Construction takes over bus stops on Ortiz Avenue

Reporter: Olivia Jean
Published: Updated:

Hard hats, construction workers, bulldozers, cars zipping by and bus stops?

That is exactly what Ortiz Avenue looks like right now.

Little signs indicate where people should stand for the several Lee Tran bus stops as they now sit in the middle of people working on the road and cars whizzing by.

WINK News Reporter Olivia Jean visited Ortiz Avenue on Friday and saw the hardships many face when waiting for the bus.

As we drove along the road, construction or not, there were no benches or shade at the stops. Many have dealt with that forever but now add construction into the mix.

It’s part of the county’s effort to widen Ortiz Avenue.

Jean spoke with several bus riders who stressed the construction has impacted their bus experience.

“I think there’s too much construction in this area. And you don’t know where the bus stop is going to be,” Jean Meskell said.

Meskell went on to say, “I like the bus system. I know them in my head. The ones I take. I take quite a few.”

She chooses to go to stops where she feels safe.

“The only problem is that they don’t have a cover or seat. But most of the ones I take do,” Meskell said.

She used the stop right next to Ortiz Avenue on Six Mile Cypress. It has several benches and a cover.

Most of the bus stops along Ortiz sit in a construction zone—no shade, no bench, with a side of dirt and orange cones.

“You don’t know if the bus is gonna pick you up or not,” Meskell said.

As Meskell and others told Jean today, the buses tend to skip the stops in construction. So, even if you happen to brace the work zone, you aren’t promised that you will be picked up.

WINK News reached out to the Lee County, who answered these questions:

What is the status of those bus stops during the construction project?

The stops on Ortiz Avenue are still operational.  The grass around them has been stripped, but they are still as accessible as they were prior to the project.  They never had concrete pads or landings prior to DOT work, just signs.

They will be shifted in the next phase of the project, which is many months away. The county will pre-message that.  Please keep in mind that the first stop on the southeast end of the county’s Ortiz project is a part of the FDOT work near Ortiz and Colonial.

Are there any plans to revamp the bus stops? 

There are six bus stops currently, and all will get new concrete landings with our project. Three on the west side will be tied into the shared-use path, and three on the east side be tied into the 6-foot sidewalk.

Hopefully, one day, people won’t have to wait in dirt and grass and can enjoy a nice update to their local bus stop.

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