City of Fort Myers faces push back on its roundabout proposal

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Portion of blueprints for the proposed roundabout. (Credit: WINK News)
Portion of blueprints for the proposed roundabout. (Credit: WINK News)

The community is divided over a roundabout project along the historic McGregor Blvd. at Virginia Ave.

“I’m against the roundabout,” Kay Holloway said. “Truly and simply.”

“We need this roundabout,” said Randy Krise, owner of Krise Commercial Group. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

On one side of the debate, the proposed roundabout by the city is critical to dealing with the increase in traffic that will come with a new development. Those against the project opine it is all about preserving history.

Krise said he goes through the intersection multiple times a day.

“You can’t get across it,” Krise said. “It’s dangerous. I’ve almost gotten it. I’ve almost hit people because it is dangerous.”

The Fort Myers Public Works Dept. presented an appeal to the city council for the $500,000 project. The appeal comes as the city’s historic preservation commission voted against it in June.

“If we disregard the Historic Preservation Committee and we disregard the ordinances,” Cacia Orser said, “why have them?”

Fort Myers said the roundabout at Virginia is the first piece of the Edison Ave. Realignment Project, which connects McGregor to U.S. 41. It argues a roundabout at the intersection has been part of the city’s plans since at least the early 2000s.

But, people disagree on whether it is necessary.

“My experience is people here are not used to dealing with a roundabout,” Orser said. “We’ll have more congestion and more problems.”

“The roundabout is a better concept because it’s continuous moving,” Krise said.

The city wants to move towards a future as apartments and a hotel is planned for the area.

“Five-hundred, 600 people a day are going to be right here,” Krise said. “You won’t be able to move here.”

But for longtime Fort Myers residents, it represents something more profound.

“We cannot destroy history, because history has happened,” Kay Holloway said. “We cannot change it.”

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