|Published:||Jun 21, 2013 10:48 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 21, 2013 10:57 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla - Fighting over pavement in Port Royal. Cyclist and runners are asking city leaders for wider and safer roads, but residents say the changes will eat into their property and make the road more dangerous.
At the center of controversy is a mile and half stretch of Gordon Drive in the south end of Port Royal.
Widening the road was originally in the city's master plan, but when home owners started speaking out against the idea, they dropped it and now cyclists and runners are fighting to get the plan back on track.
On any given day you can find Mitch Norgart running or biking along Gordon Drive. "I work down there, I run down there and I bike down there so I'm there a lot because that's just a big part of my life," says Norgart.
As president of Gulf Coast Runners, he's leading the effort to widen a mile and a half stretch of Gordon Drive. His primary concern is safety.
"I've had encounters as a runner and as a cyclist," says Norgart. "If a motorist has to go around a pedestrian and go into an oncoming lane, that's not safe for the motorist, so it just seems natural, if we have the opportunity to widen Gordon Drive, lets do it for every ones interest."
The plan would use available funds from FDOT and widen the public road four feet on each side.
Sue Englehardt has lived along Gordon Drive for a decade. She and her husband are firmly against the plan. They are one of 32 property owners who say changing the road will affect the ambiance of the neighborhood and their property line.
"The widening would affect us and take away 10 or 12 feet of our front yard," says Englehardt.
According to the city, there has been one reported accident on that stretch of Gordon Drive since 2007, but those pounding the pavement aren't backing down. They feel it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
"The idea to just forget about the expansion of that public road and forget about the available funds from DOT that could help utilize the expansion, to forget about people's safety down there doesn't make any sense," say Patrick Ruff, president of Naples Pathways Coalition.
He is working with Gulf Coast Runners, Naples Area Triathletes and Naples VELO to get the plan back in front of City Council. They're urging anyone who uses that portion of Gordon Drive to share their feelings with council members.