I am a resident at Lexington Country club 6 miles off the island. I vacationed here twice a year since 1976 until we retired in 2007. We now spend 7-8 months a year here. Since our vacations were in January and at Easter, I have witnessed stalled lines of cars on San Carlos for 3 miles back to Pine Ridge every weekend and other sunny days. Last Saturday we came off the island and saw the cars backed up to Sumerlin at 11:30 A.M. For the last 10 years I have ben thinking of writing a letter to the papers suggesting a 1000 car parking ramp accessed directly off the bridge. I have shared my thoughts with some Times Square business owners.
I calculated that it is 3 miles from Sumerlin to Times Square, 2 miles of 2 lanes and 1 mile of 1 lane. Thus 5 times 5280 or 26440 feet of space involved divided by 25 feet for each parked car = 1056 parked cars at any given busy time period. If we moved these cars into a parking ramp accessed directly off the bridge we would go a long way towards solving our problem.
Tom Torgerson's original plan of a 1500 car parking ramp is in line with my assessment. It will need 500 stalls to replace existing parking and meeting parking needs of the new hotels, leaving 1000 additional spaces.
Presently, it takes about 1 hour to get from Sumerlin with the worst traffic jam. Thus traffic is travelling at 3 miles per hour. Torgerson's plan assumes a peak season traffic speed of 10 miles per hour. This is a reasonable estimate. There is no obstruction to traffic moving from Sumerlin to Times Square. The first obstruction is the right turn to go north on Estero. The second is the pedestrian crossing. The third is the cars looking for a place to park, from the foot of the bridge to 6 blocks to the south along with more pedestrians crossing he road. The plan removes most of these obstacles. Traffic will leave the roundabout in 3 or 4 different directions. The roundabout should be able to be designed so that right turning traffic will not obstruct access to the roundabout. If we assume that a moving car takes up 35 feet of space, at 3 mph it takes 9 seconds to go past a point or 400 cars per hour. At 10 mph it takes only 2 1/2 seconds or 1440 cars per hour.
The past week, TPI Hospitality CEO Tom Torgerson appeared twice on Fort Myers Beach. However, the public only got to interact with him with questions about the Grand Resorts development project on one of those occasions. On Wednesday, January 13, Torgerson appeared before the Marine Resources Task Force advisory board at the Fort Myers Beach Town Hall for a presentation about the forthcoming unveiling of changes to the development, including the heights of buildings and the redubbing of the controversial seawall, which is now a ‘Coastal Protection System’ or ‘Armoring Wall’ set behind dune vegetation.