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Council to discuss speed limit reduction

By Staff | Feb 5, 2016

City Council will double-up on meetings on Monday, starting at 1:30 p.m. with a special session in Council Chambers to discuss the status of the North utility expansion project and the annual water and wastewater report.

After a break, members reconvene at 4:30 p.m. for the regular council meeting. Topics up for debate include reducing the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph on residential streets and regulations for fracking in Florida.

North 2 is the next area scheduled for utilities expansion, a five-square-mile strip on the north side of Pine Island Road. The design phase is 60 percent complete as staff negotiates the construction engineering and inspection services contract with Greeley and Hansen Engineering. Start of construction on the $200 million project is anticipated in September with completion in 18 months.

Regarding the speed limit reduction, Cape Coral Police have maintained that without enforcement, experience shows no significant change in traffic speeds will result. Enhanced police presence on residential streets will create a significant challenge at the department’s current service level.

A traffic consultant was contracted to study the proposal and discovered that of the city’s 3,600 average traffic crashes each year, incidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists is just 0.38 percent. Five years of data was studied and deducted that very few incidents were speed related and generally occurred at intersections.

Public Works estimate the cost to change 30 mph limit signs will be about $100,000, including labor, equipment and materials.

Council will discuss amending an ordinance governing removal or extraction of dirt, soil, rock and other material by establishing regulations for excavation, removal or extraction for the purposes of oil or gas exploration or production. The amendment provides for the prohibition of well stimulation procedures, including fracking methods.

Concerns center around the enormous amount of water needed for fracking, wastewater disposal and possibilities for spills and leaks that could contaminate state freshwater resources.

A resolution opposing new offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico also will be discussed.