Changes being proposed to Matanzas Bay Pass bridge to help ease traffic

Making streets safer for beachgoers. Fort Myers Beach is looking to create a pedestrian walkway at the base of the Matanzas Pass Bridge.

It’s just one of the many recommendations, like getting rid of some crosswalks and moving tram stops.

“That frustrates me coming here too, but people need to get across,” said Tom Sakefski from Fort Myers Beach.

He and his wife Sandy can tell you a thing or two about traffic coming across the bridge to get to Fort Myers Beach.

“It’s not unusual coming down this main bridge and seeing traffic during season to be backed up and you’re already sitting there for an hour, hour and a half and then you get down here and you can’t move,” said Sandy Sakefski.

They say part of the reason is the increased foot traffic to get to the beach. The Town of Fort Myers Beach has noticed it too, which is why they’re working with the county to minimize pedestrian traffic near the foot of the bridge.

They want to make the area safer for people walking near the bridge and space where Margaritaville will go.

Some of those recommendations include eliminating crosswalks near the bridge and adding pedestrian barriers to keep people from illegally walking across the street—something visitor Kevin Unger says he’s guilty of.

“You have to park on the side and you wanna be over here in the crosswalk, maybe, to the north or to the south and you just wanna go straight across, so you kinda look and run,” he said.

Other possibilities include moving the Times Square Trolley Stop near Crescent Beach and adding another traffic light at the corner of Estero and Old San Carlos Boulevard. The lights would get synced to prevent backups.

“If they synced it up, I think that will be good. It kind of starts traffic and stops traffic, allows other traffic to intersect,” said Unger.

The mayor hopes to meet with Lee Commissioner Ray Sandelli in the next couple of weeks and share the town’s recommendations. The hope is to get them included before any plans for this area are finalized.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Briana Harvath
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