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Update on roundabout provided

June 21, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With a roundabout set to be built at the intersection of Southeast 47th Terrace and Vincennes Boulevard, residents and South Cape business owners had one last chance to see what it will look like Wednesday at an informational Q&A.

Community members came to ask questions about the design and what the roundabout would do. While they couldn't provide photos or concepts, they had overhead maps and were able to provide information about the project.

"We just want to educate drivers of what's happening so we and make those infrastructure improvements. Some of the stakeholders have asked questions but, for the most part, we haven't gotten many. Some people just aren't in favor of it," said Yvonne McClellan, consultant for the project for Chris-Tel Construction.

"It's part of the streetscape project, it's a walkable community and the roundabout will slow traffic down. We seem to be getting the above-ground elements which is what people want to see. The undergrounding is difficult because people don't see that," said Stephanie Smith, design and construction manager for the Public Works Department for the city.

Proponents of the roundabout say it will slow down traffic, reduce the risk of crashes with pedestrians and other cars and improve the floe of traffic while making it more aesthetically pleasing.

Many of those who came have been in favor of the project. Stacy Lomonaco, chairperson of the South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency said the traffic engineers in the city did their homework and found the best way to address traffic. What she wanted was a rendering of what it would look like.

"In all the research they did. The roundabout was the safest option. I asked for images of what the streetscape would look like because there are visual people who want to see what it will look like at completion," Lomonaco said.

Not everyone was convinced. Mike Ulrich, who is vision-impaired, has said from the beginning that a roundabout would be dangerous for him and others swith visual impairment.

Ulrich has challenged anyone from the city to come with him on a walk across the roundabout, blindfolded, once completed to educate people that the traffic control option is not safe.

"People can try it for themselves. Close your eyes and try to cross. They say it's only 15 mph, but I've been hit by 15 mph," Ulrich said. "I favor roundabouts if they do a proper treatment for blind pedestrians. You have to provide for that."

The impact this will have on businesses in the area depends on the availability of parking. Mark Hendry, owner of City Subs where the Q&A was hosted, said he will close down while construction is going on, but still loves the streetscape project.

"Short-term it will be tough. We're going to close on Friday and they're going to close down the whole strip of road," Hendry said. "It will set us back a little bit, but in the long run, we think it will be fabulous."

Joel Notes, owner of Cape Caberet, will not close, as the venue has a side entrance to the Big John's parking lot.

"When you do something like this, it comes at an inconvenience. We're looking to minimize that inconvenience to our customers," Notes said.

There has been some concern at to whether the $13 million Southeast 47th Terrace Streetscape project will be finished by the end of the year as promised. Issues with undergrounding set the project back in the early stages and they have been trying to catch up with longer shifts.

"We experienced some delays due to unforeseen circumstances when we began installing the underground utilities from Coronado to 8th Court," McClellan said. "There were different materials for the existing pipes, different locations of connections and other obstructions not shown on the plan."

As for the roundabout, the plan was to start the roundabout after school closed for summer, so that segment of the project is on time, Smith said.

Closures begin Monday. Pavers will start going in next week and the roundabout is slated to open in early August in time for the start of school, McClellan said.



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