Thursday, October 25, 2012

Traffic signal is needed NOW at new Michael G. Rippe Parkway (Metro extension) and Briarcliff Rd.

Thanks to Jay Anderson, Fire District Commissioner (and Executive Director of Stay Alive...Just Drive! ); Fire Chief Lombardo, and attorney Craig Hersch for speaking out in support of the urgent need for this traffic signal at Briarcliff. Check today's News-Press article,
"Crashes raise concerns about recently opened Metro Parkway Extension".

Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:47 AM
Subject: Traffic signal

As the carnage has begun and will continue I am contacting you to ask why the traffic signal at the intersection of Briarcliffe Rd and the newly opened Michael G. Rippe Parkway in south Lee County was not included. I noticed your email response clearly states "Remember - safety IS our business!!!". I can safely say that some how, some where, some one didn't receive this message.

Here is a response I received yesterday after explaining the who, what, when, where and why FDOT uses to determine the need for a traffic signal. South Trail Fire Chief Bill Lombardo's comment hits the nail on the head.

Thanks Jay….I believe if the fire service worked the same way as DOT, we would allow people to build a building without any fire codes and worry about installing fire protection and exit lights after a fire killed all of the occupants. It just doesn’t make sense. They really need to change the way they do business.

This intersection is in our fire district and has a direct impact on our residents, visitors and those who will travel the route daily. I personally ask that you address our concerns and expedite the signal installation before a crash claims a life. The infrastructure is in place, funding was allocated for a future installation and as far as we are concerned (I speak on behalf of the STFD board of commissioners) the FUTURE is now.

Yours in service,

John "Jay" F. Anderson, II, TSP
South Trail Fire and Rescue
Office: (239) 433-0080
Cell: (239) 340-8693

Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Traffic signal

Dear Ms. Hollingsworth,

I echo Jay Anderson’s sentiments on the traffic signal at the intersection of Briarcliff Rd. and Michael G. Rippe Parkway in south Lee County. 

I would certainly never claim to be a traffic Engineer and I do not have any knowledge of the many federal and state laws that I’m sure you must adhere to when designing a roadway; however, I do understand safety and I understand risk analysis and injury prevention.  As such, I believe wholeheartedly that the methodology the Department of Transportation is utilizing to determine if a traffic signal is needed at a given intersection is severely flawed and leads to unneeded deaths and injuries on our roadways. 

No one who deals with hazardous material or fire prevention waits until there are serious incidents to see if it “warrants” a change.  If this were the way we operated, people would be dying daily of tanker explosions, pipeline incidents, and multiple death structure fires.  We would only fix the problem after the mayhem.   Instead, we analyze the risk of a given situation prior to an incident in order to prevent an event from occurring. 

I implore you to take the lead in making the needed changes to save lives.  I can’t imagine that a change of this magnitude will be easy, but it should be done and it must be done.  We cannot sit back and allow people to continue to die on our roadways simply because of poor planning.  This is not only important for Briarcliff Road, but it is important to the overall safety of our Roadways in the State of Florida.

Yours in Service,

William B. Lombardo
Fire Chief
South Trail Fire District
5531 Halifax Ave.
Ft. Myers, FL 33912

Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 3:34 PM
Subject: Traffic Signal - Briarcliffe Road and Michael G. Rippe Parkway - Lee County Florida

Ms. Hollingsworth:

The FDOT really missed the boat in not installing a traffic signal at the intersection of the new Michael G. Rippe Parkway and Briarcliffe Road upon the opening of the parkway. It is only a matter of time before someone loses their life needlessly.

As a parent of teenage drivers who live in the area I urge you to immediately install a traffic signal at that intersection. The amount and speed of the traffic warrants a traffic signal not at some point in the future – but now. I urge you to try to cross that intersection with a car safely, never mind a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Please do what is right and get a signal installed as soon as possible.

Craig Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates; CPA


  1. This is the ONLY intersection on the 5-day-old Metro Pkwy Extension. I don't understand why they couldn't put up a light?! When I drove it, the first thing I noticed is how I almost got hit by someone at this intersection. It's humongous wide and dimly lit at night. It's also one of the only entrances to the Briarcliff neighborhood, so of course there will be lots of cross-traffic. Another oversight on the the long list of failures with this project...

  2. Thanks for commenting. You may want to share your comments with FDOT.


BikeWalkLee is not responsible for the validity of any comment posted at this site and has the right to remove any comment at any time.