a bevy of crosswalks right at the foot of the bridge where they are also planning a new traffic light.

Fort Myers Beach Public Safety Committee Chairman John Goggin has been the loudest voice on the crosswalk issue. He doesn’t want there to be any crosswalks in that area, preferring to funnel people to one crossing location to keep the traffic flowing.

Last week councilman Dan Allers and Jim Atterholt also voiced their concerns about adding so many crosswalks at the foot of the bridge. They wanted to know if walkovers or railings to channel pedestrians were considered. The state believes the multiple crosswalks, with electronic instructional signals, will alleviate the willy-nilly crossing of pedestrians. They also believe additional landscaping (see below) will keep people moving properly on the sidewalks.
There’s a question about who will own and maintain the $200,000 worth of landscaping once the state completes the project. The state is paying to plant the trees and shrubs but has no plan to maintain the landscaping. That will become the responsibility of either the town or the county.

The state’s project will be coordinated with several other construction projects within a several block area. Times Square will be redeveloped after next season. Bayside Park is getting a facelift. That project should start soon. A total of three new traffic lights will be installed and TPI’s Margartitaville resort will usher old, ugly, hurricane-ravaged buildings into the modern era.

What makes this foot-of-the-bridge project in such a small area even more interesting is that there are so many entities involved. The state owns the bridge, the county owns Estero Boulevard, the town will be working on the Times Square and Bayside Park projects and TPI is a private developer.

A public hearing on the project is expected before the state moves forward. When or where that public hearing will be held was not announced.

Work on this project is not expected to begin until the Spring or Summer of 2023.

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t like the idea of overpasses, how about we consider underpasses?
    They used a technique during the big dig in downtown Boston years ago that froze the wet earth and then scraped the frozen dirt and then a cement tunnel was inserted a little bit at a time allowing them to put the expressway underground even though they ran into mud at that level.

  2. What a joke. Agree with everyone that this is a nightmare waiting to happen. The first thing that caught my eye in the rendering is the landscaping (trees and bushes) which along with the new hotel will hinder vision and add more chaos. It’s hard enough watching for pedestrians and bikers without being distracted by trees and possibly 4 foot plants. I’m at the south end of the island and it takes easily 1 1/2 hours to get to the bridge during the season. We’ll never be able to go north after 10 am with this plan.

  3. Well now, that would have been a good place for over the road Arches with a dual purpose of a pedestrian walk now wouldn’t it. We once proposed this

  4. This plan looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I have to wonder about the caretaking of the landscaping. The little grass patches they put between Estero Blvd and the sidewalks are turning into weed patches because they are not maintained. I can only imagine what a big landscaping area will look like.

  5. This plan looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I have to wonder about the caretaking of the landscaping. The little grass patches they put between Estero Blvd and the sidewalks are turning into weed patches because they are not maintained. I can only imagine what a big landscaping area will look like.

  6. Isn’t what the developers envisoned? “A walkable Downtown area”, where patrons of the new resort could explore the shops and bars of Old San Carlos and patrons of other resorts north of downtown could visit the new resort? Just one problem, uh, that would be getting to the resort or Old San Carlos from off the island. Oh, and then finding a place to park. Looks like a perfect plan.

  7. It is insane to even “slightly” consider so many crosswalks in that area. Years ago I suggested to the council that crossovers at several locations would greatly help traffic flow. I was told they were not feasible because they would have to be ADA compliant with “lifts” and the cost would be prohibitive.

    • Eric, you are so correct. Crossovers would help fix the traffic problem. Since the city keeps rasing parking fees, rental fees and property taxes it should have plenty of money for a few crossovers!

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