Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sanibel bridge tollbooth and shoulders project completed & we're working with LeeDOT on remaining safety problems

The Sanibel tollbooth biking facilities and the repaved road and shoulders from McGregor up to the bridge are now completed and many cyclists are enjoying this beautiful ride. Thanks to all the government agencies, staff, and contractors who worked on this project. The top photo was taken on 6/6 and shows the correction made to the sharp exit coming off of Sanibel. This is a big improvement over the delineators and sharp turn to right. As noted below, the grate was also fixed. Thanks to LeeDOT staff for addressing the issues we raised!

While it's a beautiful ride, there are several remaining safety issues which we've raised with LeeDOT. They are currently looking into the remaining safety issues/suggestions:

1. The sharp turn on the downhill coming off Sanibel at the tollbooth has delineate rs and a quick turn onto a curb without warning, making it dangerous. At a minimum an early warning sign for cyclists is necessary.

LeeDOT/Sarah Clarke 5/26 update: additional work to soften the sharp turn coming off the island is tentatively scheduled for the 2nd week of June.
6/5 update: Workers were out there on Friday re-engineering this spot. As soon as it's completed (which could be Monday), I'll post a photo so you can see the change.

2. There is a need for more signage to warn drivers about cyclists before the turn to La Rossa.
LeeDOT/Sarah Clarke 5/26 update: The additional signing will be addressed by county forces with county funds once we get FDOT sign off on the project.

3. The last grate on the downside of the high span bridge coming on to Sanibel dips lower than the other grates & coming down from that elevation at high speed makes this jarring "bump" particularly dangerous.
Status: LeeDOT issued request to Operations staff on 5/24 to review grate elevation.
6/5 update: LeeDOT staff raised that grate to the same elevation as the other grates & now it rides like the other grates. Thanks to Doug Busbee, the LeeDOT bridge engineer who made the fix.

4. The pedestrian push button on Summerlin crosswalk at McGregor is not working.
5/24 response from Harry Campbell/LeeDOT: On May 17 the pedestrian push buttons were checked at McGregor & Summerlin to insure they were operating properly. All the Ped Buttons and Signals checked-out.

The ped push button is no different than a vehicle arriving in a left turn lane or on the side street. Depending upon where the signal is at in the cycle, the wait time could be a full cycle length. Arrival and activation just before the signal changes to yellow can result in potentially waiting a full cycle.

5. There is no pedestrian crossing or button on McGregor at the intersection of Summerlin and there is no other way (except crossing over to the path at that intersection and then crossing back over to the bike lane at the light at Shell Point)to access the bike lane that starts there.
Harry Campbell 5/24 response: Since there are no pedestrian destinations on the south side of McGregor at the signal (only a guardrail and detention pond site) there is no need for crosswalk or signal. The designer of the intersection made that determination early in the design process.

Bicyclists westbound and returning to the east, without crossing the bridge, should follow the path of their fellow vehicles and turn onto Punta Rassa Road, turn around, and exit Punta Rassa Road at the signal. The merge to the right shoulder can be difficult at times; however, we see no solution to that.

If there are other safety issues that need to be brought to LeeDOT's attention, please contact us. We'll keep you posted on LeeDOT's responses to our requests.

Note: Although the "sidewalk"/curb features on both sides of the tollbooth are not ideal, they were part of the plan that was approved by FDOT (drainage issues, etc.)

Save the Date: August 18th at 11:00 a.m.
Lee County will be holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of this project. We are working with the organizing committee on the plans for the event and invitees and will keep you posted. If you're in town, be sure to plan to join us for the ceremony and a ride across the bridge.

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