A New Perspective 10-07-2004: Traffic and Roads

Golden Gate Gazette

October 7, 2004

It’s a shame we are having public meetings to determine solutions to road problems in the Estates and nobody presents the obvious.
We’re talking about spending massive amounts of money to build roads, tear up landscapes, purchase a tremendous amount of right of way, disrupt natural habitats, give opportunity for all types of new pollution and all while there is no money to complete the projects.
In the mean time, we have this roadway called I-75, which seems like the sacred cow that nobody wants to touch.
The roads in the northern part of Collier County are currently carrying all the traffic in the north as well as southern residential areas because there are no southern alternatives to get to and from home.
If Everglades Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard could access I-75, a tremendous ease of the roadway system would occur. Traffic would be diverted from many plugged areas.
I-75 can easily handle the load, tremendous amounts of money could be saved in actual road building, consultants, designing, and public distress.
Public distress costs everyone a lot of money, because changing plans and fighting over plans ends up costing a lot in additional tax dollars being extracted from us. Worse yet, it causes delays in solutions.
In the past, local politicians haven’t wanted to breach the topic of gaining access to I-75 because the effort to get the job done has been a tremendous effort. It is hard to find someone to be accountable to decisions and policy. The agencies responsible for making things happen can be a nameless, faceless glob of bureaucracy that can’t be held accountable.
Times have changed. Our area has strong legislators that will go to bat for us at the state and national level. If they get weak-kneed on this topic, we have to help them get strong knees or find someone who will work for us.
We’ve had a few recent glimpses at tragedy with the four hurricanes hitting the state over the past two months. We were not badly affected in Collier County, but had evacuation been necessary, the current road system couldn’t have handled it.
Access in and out of Southwest Florida is critical and we are kept from a simple solution for simple politics’ sake. It isn’t a money issue. Politics need to be changed.
We haven’t even mentioned the fire hazard that will soon be in front of us with the damage caused by the strong winds of the recent hurricanes. There are dead branches all over in the Estates that will make for a busy brush fire season. If a fire starts in the north and heads south, thousands of people will be trapped.
Can we get the ball rolling to find real solutions to the traffic in the Estates? The solution is I-75 access. It will cost hardly anything, and save a tremendous amount of time, effort and lives.