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Traffic woes continue on the island

By Staff | Apr 1, 2015

To the editor:

We have experienced unusually large traffic flows this season. I think most would agree that gridlocked traffic does not lend itself to a pleasurable experience on the island either for residents or visitors. When one is dealing with a finite resource, it can be allocated either by cost, for example raising the toll or by queuing, that is waiting in line for your turn.

Queuing is more egalitarian while toll increases favors the well off. Fortunately, we have the solution within our grasp with the infrastructure already installed.

Living on an island with toll booths controlling the entrance and exit to the island, we know how many cars enter the island and how many leave the island as well as the number permanently on the island. This can be instantly computed to show the number of cars on the island at any given time.

It should be an easy matter to establish an optimum number of cars that permit free traffic flow on the island roads with adequate parking at the beaches and only permit that many cars on the island at any given time.

Residents, shop owners and property owners can be admitted at any time through the use of the transponder technology and the transponder lane that already exists.

Others such as daytrippers must wait until the island can accommodate additional traffic. In other words, as a car leaves the island, another can be allowed to enter.

A computer should be able to predict the approximate wait time based on experience just as some museums currently do. Signage could be installed near the San Carlos and the Summerlin intersection giving the current “wait time” that allows people to make a choice on whether to wait or turn around.

If a tourist elected to wait to enter the island they would be assured that the experience would be pleasant, with available parking and little road congestion.

It is probable that wait times would only occur for a few days during the peak of the tourist season or several hours during the day and to some extent become self-correcting when people decide if the visit is worth the wait or not.

This plan involves very little in the way of additional expenditures yet should enhance the island experience for everyone who visits as well as for those who are residents.

Jim Drotleff

Sanibel Island