THE REDESIGN OF JOEL BLVD FROM 4 TO 3 LANES

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PETITION CONCERNING THE REDESIGN OF JOEL BOULEVARD

The Lee county Department of Transportation recently revealed plans to redesign Joel Blvd from Country Club Parkway to East 17th street, ostensibly in an effort to improve safety. The plan specifies a reduction of lanes from 4 to 3 with a middle turning lane, and to dedicate the remaining ten foot right of way to five foot bike and pedestrian paths on either side of the road. We believe this is an ill conceived effort. 

Assuming the 3 lane scenario, any right turn will invariably slow any following traffic resulting in the “accordion effect” of slow/fast traffic flow. This is more dangerous than a steady traffic flow. It will result in more rear-end crashes, and it will encourage impatient and impolite drivers to pass in the turning lane. These effects are real and self evident. Note that there are both private and public enterprises on Joel, including two gas stations (one with a convenience store), another free standing convenience store, a market, a golf course, a car wash, three churches, and a fire station, not to mention the residential streets and individual driveways, both east and west that intersect Joel. The public safety organizations, fire and sheriff, will have serious concerns over the proposed design. There are also school bus and Lee Tran stops that will cause the complete stop of traffic.

Also note that exits from the Lehigh Acres community are limited. We have only one way North to Highway 80 via Joel, one way West via Lee Blvd, and South via Columbus Blvd and Bell Blvd, although Alabama can be reached via Homestead/Leland Heights. Sunshine and Gunnery can only be reached via Lee Blvd. There is no Eastern exit from Lehigh Acres. This highlights some concern over evacuation routes in case of emergencies. To reduce a northern evacuation route from 4 to 3 lanes only increases the concern. The public safety organizations, fire and sheriff, will have serious concerns over the proposed design. There are also school bus and Lee Tran stops that will the complete stop of traffic.
The letter announcing this plan made no mention of a traffic study.

The public safety organizations, fire and sheriff, will have serious concerns over the proposed design.

So, aside from the safety concerns, the inconvenience and aggravation this plan will engender is intolerable to the public. We therefore petition the Board of County Commissioners to direct a review of this plan, so to find other alternative traffic control measures and remedies to the perceived cause of the plan.