The proposal for a major redevelopment on Fort Myers Beach has many wondering how traffic would be affected. Monday, developers Grand Resorts-Fort Myers Beach unveiled plans including new hotels, restaurants, and a pedestrian mall near the Matanzas Pass Bridge.
The redevelopment project would drastically change the face of Fort Myers Beach, including the traffic going to and from the often congested island.
"I assure you, the traffic congestion is going to be significantly improved," said Tom Torgerson of Grand Resorts-Fort Myers Beach.
At a presentation on Monday to members of the Fort Myers Beach town council and Lee County Commissioners, Grand Resorts-FMB laid out a plan that would convert the current roadway of Estero Boulevard into a pedestrian mall for several blocks south of the bridge. A new Estero Boulevard would be built slightly north of the current road, away from pedestrians.
"When you're trying to squeeze 70,000 people on a 7-mile island, I don't know how much anything will ease it," said Adam Clark, owner of the Doghouse hotdog stand on Estero Boulevard. "But I'm willing to definitely give it a shot and try something new."
The developers also hope to eliminate the traffic light on the island side of the bridge, and create a roundabout to allow for continuous traffic flow for getting on and off the island. They say it can be done without closing the current roadway.
"I like the idea of a roundabout," said Nikki Wilson, who manages the Island Sol t-shirt shop. "I'm from New England, where we have them."
To learn more about the proposed redevelopment and traffic changes, more information is available at GrandResortsFMB.com. The site contains renderings of how Fort Myers Beach would look after construction is complete, if the project gets approved.