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DOT officials address Matlacha traffic problems

February 24, 2015
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Last Thursday, David Loveland, director of the Lee County Department of Transportation, and Steve Jansen, LCDOT traffic manager, addressed Matlacha residents about the traffic and pedestrian problems facing islanders.

The presentation was hosted by the Matlacha Civic Association.

"I doubt we can solve this problem based on how we are configured but we should be able to offer suggestions on how we can improve the situation," said Kathy Malone of the civic association. "LCDOT is in charge of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating our roadways. David and Steve are here to listen to your suggestions."

Article Photos

Steve Jansen, traffic manager for Lee County DOT, addresses the Matlacha Civic Association.

ED?FRANKS

"Our reason for being here tonight is to get your input on what you think might be done regarding the crosswalk situation through Matlacha," Loveland said. "Our plan is to take suggestions, take them back, evaluate them, look at the engineering issues, and incorporate them into the solutions to help alleviate some of the problems.

"As part of our plan, once we completed the Matlacha Pass Bridge replacement, was to come back to do some crosswalk work," he continued. "We realize that there are issues that need to be addressed but we are waiting until after this season to do the work. That's because when it comes to actually blocking the road to do some work in season creates more problems and just isn't the right time."

He then introduced Jansen.

"We have looked at Pine Island Road for quite some time," Jansen said, "and have come up with three locations for pedestrian crosswalks. One is at the east side of the bridge near Bert's. The second is at Matlacha Park and the third is at the ice cream shop south of here. These are strobe lighted signs with pedestrians on them and crosswalks painted on the asphalt. The pedestrian presses the button and the lights begin to flash letting drivers know a pedestrian is crossing the street."

The county officials opened the floor to questions from residents and members of the civic association.

Q. "Do the lights on the signal flash all of the time?"

A. "No. The pedestrian hits the button and the lights flash to alert the drivers."

Q. "When the bridge was under construction there was a crosswalk at Olde Fish House Marina is that gone now?"

A. "Yes."

Q. "The signage you're proposing has no verbiage. Why not include wording that tells drivers to yield to pedestrians?"

A. "We will take your suggestions and take them under advisement."

Q. "What is the anticipated cost per crossing?"

A. "These flashing lighted signs cost around $10,000 each so for three locations we are talking about $50,000 range."

Q. "The crosswalk near Island Avenue is too close. I understand that a woman was hit there a few days ago."

A. "We are relocating that a little farther west on Pine Island Road."

Q. "One thing you need to look at is where the are crosswalks needed not where it's easily engineered to put them but where people are crossing."

A. "That's a part of the study."

Q. "Have you determined what the effect these crosswalks will have on traffic?"

A. "We are trying to balance all of these factors."

Q. "What studies have you performed?"

A. "I was out here as well as my staff came out to determine where the pedestrians were crossing. We have to balance where people cross and where the engineering will allow us to put the cross walks."

Q. "Is it possible to put cameras out there?"

A. "It's not legal in the state."

Q. "The stretch we're talking about is about two miles. Why can't we have more than three crosswalks?"

A. "Typically you want to have crosswalks about 600 feet apart. Studies show people will walk 300 feet for a crosswalk."

Q. "Is it possible to use the old Lob Lolly lot or the property across from the Fish House for parking?"

A. "That's something new can look into."

Q. "Has the DOT looked into the possibility of a trolley?"

A. "The short answer is no we haven't looked into that. If there was a clear indication from the residents that that is something they want. I understand parking is an issue but these businesses rely on parking that is technically in the right-of-way. If we take a hard line businesses are going to suffer."

Jennifer Jennings from the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and Capt. Dobson from the Lee County Sheriff's Department were present.

 
 

 

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