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Idea of extending Gleason, Trafalgar nixed by commission

By Staff | Feb 16, 2011

The idea of extending Gleason and Trafalgar parkways was killed during the opening moments of the Transportation Advisory Commission’s meeting on Wednesday, drawing the applause, and relief, of residents who packed chambers hoping for that result.
Emerald Cove Homeowners Association President Frank Mathias said he didn’t understand why it was even considered in the first place.
Emerald Cove is located along Trafalgar Parkway.
“We couldn’t believe it when we heard about it,” Mathias said. “They haven’t even finished the sidewalks along Trafalgar yet. And we have the school, what were they going to do with the traffic?”
Brought forward by Mayor John Sullivan, Councilmember Pete Brandt said the issue is being blown out of proportion by local media outlets as it is merely a discussion point at the moment.
City staff prepared a presentation for the issue, but Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz moved to have the item dropped before it was ever presented or discussed.
“I’m not pleased we used staff time to put together a presentation,” he said. “This is a bad idea that needs to go away quickly. This is as bad an idea as I’ve heard in a long time.”
Sullivan said the idea of extending both roads has been around for “many years,” and that the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization was going to study the possibility.
“I’m not telling stories, it’s out there,” Sullivan said. “The MPO has ordered a study, it hasn’t been the first time it’s happened. We’re not killing the issue, there are still pieces out there.”
David Loveland, planning manager for Lee Public Works, said the MPO is looking at “alternatives” to a proposed set of flyovers at Santa Barbara Boulevard and Veterans Parkway but doesn’t think extending Gleason and Trafalgar was being pursued. Loveland sits on the Technical Advisory Committee for the MPO.
“We were looking at different at-grade intersection configurations, not parallel roads,” Loveland said.
Commissioner Ray Judah confirmed that county staff is looking at alternatives to the overpass, but didn’t think the extensions of Gleason and Trafalgar were viable.
“It would be very intrusive and create such an adverse impact on existing neighborhoods,” Judah said, adding, “And where would the money come from?”
Former Cape Councilmember Dolores Bertolini accused Sullivan of bringing the issue forward, not the MPO, adding that discussing the matter does harm even if the project doesn’t move forward.
“Just talking about this … it hurts our home and our neighborhoods,” she sadi.
Sullivan said the project was “on this side of the river many years ago,” but Emerald Cove resident Eunice Rofsky said this was the first she had ever heard of the project.
Rofsky used to sit on the MPO’s Citizen Advisory Committee.
“I never heard them mention such a silly idea,” Rofsky said.
MPO Director David Scott could not be reached for comment.