Neighbors say project proposal diminishes charm of street in Naples

The City of Naples wants to rip up a roadway and improve stormwater piping for its beaches, but that means the road could get a new look.

We spoke to neighbors who worry about the proposed changes to Gulf Shore Blvd. in Naples in fear it could diminish the charm of the street they live on.

Drive down a stretch of Gulf Shore Blvd., and lavish homes, tall hedges and beautiful palm trees can be seen. Neighbor Trip Dryden says he moved where changes could be made in the city for the charm.

“Came to town, and I looked at Gulf Shore Boulevard and some of the streets in Naples,” Dryden said. “And I said, ‘This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

That’s why he and other neighbors don’t want to see this road change. Green signs can be seen that say “Save GSB.” Neighbors are fighting the city proposal to lift and widen Gulf Shore Blvd. as part of a beach restoration and water quality project. The city plan also calls for adding bike lanes.

“I think that bike safety is a very important thing, but I don’t think that this is going to solve the problem,” Dryden said.

Dryden’s neighbor James San Filippo argues that bikers on this stretch of road already pose a threat to pedestrians.

“Making a bike lane would create faster cars and faster bikers,” San Filippo said.

City leaders will discuss the project at a public workshop 1 p.m. Tuesday at Naples City Hall. Members of the public are welcome to attend and offer suggestions, but no decisions will be made during the scheduled workshop.

Although the city says nothing is set in stone, San Filippo believes adding bike lanes would lessen the landscape, which adds to the charm of the street.

“If they wanna make it safer, than what to do would be slow everybody down, add more crosswalks, add more stop signs,” San Filippo said.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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