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Traffic and parking on Fort Myers Beach

By Staff | Jan 22, 2020

To the editor:

According the a report in the Beach Observer on Jan 8, our Town Council discussed the seemingly incurable problem of traffic back-ups on Fort Myers Beach. The traffic jam season seems to get longer each year and also more tiresome.

Apparently, our Town Council has commissioned a parking study, which cost tax payers $16,500, but which does not seem to have produced any solutions.

I think that our Town Councilmember Joanne Shamp got it right when she said that there are already too many cars for the roads available. She graphically described it as having ‘7 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag.’

The reason for the traffic jams is NOT a lack of parking spaces, but that there are simply too many cars on the road at peak periods. This wastes time and causes pollution and frustration.

There is NO POSSIBILITY to widen Estero Boulevard and also other roads, so there is absolutely no point in creating extra parking spaces on our island, as this will only encourage motorists to try and bring their cars onto the island. Often this leads to frustration, rather than pleasure.

The answer is to encourage drivers to park their cars off the island and use frequent, comfortable and convenient trolleys, which should be free, for the last bit of their journey.

I know many “Park and Ride” schemes, which work well in other locations. Usually the buses or trolleys run every 10 minutes and they are free. This makes it much more convenient to leave one’s car, rather than sitting in it steaming in a traffic jam for an hour or so.

If people wanting to go to the beach during the season, were to use the trolley, a lot of traffic would be taken off the road. This would be a great benefit for the beach goers, the Emergency Services and other road users, who have to use their cars because there is no trolley service to their destination.

But for the trolley service to be used, it must be more convenient than driving all the way to the beach. Other cities and towns have established successful Park and Ride schemes, and I think we can do it too.

Gertraud Short

Fort Myers Beach