|Published:||Dec 18, 2012 6:02 PM EST|
|Updated:||Dec 19, 2012 10:09 AM EST|
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- As high season sets in, some say a designated trolley lane is the solution to the traffic nightmare on San Carlos Boulevard.
The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced it will pledge $1.28 million to study the road.
Fort Myers resident Joanne Gore commutes to the beach for work on a regular basis.
"I have spent many a day especially coming off the beach, 2 hours in traffic to go 4 miles, and getting on the beach it can be as long as an hour," she said.
The Fort Myers Beach trolley makes stops from Summerlin Square all the way to Lovers Key State Park.
It runs every 45 minutes out of season and every 15 minutes in season.
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Bob Raymond says designating a lane from the Park & Ride at Summerlin Square to the lot at the base of the Matanzas Bridge would cut drive time dramatically.
"The direct trolley to the beach will not stop. It will come direct to the beach which is why it will take you 15 minutes."
In a 2011 study, LeeTran identified 5 choices for a trolley lane. Those choices will be used as a basic figure for FDOT's study, while the department looks at other alternatives.
The options studied by LeeTran include the trolley sharing the center lane with turning cars, eliminating the center lane to create a southbound trolley lane, widening the road to add a dedicated southbound trolley lane while maintining a center turn lane, eliminating one northbound travel lane to create a dedicated southbound trolley lane, or eliminating one northbound and one southbound lane to create two dedicated trolley lanes for both directions.
Gore doesn't like the thought of getting rid of existing traffic lanes.
"I have an office in Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach, so for me personally, I would not like to see that happen," she said.
According to LeeTran's study, adding a trolley lane could increase ridership by up to 20%.
Most of the alternatives are estimated to cost just over $2 million, with the road widening option estimated at close to $6.5 million.
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