Since 2021, the GPICA Board has been addressing traffic issues with Lee County Department of Transportation staff as well as our Lee County Representative, Commissioner Kevin Ruane. We’re particularly interested in finding ways to mitigate traffic congestion through Matlacha, especially during high season, in ways that do not cause harm to the existing businesses.
Lee DOT has taken the position that they are waiting for a Florida DOT study of a shared-use path through Matlacha before addressing the issue, and while they have put forth several alternatives for dealing with the congestion in Pine Island Center, we know the issue there is caused in no small part by the Matlacha congestion.
We most recently addressed the issue with Commissioner Ruane during a meeting of several board members and the Commissioner in March 2022.
During that meeting, we specifically requested:
- Traffic Cams in Matlacha tied into an easy-to use app; we feel this will allow residents to see how traffic looks before setting out, and could save wasted/canceled trips. We’ve addressed this with Mr. Cerchie and he stated that he would look into it, but we aren’t sure what action needs to take place next to make this a reality.
- Extension of the right-hand turn lane from eastbound Pine Island Road to southbound Veterans Parkway. We believe that a new, longer lane will allow the right-turn traffic to exit Pine Island Road and somewhat ease traffic movement through Matlacha.
Commissioner Ruane was the main speaker at the GPICA’s general meeting on April 4, 2022. During that meeting, he relayed the latest updates on our request:
- Lee DOT is investigating locations for the traffic cams through Matlacha and is working to get that and an app set up.
A recent letter from Lee DOT Director Randy Cerchie to the GPICA Board indicates that this is “likely to be implemented in the next six months.”
Mr. Cerchie also relayed that improvements to the Pine Island Road/Veterans Parkway-Burnt Store Road intersection are in the planning stages. In particular, the County is:
- Planning for the extension of the northbound-to-westbound left turn lane on Burnt Store Road is being extended to a total distance of more than 900 feet
- Planning for the addition of a second through-lane on Burnt Store Road
- Evaluating the extension of the eastbound-to-southbound right turn lane on Pine Island Road at Veterans Parkway.
Mr. Cerchie also noted that their office was recently provided with a development concept plan for the area surrounding the existing church on the south side of Pine Island Road at its intersection with Veterans Parkway. The planned development concept drawing includes:
- A four-story residential building with 520 units and room to park 875 cars
- A five story hotel with 150 rooms and parking for 150 vehicles
- A 16,000 clubhouse/pool, a fitness area
- 58,000 square feet of commercial space in one story
- 30,000 square feet of office space in a two-story building
- A park
- A children’s play area
During the April meeting, residents also requested that Commissioner Ruane work with the Lee County Sheriff’s office to have deputies encourage walkers in Matlacha to use the designated crosswalks. Residents also requested that street sweeping take place during night-time or non-peak hours and asked whether the drawbridge could be opened/closed on a set schedule.
- View the full traffic discussion during the meeting here