TO: Local Planning Agency

FROM: Bill Spikowski

DATE: April 28, 1997

SUBJECT: Alternate Concept for the Transportation Element


Preparation of a transportation element for your new comprehensive plan has still not begun. On April 8, the Local Planning Agency reviewed the two proposals that had been solicited from engineering firms to create this element. Both were rejected due to their high cost and the fact that they would not analyze commonly suggested ideas such as better bicycle paths, water taxis, increased marina capacity, reversible lanes on the bridge, selective widening of Estero Boulevard, or dedicated transit lanes. Both proposals were primarily aimed at meeting the state's minimum requirements for a transportation element rather than attempting to provide substantive help to the town in reducing congestion or in improving mobility.

The LPA decided to drop the idea of subcontracting the entire transportation element to an engineering firm, and requested an alternate proposal from Spikowski Planning Associates that would include the following ingredients:

  • The focus of the element would be on personal mobility, rather than enhancing the capacity of the road network.
  • Any Rule 9J-5 requirements that may not be directly applicable to the Town would be minimized (or eliminated entirely); any DCA objections to this approach would be dealt with by the Town at that time.
  • A citizen's committee would work with the consulting team to identify potential improvements in traffic flow and management and to review the consultants' preliminary work.
  • The LPA would invite the Chamber of Commerce traffic committee to appoint a special subcommittee of those members most interested in Estero Island traffic problems and solutions. The LPA chairman would appoint an official liaison to this subcommittee and additional members as he sees fit.
  • This subcommittee would meet at Town Hall (or another central location of its choosing).
  • Background material would be copied by the Town and left in mail slots for members' review (in the same manner as for LPA packets).
  • Four structured subcommittee meetings are anticipated, at monthly intervals and beginning in about 30 days. At each meeting, members would critique written material prepared by the consultants and would focus on specific transportation problems and opportunities in a specific geographic area (e.g., Time Square, mid-island, north end, etc.)
  • Direct community assistance in data collection could take two forms. One or more members could agree to field-verify the exact location and/or dimensions of physical improvements on the island (sidewalks, turning lanes, trolley pull-offs, etc.). Or on a larger scale, members of the subcommittee may be willing to conduct a survey of island businesses. This would identify typical travel patterns of their employees and obtain reactions to some potential alternatives to reduce the number of vehicles on the road during the peak season.

    This proposal was designed to stay within your maximum budget of $45,000. To do so, we have not been able to include any additional work on traffic-calming techniques. Walter Kulash has agreed to assist us on this matter (or any other portion of this element), but that expense would have to be budgeted separately. Most standard traffic calming techniques are designed for local streets and would not be applicable along Estero Boulevard. Our real need is for custom engineering design of typical roadway cross-sections for different portions of the Estero Boulevard, showing street trees, curbs, sidewalks, and on-street parking near Villa Santini.

    We will discuss this alternative concept at your meeting at 7:00 P.M. on May 6.

    Alternate Concept for Transportation Element

    Draft — April 28, 1997


    Background Data

  • Provide an inventory of major roads, bridges, bike/ped. facilities, trolley routes, trolley pull-offs, center turning lanes, bike/pedestrian paths, boat ramps, and boat slips (a series of maps depicting existing transportation conditions).
  • Summarize existing data on tourist volumes, modes of travel, typical length of stay, and seasonal fluctuations.
  • Summarize data gathered by others on traffic crashes, traffic counts, turn movements, modal split, etc.

    Local Transportation Problems

    1. Summarize existing data on the adequacy of the local transportation network, including levels of service and seasonal congestion.
    2. Identify traffic conflicts caused by direct property access, frequent intersections, and public beach access points along Estero Blvd.
    3. Contrast travel behavior during peak and off-peak periods, including interface between various modes of travel.
    4. Summarize the chronic shortage of parking facilities in peak season based on the 1993 core area inventory by Florida Transportation Engineering, with particular emphasis on the needs of small businesses lacking the space to provide enough on-site parking.
    5. Summarize the adequacy of evacuation routes based on the 1995 study by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.
    6. Analyze the adequacy of the existing bike/ped. network; identify gaps and potential funding sources for their completion.


    Transportation Analyses Required by Rule 9J-5.019(3), including

    1. existing Levels of Service (LOS), vehicle trips, and major trip generators (all based on available data, including FTE's February 1993 reports Traffic Volume and Capacity on Estero Island and Traffic Origin and Destination Survey) and 1995 report Estero Boulevard Corridor Study.
    2. availability of transportation facilities to serve existing land uses;
    3. growth trends and interactions between land use and transportation and compatibility between future land uses and transportation elements;
    4. existing and projected intermodal deficiencies;
    5. projected transportation system levels of service and system needs, and need for new systems;
    6. compatibility with policies of FDOT Adopted Work Program, MPO, and Lee DOT;
      how the Town can maintain adopted levels of service.


    Fort Myers Beach Transportation Planning Options

    1. Assess the feasibility of supply-side (capital intensive) transportation improvements such as limited widening of Estero Blvd. or an additional bridge (particularly their respective rights-of-way and environmental implications).
    2. Consider the feasibility of transportation improvements such as reversible lanes (in lieu of breakdown lanes) on the Matanzas Pass Bridge.
    3. Evaluate roadway maintenance options including potential turnover of Estero Blvd by Lee County.
    4. Summarize Times Square public parking options: surface vs. garage cost differentials; design alternatives; public vs. private funding; land purchase vs. lease; shared parking scheme in WRT's 1993 Core Area Master Plan.
    5. Evaluate the feasibility of Bowditch Point boat ramp/dockage & public parking,
    6. Describe innovative law enforcement measures such as video cameras, bike patrols, etc.
    7. Evaluate recent signage improvements, monitor their effectiveness, and explore alternatives.
    8. Identify potential "Transportation Demand Management" (TDM) options.
    9. Assess the potential for Single Occupant Vehicles (SOV ) "trip Interceptors" such as off-island boat ramps, transit parking, bike/ped. network, etc.
    10. Assess the potential for inter-island trip conversions to alternate modes (e.g. water taxi, trolley, bike, or foot).
    11. Identify issues & opportunities for transportation to and from concentrated nodes of activity (e.g. Times Square, Bowditch Point, Villa Santini).
    12. Describe desirable integration between alternate travel modes and other improvements proposed in the community design element.

     Identify Possible Courses of Action for the Town of Fort Myers Beach

    1. Develop public/private partnerships and business incentives for the use of High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV).
    2. Consider feasibility of HOV lanes to accommodate transit/trolley ridership and car/van pools.
    3. Identify potential disincentives for SOV, such as SOV parking surcharge, HOV parking preference, HOV preferred customer discounts.
    4. Promote alternate travel modes through public assistance to water taxi facilities, transit/trolley pull-offs, beach access points including bike/ped. facilities (paths/lockers/showers).
    5. Develop funding mechanisms for the routine maintenance and operation of pavement systems and cyclical reconstruction.
    6. Organize a transportation management association to implement TDM measures and recruit public/private sectors membership and secure funding.
    7. Establish a parking district or association to facilitate cooperative/shared parking agreements (dual use and reciprocal parking), conduct routine physical inventory, control revenue systems and rate structures, hours of operation, length of stay restrictions.

    Proposed Goals/Objectives/Policies to:

    1. Improve the safety & mobility of residents and tourists and increase the efficiency of the transportation network through TDM and other measures.
    2. Better manage the congested roadways that are inevitable during the peak season
      Integrate transportation policies with the community design objectives of the comprehensive plan.
    3. Develop bike/ped. circulation plan to capitalize on the bike and foot traffic potential.
    4. Identify an appropriate "level-of-service" for roadways.
    5. Prepare other goals and objectives required by state statutes and rules.


    Appendix A: Regulatory Issues