3/14/12 Report by Steve Rodgers
Over 2,600 residents that live in the communities in the Fiddlesticks corridor South of Daniels were invited by Commissioner Brian Bigelow to attend a town hall meeting at the Riverside Church last night. Over 200 concerned citizens showed up to hear about proposals from LeeDOT officials Sarah Clarke and Mike Tisch that would improve the roadway there to include paved shoulders or a bike/pedestrian path in the near future.
Each proposal called for narrowing the road lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet and necessarily lowering the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph. The narrower road lanes would be required to add the shoulders or the 10 wide path and at the same time provide for continued water management along Fiddlesticks.
The overwhelming majority of those in attendance were in favor of the "bike/pedestrian path" option, citing better safety for bicyclists and pedestrians overall. There were concerns about the narrowed roadway, that motorists already exceed the speed limit, that a lot of trucks use the road, etc. Those concerns were eased when it was explained that the center turn lanes would still be there, that there are a number of 10 foot lanes throughout Lee County, and that a person traveling at 35 mph might take 15 seconds longer to get from the housing developments to Daniels Pkwy, In fact, one audience member asked everyone else, "why are we in such a hurry to get to Daniels when we will have to stop for the light there anyway?"
A survey and engineering study is already in the CIP budget for FY2014-2015, and construction funds are set for the project for FY2015-2016. Both LeeDOT officials did not think that it would be possible to move this project up to be completed any sooner.