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A great idea

September 23, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

In spite of all the thousands of dollars spent on traffic studies, engineers and consultants have failed to identify a simple solution for bridge pedestrian/bicycle traffic.

The following are FREE recommendations which will allow bicycle traffic (both E-Bikes and traditional pedal type) to safely cross Matanzas bridge.

The existing blue barrier separating pedestrians and cyclists walking their bikes from traffic (some do some don't) needs to be relocated to the west to include the area now allocated for northbound emergency stopping vehicles. This land (only 1/2 of a car width) is useless and rarely used by motor vehicles. Presently, northbound cyclists who wish to ride their bikes over the bridge are forced to use this lane exposing themselves to trucks and cars going in the same direction. Conversely, southbound cyclists must use the trolley lane with the same exposure to traffic.

In my opinion both options are extremely dangerous. It is only a matter of time before a cyclist gets spiked by a motorist.

Once the barrier is moved, the new "protected area" (the northbound emergency lane plus the existing pedestrian walkway) can be bisected with pavement markings delineating wider cyclist/pedestrian lanes. Due to the width of these new bike lane, cyclists can now "ride" their bikes safely over the bridge. The new "protected area" will also create friendlier interaction between cyclists and pedestrians on the bridge. Additionally, this new pedestrian/cyclist lane would eliminate southbound cyclists from crossing (with no traffic signal) San Carlos Boulevard to get to the trolley lane.

In the event of an emergency/accident, southbound motorists would merge into the rarely used trolley lane allowing police/EMT to quickly pass.

Finally, the cost to affect this "no brainer" idea would be minimal compared to the obvious safety and common sense bridge crossing logistics it solves.

Please help me to advance this proposal with the appropriate decision makers before someone gets hurt.

Peter Beauchamp

Fort Myers Beach



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