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Potential state funding to crack down on Fort Myers roadway safety

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 18:54:54-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Money from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) could be coming to the Fort Myers Police Department in the hopes it will cut down on pedestrian and cyclist crashes — a problem some say is far too common in the area.

"Do people pay attention? No. No on cares," said Fort Myers resident Michael Todeeo.

Todeeo feels there is no empathy for cyclists and pedestrians on Fort Myers roadways, especially in the area of Fowler St. downtown.

"If you got hit, nobody would stop," he said.

It's a state-wide issue, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, with a reported 18 cyclists involved in a crash every day.

That concern is exactly what the $33 thousand from FDOT would aim to address.

“Traffic is on my radar and it will be [one of] the first things I want to tackle,” said newly appointed Fort Myers Police Chief Jason Fields.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Fox 4's Briana Brownlee, just days before Chief Fields took on the role, he pointed out an increase in traffic homicides and bodily injuries.

In a City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Chief Fields addressed the Council regarding the grant from FDOT.

Specifically, it aims to offset overtime and patrol crews to be visible, encourage people to drive safely around pedestrians, cyclists and each other.

The item carried at Tuesday's meeting, but some are still skeptical.

"It's a waste of money," said Tadeeo. "No amount of money is going to fix distracted driving."