NAPLES, Fla. - Naples city leaders say they are focused on making changes to the intersection of US 41 and 5th Avenue South. This comes days after plans to re-route 41 entirely we're scrapped.
The intersection where US 41 meets 5th Avenue is known as "Four Corners." The intersection has been at the forefront of discussion for three decades. City leaders say it's not pedestrian friendly, it's not biker friendly and it doesn't represent the character of downtown Naples. Those are issues they will take up with the Department of Transportation at the end of the month.
Naples Assistant City Manager Roger Reinke says, "we want to start a process to find out what the community wants and make those design changes to build a roadway that is compatible with the community desires and the character of Naples."
Reinke says nothing has been decided yet, but some ideas include increased landscaping and gateways that let people know they've arrived in downtown Naples.
Reinke says, "We have a world class community and we want US 41 to be the gateway to that community and we want it to be beautiful and set-up people for the experience they're going to have here & US 41 currently doesn't do that."
Downtown business owner Pete Pinero disagrees. "I would leave it the way it is," says Pinero. He and others near the problem intersection don't want the city to put a stop to something they say works.
Curtis Ledbetter says, "I don't think 41 hurts at all. It brings people to recognize there is a downtown Naples."
City leaders say this isn't an issue over traffic, but an issue at Four Corners and making downtown Naples more pedestrian and bike friendly.
Reinke says, "The traffic engineers have done all the numbers. We don't have an interest in reducing traffic on US 41. We have an interest in improving the roadway so it's more compatible with the community."
City staff plan to sit down with Florida DOT staff at the end of the month to discuss some of these issues. US 41 is owned by Florida DOT so any decisions made have to through them.