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Community meeting set to discuss intersections

Opinions differ on how to make cross streets on Del Prado safer

February 21, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Proponents of installing a traffic signal at an intersection where a teen was hit and killed will hold an informational meeting Thursday for the public.

The community meeting, which will run from 5 to 7 p.m., will focus on the county's proposed changes at the intersections on Del Prado Boulevard North at Northeast Third Terrace and Northeast Second Terrace.

The county plans to install directional medians at both intersections that would restrict traffic traveling on Northeast Third and Second from going straight across Del Prado and from making a left-hand turn to head north on the boulevard.

"We are going to have the county's plans blown up on boards, so they can see the revised plans," said Kim Seyer, who is representing the RaceTrac at the corner of Del Prado and Northeast Third as part of The Seyer Group.

The meeting takes place at Grace Methodist Church at 13 S.E. 21st Place.

The county began looking at the area following a fatal accident in 2010.

Ryan Michael Santos, 13, of 228 N.E. 16th Place, was struck in April by a vehicle when he attempted to cross Del Prado on his bicycle, just south of Northeast Third Terrace. Ryan, who was not wearing a helmet, was ejected from the bicycle.

The teen was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Ryan's family and friends began pushing for a traffic signal at Northeast Third Terrace.

After examining the area roadways, county staffers determined that a signal was not warranted because the side street traffic numbers did not meet the criteria for one. Traffic on Del Prado did meet the criteria.

The county has maintained its stance, despite an offer from RaceTrac to cover the cost of the signal. Staffers have since come up with the proposal for the directional medians, a plan that is complete and ready to go to bid.

At Thursday's meeting, staff from The Seyer Group will be on hand to answer questions from visitors. Every 15 minutes, information comparing the proposed directional medians and a traffic signal will be presented.

"The whole idea is people are busy - stop by on the way home, get the information and make a decision for yourself," she said. "It helps us in having an ongoing dialogue of what's the safest answer for that intersection."

Seyer noted that, according to the city, nearby Burton Park has 150,000 visitors each year. A "very busy park," she referred to the proposal for the directional medians as an "obstacle course" for young and old pedestrians.

According to Seyer, the closest pedestrian crossings are more than a half mile to the north at Northeast Sixth Terrace or one mile to the south at Hancock Bridge Parkway. She said the county's proposal will not improve pedestrian safety.

"The bottom line is a kid's not gonna do that, an adult's not going to do that," Seyer said. "They're still not making it a legal crossing."

Ryan's mother, Kerri Santos, and others have been passing out flyers on the meeting and going door-to-door in nearby neighborhoods the last few days.

"So we can make everybody aware of what's going on," she said.

According to Santos, the reaction from residents has been positive.

"They're actually very eager to go to the meeting and get something done there for children's safety," she said.

Santos called the meeting an opportunity to learn about the proposed road changes, offer input on the plans and show support for the community.

"It's not safe," she said of the intersection at Northeast Third Terrace.

Last week, the city's Transportation Advisory Commission recommended that the Cape Coral City Council further consider a signal at the intersection at its next meeting and that the council go on the record in support of it.

Council members will meet Monday to discuss the signal and county's plan.

 
 

 

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