The bus-and-trolley system in Fort Myers is a growing draw in a city with a burgeoning tourism population, and 2016 was a fantastic year for its expansion. The buses help emphasize the safer environment Fort Myers and nearby cities like Cape Coral and Fort Myers Beach are beginning to cultivate.
The bus system in Lee County has seen a great deal of attention from the News-Press, among other publications, throughout the year. Here are some of the specifics surrounding the bus-and-trolley system’s developments in 2016, and what it means for residents and tourists who use it.
Expanding the Transit System with Routes and Depots
The Summerlin Square depot, envisioned earlier this year in February as a hub for LeeTran’s activity in Fort Myers Beach, is the first step in an expanded bus presence in the area. The hub will host busses serving Times Square, Bowditch Park, and Lynn Hall Park, according to the News-Press. The permanent facility will also offer tourists and residents alike a variety of amenities while they wait for the bus.
Other changes are coming in the form of a route from North Fort Myers to the River District, per the News-Press. The route comes with the Florida Department of Transportation’s assistance, who is covering half the cost. The new path will service North Shore Park, the Best Western and Red Roof Inns, plus several restaurants and eateries in the area just across the Caloosahatchee Bridge.
The expansions are only set to last through the busy season, but with the construction of a designated depot and an expanded emphasis on resident and tourist safety, the Florida Department of Transportation and the city might consider implementing them more frequently.
The Safety Payoffs Are Huge
Getting to and from different locations quickly is always a plus, but with lines in place where people might take the bus or trolley instead of walk, a lot of other fringe benefits start to crop up.
The new depot will offer a more hospitable alternative to waiting outdoors in the brutal summer weather. One tourist told the News-Press the opportunity for some shade and seating, plus up-to-date trolley predictions, would be very useful. The trolleys get used by some of the city’s beach employees too, and one said “a little more protection from the rain” would make her work commute much more pleasant.
There are more than a thousand commercial and residential housing units in North Fort Myers, and some are already benefiting from the system, according to a personal account from a trolley driver.
If that’s true, the new Gold Line might also cut down on the number of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Caloosahatchee Bridge, where there is no dedicated lane for them. One county commissioner told the News-Press he’s glad to see the safety of the city’s residents addressed, and the improvements are encouraging for the future.
Whether you take the trolley from time to time or seriously rely on it, you’ll probably still end up driving, biking, or walking around the city at your own leisure. No matter how or where you are on the road, staying safe is key to enjoying your time.
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