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No new traffic signal planned for Del Prado Boulevard

By Staff | May 1, 2010

An area of Del Prado Boulevard will get new pavement markings following the death of a teen struck by a car, but no crosswalk or traffic signal is planned.
On Friday staff from the Lee County Department of Transportation studied the section of Del Prado where a teen was hit and killed this week to determine what, if anything, could be done to prevent any future tragedies. The boy, 13, was attempting to cross the road on his bicycle when the accident occurred.
“I found there was really nothing road wise that I could really address,” said Steve Jansen, senior traffic engineer for the DOT. “You have really good sight distance up and down the road.”
According to Jansen, there are no trees or obstacles in the section of road to block one’s sight while he or she crosses the road. If the sight distance had not been adequate, staff would have worked with the city or businesses to clear the median or edges of the road of the obstructing trees or items.
However, the county will install pavement markings or yellow lines to better define the cement center median in that section of road. Jansen said he had already filed the work order with the DOT’s pavement marking crew Friday.
“There’s nothing much beyond that that we can do,” he said.
Ryan Michael Santos, of 228 N.E. 16th Place, suffered life-threatening injuries at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when he tried to cross the southbound lanes of Del Prado in the 300 block, just south of Northeast Third Terrace. He was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he died at 10:32 p.m.
According to police, Ryan was perched on his bike in the median waiting to cross the southbound lanes to head west as a 2007 Porsche, driven by Aditi S. Nair, 19, of Bonita Springs, traveled south on Del Prado in the middle lane. When Ryan attempted to cross, he was hit by the car, witnesses said.
The impact ejected Ryan from his bicycle, and he hit the windshield of the car, officials reported. Ryan landed behind the vehicle in the center lane. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Nair was not injured.
Police spokeswoman Connie Barron said no charges are pending at this time.
Following the tragedy, some called for a new crosswalk or traffic signal.
“That’s not going to be on the agenda,” Jansen said.
According to Jansen, a crosswalk would not be an option at the location because it is a high speed, high volume multi-lane road, and there is not enough side street traffic to warrant a traffic signal. Guidelines that the DOT follows require a certain level of traffic during a set amount of time.
“With the park right there you have may have certain times of the day, times of the week, where it might hit that, but most of the time you would have very minimal,” he said.
Jansen noted that city staffers had not looked at the location as of Friday, but they did not seem to have any plan beyond reviewing the county’s study.
Barron said Thursday that the city was waiting on the results from the county’s study of the area, adding that it is “not our section of street.”
Aside from the new pavement markings, the best way to prevent another tragedy is safety and education. Jansen said non-motorists should always try to cross at a traffic signal and should not listen to music or talk on the phone. Motorists should put down the cell phone and pay attention to the road.
People are encouraged to pay attention because most of the crashes that occur involve some lack of attention, he said.
Ryan’s death is the city’s fourth traffic fatality in 2010.
Originally from Warren, R.I., he was born Jan. 6, 1997. Ryan enjoyed fishing, crabbing, mudding and spending time with his family and friends. Visitation will be held from 3-4 p.m. today at Gendron Funeral & Cremation Services, 4224 Cleveland Ave, Suite 1, Fort Myers, with the funeral at 4 p.m.
An account has been opened at Wachovia Bank for his family. To contribute, designate donations to the Kerri Lynn Santos Assistance Fund at any branch. Online condolences may be made at: www.gendronfuneralhome.com.