Charlotte County wants your opinion on transportation improvement

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Traffic on U.S. 41 in Charlotte County. (Credit: WINK News)
FILE: Traffic on U.S. 41 in Charlotte County. (Credit: WINK News/FILE)

Charlotte County is investing in its roads to make them safer for you. Right now, the county is updating its transportation plan heading into 2045 and those changes will be based on your recommendations.

When you are traveling through the county, there are pros and cons.

“US 41 is a great jogger, biker, walker,” said Gary Harrell, the director of the Charlotte County Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“Driving on route 776 is troublesome at best,” said Dianne Quilty, a citizens advisory committee member for Charlotte County Punta Gorda MPO.

Transportation leaders want to address those concerns and are looking ahead to 2045 by updating the long-range transportation plan.

“We’ve got more people moving down here,” Harrell said. “We’ve got more areas that are being built up.”

The MPO is still gathering improvement suggestions. Then, it will look at costs and ask locals to help narrow down the selections to the most important later this year.

When WINK News asked viewers on Facebook what improvements they would like to see in the area, one person said a smoother roadway at the Harbor Blvd-Quesada Ave intersection. Another person suggested sidewalks along Cornelius Blvd.

Many people agreed with the idea of a pedestrian overpass over State Rd 776, connecting Charlotte Sports Park and the County Fairgrounds.

“It’s very hectic, especially on spring training days,” Quilty said. “We need patience and tolerance and a lot of police support.”

In 2014, a 1% local option sales tax referendum was not recommended by a citizen focus group, leading the project not to be included in the “project list approved by voters.”

The project was on a 20-year capital needs assessment. That determines what the cost would be based on the average use of life, factoring replacement and repairs. It no longer is, according to the county.

Additionally, the county priced the project in 2009 and found the $2 million price tag is too steep for only about 25 days of use. But it is keeping other safety options in mind as it is open to all ideas to make our area a better place to live, work and play.

“From a transportation perspective, I think we can have better ways,” Harrell said. “But that discussion will continue on.”

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