Sunday, October 24, 2010

BikeWalkLee speaks out for balanced transportation system in MPO's 2035 transportation plan

News-Press 10/23/10
Flyovers get ax in Lee County

By Brian Liberatore • bliberatore@news-press.
com• October 23, 2010

1:10 A.M. — Lee County leaders say they want
transportation planning that does more than add
lanes, flyovers and more pavement. But finding
alternatives has proven elusive.

Members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization,
a group of 17 elected officials, on Friday axed a
handful of controversial road projects.

Gone from the region’s long range plan, a state-
mandated 25-year road work blueprint, are:

• The Colonial Boulevard flyover in Fort Myers.

• An extension of Route 951 south of Corkscrew
Road connecting to Collier County.

• A flyover on Veterans Parkway over Santa Barbara
Boulevard in Cape Coral.

Finding and funding alternatives that work, MPO
members said, will be harder than cutting out what
doesn’t work.

“In my lifetime we will remember $4 gas as a
luxury,” said Lee County Commissioner Brian
Bigelow. “We need to accept that as reality. We are
truly, truly addicted to that petroleum. And we need
to change how we (plan for transportation).”

The state requires planning boards across Florida
to submit an updated long-range plan every five
years. Past plans moved through approvals with
little fanfare and minimal comment. Friday’s hours-
long meeting, Lee County Commission Chairwoman
Tammy Hall said, marked a sea change.

“We recognize that we’re going to add another
600,000 people here,” Hall said. “We have to make
sure that we’re doing everything in our power not to
just make this a concrete jungle.”

This is the first year the long-range plan details
public transportation. It’s a hopeful sign, said Darla
Letourneau, a member of BikeWalkLee, but little more
than paper without the funds to back it up.

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