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LEE COUNTY: Fed grant sparks conversation on road safety...or the lack thereof

The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization now wants to hear how you think the county can fix some of its most dangerous roads.
Federal grant sparks conversation on road safety in Lee County, or the lack thereof
Posted at 7:28 AM, Jun 25, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A grant for safer streets is sparking conversation in the community about just how dangerous some of our roads really are.

"For those who haven't been affected by this crash or haven't had their family affected by this crash, we want to make this a real and tactile issue," said Matthew Maher, a senior associate with Stantec and representing the Lee Couty MPO.

An issue that is all too familiar in Southwest Florida.

A Lee County study found on average there are more than 120 roadway deaths in the county and more than 600 serious injury crashes each year.

Map of marked dangerous roads in Lee County MPO study
Map of marked dangerous roads in Lee County MPO study

Even with those numbers in the hundreds, there were people in Monday's meeting who were not surprised.

"Unless someone has been personally impacted by it, people won't do anything," said Diana Giraldo, a resident of nearly 20 years and who has a personal story when it comes to road safety. "I was hit in 2016 and the outcome of that was two spinal fractures and a brain injury, so it took me a long time to recover and it's something that I have to manage and work through the rest of my life."

She was riding her bike off Six Mile Cypress when she was hit.

"It's about everybody, so if you don't provide the infrastructure for the most vulnerable users, who are your pedestrians and your cyclists, you're gonna continue to have this issue," said Giraldo.

One area of concern is Pine Island Road.

While it doesn't have sidewalks, it is still used by pedestrians and bicyclists day and night.

Maher says the grant helps form a safety action plan to highlight issue areas like Pine Island Road and give suggestions on what should be done.

"Bike lanes that have a buffer added in. Maybe there's some segments of that road or any of the other roads where there's actually right of way and we're able to dedicate say a multi-use path," are some suggestions Maher had for the busy road.

The next public meeting before they turn over their solutions is December 9. The survey to give your opinions on the most dangerous roads can be found here. Maher says the survey will be open through December 2024.

Fox 4 will keep you up to date on the solutions.