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MPO seeking public input

2045 long-range vision plan is in the works

By CJ HADDAD - | Oct 14, 2020

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

The Lee County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization is looking for the public’s assistance in laying some bedrock for the next 25 years.

The MPO is seeking feedback via an online survey for Lee County residents regarding the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). This federally mandated plan identifies a vision and addresses all transportation needs of the community over the next 20 years, with updates added every five years. According to MPO, the 2045 LRTP is the latest five-year update and will be a multimodal plan that makes recommendations for road, bus, bike, sidewalk, and freight related projects with identified short-term and long-term strategies.

Executive Director of Lee County MPO Don Scott said the public’s input plays a large role in decision making in countless areas of improvement now and in the future.

Scott said hearing from local residents gives the MPO the ability to gage whether a project would be favorable or not, and helps address issues both on a small and large scale.

“It helps us figure out the vibe of the community when you start talking about different improvements to be done through 2045,” Scott said. “They can comment about what they’d like to see in the future or intersection improvements or the lack of bike/pedestrian areas in certain areas — it takes all kind of forms. It all feeds into what gets done over the years.”

According to Lee County MPO, the LRTP identifies all the transportation projects that are anticipated to be needed over the next 20 years and how they may affect the transportation system. MPO analyzes factors that include county policy, demand from future population and employment growth, changes in transportation technology and community input about what transportation improvements are desired moving forward.

When it comes to Cape Coral, Scott said improvements throughout the next decade could include a restoration of westbound span of the Cape Coral Bridge and even possible lane additions. Other items up for discussion involve Burnt Store Road lane additions up to the county line and lane widening on State Road 78 from Santa Barbara Boulevard to Northeast 24th Avenue.

“There’s obviously been a lot of comment on the congestion on the Cape Coral Bridge in the morning and in the evening coming back in,” Scott said. “The county knows they need to replace the westbound span, but what more than that are some of the things being talked about.”

Other areas in the county being discussed for improvements include the Alico Road connector, I-75 lane widening, and refining intersection flow in high-traffic locations.

MPO uses a regional model compiled by the Florida Department of Transportation that Scott said gives them an idea of future volumes, traffic impacts, crashes and incidents and more.

Scott also said his office continues to look into the future when planning down the road.

“We continue to look at what technology we’ll be dealing with in 20 years,” Scott said. “Are there going to be more connected autonomous vehicles and what impact that may have.”

The LRTP is updated every 5 years and tweaked along the way as needed Scott said.

The “official” first version of this plan is to be finalized Dec. 18 of this year.

The survey is available online to the public until Oct. 21.

Public comment can also be submitted via email to MPO until the December deadline.

For more information on the 2045 LRTP and to fill out they survey, visit www.leempo.com.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj