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Options for key city intersection discussed

By Staff | Jan 10, 2012

Michael Pistella Traffic moves through the intersection at Santa Barbara and Veterans Parkway.

The future of the Veterans Park-way and Santa Barbara Boulevard intersection is still uncertain, as county transportation officials grapple with the best course of action for a traffic problem they say will continue to grow.

Originally, a flyover was in the cards for the intersection, but some city officials, along with members of the business community, opposed the flyover last year, fearing it would do irreparable damage to the many businesses located in the vicinity of the intersection.

A public open house Tuesday was used to try and gauge the public’s mood about options beyond the flyovers that county officials say could alleviate those traffic concerns.

Comments collected at the open house will be taken into consideration as they continue to study the intersection, county officials said.

Some of those options presented to the public included displaced left-turn lanes, roundabouts, bowtie intersections and median u-turns, to name a few.

But Harold Wolper, a southeast Cape resident originally from New Hampshire, says the intersection isn’t that busy to begin with.

Wolper knows “tough traffic,” he said, from living in New England. And having to sit for a few minutes at the intersection is a minor problem at best.

“I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m in favor of the ‘do nothing’ option,” he said.

Land was set aside and, in fact, still exists at the intersection specifically for the flyover. The median bulges as it approaches the intersection and in that space the flyover was originally supposed to be placed.

Cape City Councilmember Marty McClain said the most viable option still is the proposed flyovers. Approaching the intersection any other way is not preparing for the future, he said.

“It’s better to be proactive than reactive,” he said. “We need to think about the younger generations in this city because they are the one who will benefit from the flyover.”

Lee County Transportation Director Randy Cerchie said that flyovers are still an option simply because the original plan called for one to be installed and the land is set aside.

All of the other options to alleviate traffic are obviously still on the table, too, he said.

Cerchie couldn’t say, for certain, that the business community at the intersection was adamantly opposed to the flyover.

“I don’t know if it’s the business community specifically, but there are some who oppose flyovers in general because they feel it separates the community,” Cerchie added.

Cape resident Gene Janczynski said he’s watched that intersection grow from nothing to something since 1987.

Janczynski said he feels that traffic did need to be addressed at the intersection, but didn’t see how a flyover would do any harm to the business community, especially multi-million dollar chain stores like Target, Publix and Lowe’s, all of which call the intersection home.

“I just don’t see how this will ruin jobs,” Janczynski said.