Fight over major road into Naples continues

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NAPLES, Fla.- Big changes could be coming to a major road into downtown Naples.

A plan to beautify Central Avenue has local business owners saying it will hurt their bottom line.

The improvements would stretch from Riverside Circle to 8th Street South.

“When improvements like this are being done, it impacts business one way or another,” said Terry Hutchison.

Hutchison owns the 7-Eleven at Central Avenue and US 41. He says the new plan to beautify the road is concerning for local business owners. ​

“The current plan that’s on the table restricts convenience and access for our guests ​,” said Hutchison. ​

​The plan includes: reducing the road from four to two lanes, adding medians and adding roundabouts at several intersections.

Naples City Councilman Sam Saad ​says the move will not only help beautify the road, but will help make it more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians.

​”It’s very clear that bicycling and walking are desirable by the members of this community​,” said Saad. ​

Hutchison and other business owners told City Council on Wednesday that cyclists won’t be able to navigate roundabouts effectively and that could lead to accidents.

Hutchison says he’s especially concerned about children who walk to and from Gulfview Middle School everyday.

​”Kids don’t understand the law and I’m worried how the roundabout is gonna impact our school children as that school grows,” said Hutchison.

Several other business owners say the medians will restrict access into businesses and will take away already scarce parking spots. ​ ​

“It’s not sound planning as far as I’m concerned​,” said business owner Henry Halle. ​

A traffic study for Central Avenue is expected to be released in May.

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