New park-and-ride facility planned for Lehigh Acres

Gas prices are up, and now that school is back in session, the driving headaches are worse. Lee County commissioners hope to alleviate your commuting nightmares by bringing more public transportation to Lehigh Acres via a new park-and-ride facility.

LeeTran says bus ridership has risen 30% in the last decade, so the county is looking to build a park-and-ride facility adjacent to Lehigh Acres Park on Village Lake Boulevard. A lot of Lehigh residents work or visit places outside of town, and the new spot would give residents the ability to park their car and take a bus to those stops. It would include up to four new bus bays, a covered area with benches and restrooms.

This would come with the benefits of less traffic on our roads and lower fuel costs for drivers. But will people actually use it?

“I just don’t see it being an option that people will support right now in Lehigh,” said Lehigh Acres resident Ricardo Lampkin. “I think people just prefer to use their vehicles.”

“I know a lot of people who ride the bus, and it would be really good,” said fellow resident Hugh Ryan. “More shelters, more buses, more parking.”

The population of Lehigh Acres has increased by around 30,000 people since 2010, many of whom must travel in their own vehicles on busy roads like SR-82 day after day.

“As traffic continues to increase on those roadways, that means that the population is growing out there,” said Robert Codie, director of transit for LeeTran. “So that means there’s an additional service that’s needed in that area, to which we are trying to really put a footprint down in Lehigh Acres.”

The design process is expected to take 11 months and cost more than $350,000. County commissioners awarded the design contract to Johnson Engineering Inc. during the Tuesday meeting.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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