BikeWalkLee transmits its comments to BoCC on transportation projects to be debated on Monday. If you want to share your views with commissioners, this is the week.
At Monday's June 3rd Management and Planning (M and P) meeting, the County Commissioners will have their second discussion about three transportation projects on the draft CIP. Click here for the background materials for this meeting (Agenda Item #2).
In BikeWalkLee's May 26th blog, we reported on the Lee County Advisory Committees' recommendations on these transportation projects. Today, BikeWalkLee sent a letter to the Commissioners on its comments and recommendations for consideration at Monday's meeting.
6/18 update: News-Press 6/18 article: Alico Road widening stirs debate: Is Lee County jumping the gun?
Below is the e-mail to BoCC transmitting our letter, which summarizes our recommendations:
May 30, 2013
Attached is BikeWalkLee's letter to the Board for Monday's M & P meeting, which contains our comments and recommendations on the transportation component of the draft CIP. Our letter asks that you consider these issues in the larger context of the fiscal realities facing transportation funding.
This letter is organized around projects in the CIP and includes as attachments our previous recommendations, as well as those of the LPA and CSAC Committees. We believe that implementing these recommendations would allow the Board members and the County to realize the goal of fiscal responsibility and community livability.
Below is the summary of BikeWalkLee's specific CIP recommendations related to the issues before you on Monday's agenda:
Estero Boulevard: Estero Boulevard should be considered as the county's top priority project and funds should be reallocated to fully fund the second segment ($7 M) over the next two years.
Alico Road: The Alico Road project should not move forward until a comprehensive master plan for the Research Diamond area is completed.
· The $1.6 million budgeted for 2012-13 for the design phase as well as the proposed $8.35 M in the 2015-16 and the $0.5 M 2016-17 amount be reallocated to the Estero Blvd. project (a total of $10.6 million).
· When/if this road is ready for widening, the costs should be paid for by benefiting land owners/developers, not by county residents through gas taxes.
Homestead Road: The Homestead Road Complete Streets study now underway should be completed (scheduled for June 2014) before making further decisions on the Homestead Road project (Sunrise Blvd. to Alabama Rd ).
· A portion of the $3 million currently available for ROW purchases should be reallocated to street redesign and the remaining funds for ROW purchases should be expended subsequent to the needs outlined in the redesign.
· Funds budgeted in 2015-16 should be dedicated to redesign and construction costs (now in 2015-16 for $12.1 M) should be moved to 2016-17.
Ortiz Avenue: The Ortiz north of Ballard should be redesigned as a two-lane section with a turn lane/median and other complete street features.
· A portion of the $3.1 million currently available for ROW purchases should be reallocated to street redesign and the remaining funds for ROW purchases should be expended subsequent to the needs outlined in the street redesign.
· The $10.7 million in CIP budget in the 6-10 year window should be revised to accurately reflect the costs of the redesigned street.
The county's approach to transportation planning and budgeting needs a major overhaul in light of revenue realities. BikeWalkLee recommends that the Board hit the "pause" button, and do what other communities around the country are starting to do--take all the projects in the pipeline and re-evaluate them, right-size them, focus on improving existing roadways instead of building new capacity, work closely with their communities, and re-prioritize our transportation investments to live within the funds available.
Thank you for considering our recommendations as you set budget priorities for next year and beyond.
Darla Letourneau & Margaret Banyan
on behalf of BikeWalkLee