Committee of the Islands

Keeping Sanibel Special Since 1975

Buses preferred by whom?

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April 08, 2011

ISLAND SUN - APRIL 8 , 2011 8 is a review of available information and the design of studies to produce additional data Buses ‘ Preferred ’ On Sanibel ? needed . The public engagement program , the data collection and the carrying capacity assessment will feed the generation of alternative options . The final stage of this grant Preferred By Whom ? is the evaluation of the options . If that process produces an action plan , there may also be grants available for implementation . by Barbara Joy Cooley , president , Committee of the Islands “ COTI sees potential benefit for Sanibel in this grant . The data collection should he consultant for the Alternative Transportation Study help us understand the traffic situation better . We find the focus on carrying capac - in connection with the J . N . “ Ding ” Darling National ity encouraging . At the same time , we are concerned over the risk that inadequately TWildlife Refuge has now come up with a plan called the considered changes focused on the refuge might have unintended adverse effects on Locally Preferred Alternative . The problem is , it is not pre - island traffic overall . We plan to work with other interested groups to help channel the ferred at all by the locals . process constructively . We hope that the results of this effort can assist with the search How did this happen ? for answers to our traffic congestion challenge . ” At Committee of the Islands , we realize that vehicular traffic Where is the data ? congestion during the peak season has long been an important So what happened ? An important component of the initial plan was to carry out issue for the residents of Sanibel . We have participated in all of a “ destination study . ” Where is that study ? Where is the data that was supposed to the major studies of this problem since the incorporation of the be collected in March of 2008 ? Where is the analysis of island refuge and carrying city . We started reaching out to the members of the steering capacity thresholds ? What about that “ substantial public involvement ” ? True , three committee for the current study in January , 2008 . Below is an extract from our winter public workshops were held in early 2009 , but where is the documentation of what 2008 newsletter indicating our involvement and position : the public said ? What we heard residents say at these events was that they don’t want “ City Council’s December 18 [ 2007 ] meeting marked an important new develop - buses brought onto the streets of Sanibel , because there was no evidence that they ment on the traffic front . Council approved in principle the contract for a $ 750,000 would alleviate congestion – only that the buses would bring more people instead . study ( now $ 1.6 million ) funded by the U.S . Department of Transportation . The appli - Where can one go to view the “ locally preferred alternative ” ? Answer : no place . cation for the grant stated its objective as seeking , ‘ alternative transportation options to What we did see at the meeting held earlier this year , on January 26 , at The reduce the number of vehicles entering environmentally sensitive property within the Community House was a slide showing a circulator bus plan , with the bus stopping at City of Sanibel and at the J . N . “ Ding ” Darling National Wildlife Refuge . ’ The study island resorts and a few other places like the refuge and the shell museum . includes money for an analysis of island and refuge carrying capacity thresholds . But there were no handouts or reports distributed that could be examined . No data . “ Sanibel , the refuge and Lee County , through LeeTran , have established a joint No analysis . steering committee to oversee the study . LeeTran will serve as the project manager Back in December , 2008 , the Committee of the Islands submitted comments and funding conduit . The work will include data collection , probably during the March , regarding the $ 1.6 million study funded by the U.S . Department of Transportation . 2008 , peak season . The plan provides for substantial public involvement . The first task ( Your tax dollars at work . ) We said , “ The data collection portion of the study is a major component . ” Where is it ? A 12 - month solution to a 3 - month problem ? Our comments also urged “ that any proposed changes recognize the seasonality of the problems we are trying to mitigate . Sanibel traffic is an issue for only three months of the year . We do not need 12 - month solutions . ” Common sense , right ? This com - mon sense is not part of the consultant’s “ locally preferred alternative . ” The locals , at the January 26 meeting , said very clearly that they preferred the “ no change ” alternative . In other words , no buses , thank you . The one change that was fervently requested was a re - paving of Wildlife Drive , to make it usable by bicycles . But that change was not a part of this study . ( It will probably happen anyway , as a part of other work to be done in the refuge . ) We say the locally preferred alternative in this transportation study is “ no change . ” What do you say ? Plan to speak up at the next one of these Alternative Transportation Study public meetings , on April 13 at 4 : 30 p.m . at The Community House , 2173 Periwinkle Way . You can also email your comments to sancouncil @ . Committee of the Islands also invites your comments . Email them to coti @ . Information on this and other island issues is also available on our website at . Share your community news with us . Call 395 - 1213 , Fax : 395 - 2299 or email press @ Island Winds Coiffures Hair Salon for Women & Men Please Welcome " Josephine " featuring Facial Threading . . . ( facial hair removal ) Featuring Manicures • Pedicures • Cuts • Color • Perms " Let us NEW CUSTOMERS ALWAYS WELCOME ! Pamper You ! " 695 Tarpon Bay Road , Sanibel • Promenade • 472 - 2591

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