Study: Longer green lights increase congestion along Cape Coral Pkwy

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A red light along Cape Coral Pkwy. E. that is holding up traffic. (Credit: WINK News)
A red light along Cape Coral Pkwy. E. that is holding up traffic. (Credit: WINK News)

City staff did a major traffic study of Cape Coral Pkwy. with the aim of decreasing congestion. It is imperative as Cape Coral continues to increase in population, which creates more traffic headaches.

When WINK News asked drivers on Wednesday to describe Cape Coral Pwky., they were not short on opinions.

“It’s just a big old traffic jam,” said Alyn Kay, who lives in Cape Coral.

“Especially for going over the bridge trying to get on McGregor,” said Mike Borromeo, a Cape Coral resident. “Forget about it.”

The city calls the bottleneck at the Cape Coral bridge a “critical issue.”

“Going from three lanes to two lanes, to three lanes,” Kay said. “It’s just terrible.”

In 2018, Cape Coral traffic crews changed the city’s light timing. The change made it faster for you to get to and from work. Over the last several months, it has tried another idea: extending green lights at Coronado, SE 10th St. and Vincennes Blvd. during peak morning drive times.

City staff tested how long it took during morning peak times to get from Coronado Parkway across the Cape Coral bridge to South Pointe Blvd in Fort Myers. With the original, optimized signal times, it took staff an average of 9 minutes and 2 seconds. But during the trial with longer green lights, the average drive time for that length of road went up to 12 minutes and 16 seconds.

Bill Corbett, a Cape Coral traffic engineer, said by leaving a longer green light, it messed up the flow of the already optimized traffic lights. Traffic crews recommended the city go back to the optimized times.

“When we increase the green time,” Corbett said, “it kind of takes that away and you’re bringing more to the bottleneck, which is the Cape Coral bridge.”

Corbett said city staff is continuing to work with the Lee County Department of Transportation and the Lee County MPO on long-range planning efforts to increase the capacity and reduce congestion on Cape Coral Pkwy.

Corbett told WINK News it’s still too early to know for sure, but it’s possible a third lane of traffic will be added to the westbound side of the Cape Coral Bridge when it is replaced in 2028. The eastbound side of the Cape Bridge is expected to stay as-is for another 25 years.

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