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City of Sanibel announces strategy to mitigate Peak traffic during season

By Staff | Jan 18, 2016

City of Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane today announced a comprehensive strategy to help mitigate peak traffic on the island during the winter months, including a video message for visitors available on the city’s website at www.MySanibel.com and a written message about peak traffic times to be widely distributed.

Based on workshops with Sanibel’s City Council and Planning Commission that identified strategic initiatives, a partnership of residents, represented by COTI (Citizens of the Islands) and CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel), the Chamber of Commerce, Realtors represented by the Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors, hoteliers, business owners, the Planning Commission and City Staff worked on a plan to implement the strategy.

The city also is coordinating efforts with Lee County and the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

“Our goal is to wholeheartedly welcome visitors to the island and ensure they have a positive Sanibel experience by providing helpful information about peak traffic times and tips for planning a successful visit,” Mayor Ruane said. “We’re also working with residents and local businesses to suggest ways to mitigate traffic during peak hours. We understand there is no quick or easy solution to seasonal traffic, but we are all committed to making steady progress through a number of long-term initiatives.”

The program includes:

Utilizing technology to provide real-time information to motorists. Plans include live-streaming of traffic conditions, instant-messaging traffic alert systems and electronic signage before the toll booth advising motorists of on-Island traffic conditions;

Hardscape to change traffic patterns. The City of Sanibel is participating in an MPO study to determine the feasibility of installing a roundabout on Sanibel to alleviate stop-and-go traffic;

Behavior modifications, including developing a culture of employers utilizing flex-time schedules and carpooling during the weeks of peak season; and

Information sharing to help residents and visitors make informed decisions. The city is disseminating detailed information about Sanibel’s traffic patterns so motorists can best plan their island travel to avoid peak congestion.

Through a careful analysis of traffic patterns, the city determined that nearly 13,000 vehicles come onto the island daily during peak season, with heavy on-bound traffic congestion concentrated between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon and heavy off-bound traffic from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

On a weekly basis during peak season, Saturday traffic volumes are the highest, and traffic volumes are the lightest on Sundays and Tuesdays.

The message to visitors: Plan your visit to make it an enjoyable experience. Specifically:

Avoid driving on and off the island during these peak times.

Plan in advance to travel around the island by foot and bike.

Remember the best way to enjoy the island and avoid traffic is to stay on the island – have dinner and shop on island to avoid traffic delays.

Check the City of Sanibel website at www.MySanibel.com for traffic updates.