Naples seeks almost $130K grant to update traffic signals, improve commutes

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Photo by WINK News.

One Southwest Florida city wants to use new technology to reduce the time drivers spend in stressful seasonal traffic.

The City of Naples is looking to get roughly $129,000 in grant funding from the Florida Department of Transportation to upgrade 40 traffic signals to help cut down commute times.

“Your lights when you miss one, five minutes or more, ten minutes,” Terry Schmitz said. “Sometimes it’s forever.”

Traffic after 10 p.m. doesn’t seem to be too bad. But during the day, people said it’s bad. And something needs to be done.

“Nightmarish,” Nicky Kelsey said. “Or frustrating, irritating, maddening, insanity.”

That’s how Kelsey describes traffic in Naples during season.

“It’s really kind of a pain in the neck,” Kelsey said. “They let one car go, and it’s red again. It drives me nuts.”

What could those upgrades look like? The new software could use a car’s Bluetooth signal to notify staff about how many cars are at the intersection and how long it takes them to get from signal to signal.

New 360-degree cameras could also help get a real-time picture of an intersection.

“If they have some ability to monitor through video and see what intersections are and how busy they are and be able to time it, that would be good,” Schmitz said.

Staff could also coordinate with companies to get information from Google and Apple maps that already use signals to monitor traffic.

“I’m glad that they’re trying to do something about it,” Kelsey said.

The city has to buy the equipment by next June at the latest. It will be on the agenda for Wednesday’s city council meeting.

“Things that would take us five minutes take us a half hour here just because of the traffic,” Schmitz said.

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