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Committee asks for public input on county’s problem intersections

By Staff | Mar 16, 2009

Congested roads have been an increasingly frustrating part of life in Southwest Florida, and in particular Cape Coral. Ask anyone who traverses Del Prado Boulevard during rush hour: it is often a gridlock nightmare.
Now motorists are being asked to share their thoughts, ideas and frustrations about particularly awful intersections throughout Lee County.
The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization is asking for feedback via a “response coupon” that offers people the chance to voice their concerns.
“We are aware of some problems at intersections, but staff isn’t aware of all of them,” said Ron Gogoi, MPO deputy director. “But in a lot of ways, these comments help to validate what staff has always expected.”
The MPO has taken public comment in the past. Gogoi said comments led to the construction of a second, northbound turn lane on state Route 82 to westbound Daniels Parkway, and an extension of the eastbound right turn lane on the Veterans Parkway exit ramp onto southbound Del Prado.
Gogoi added that the MPO has often gotten responses in the past for things it could not impact, such as construction on Interstate 75 or U.S. 41 “as a whole.”
“The main purpose of asking people to comment on this is to determine if there’s something we can impact right away,” he said. “We’re looking for solutions that don’t cost too much money.”
The public has until April 10 to respond online or with the coupon.
All responses then are brought before a traffic operations committee. The committee, which is made up of representatives from local municipalities, plus the state and county, identify the most feasible requests and divvy up the work accordingly.
Gogoi said the MPO has a good working relationship with the city of Cape Coral, and often the city will take MPO requests into consideration with existing projects.
“We forward these requests to the Cape, knowing they are already widening or doing some work,” he said.
One of the Cape’s real problem spots that has already been identified is the Del Prado/Cape Coral Parkway intersection.
The MPO toyed with the idea of installing a third turn lane in the southbound direction of Del Prado, but concluded it was not feasible at the time.
Whether the option would go back on the table remains to be seen, but Gogoi hinted that something as simple as retiming the stoplight would make a huge difference.
“Signal retiming really helps to move traffic along at intersections,” he said.
To respond to the MPO public input request, visit: mpo-swfl.org/mpootherissues.shtml.