Charlotte County officials have narrowed a list of 55 bike and pedestrian construction projects down to seven that could begin construction in the next year.
Those projects include shared-use paths, sidewalks and improved intersections.
Staff from the county’s Community Services department presented the full list to the commissioners last week. The four commissioners present said they agreed with the lineup.
Guiding principles for the overall bike and pedestrian plan include lowering the rate of bike and pedestrian accidents, filling gaps with existing pathways, connecting to jobs, connecting to schools and addressing public interests, according to the plan summary.
Community Services Director Tommy Scott told commissioners the seven projects were selected based on these guiding criteria, but also, they were projects that did not already have funding.
The cost for the seven projects is estimated at $3.2 million and fits into the remaining money from the 1 cent sales tax that the county passed in 2014, Scott said. With that funding, the projects could get underway soon, Scott told the Sun.
Commissioner Christopher Constance asked staff to review the possibility of a bike path from Edgwater Drive to the Port Charlotte Beach Complex on Harbor Boulevard. He also asked how two projects were originally estimated at several hundred thousand dollars, but ended up estimated at $1 million each.
Scott said the first estimates were from consultants more than a year ago, and the latter were from the county’s public works working with today’s numbers.
Commissioner Joe Tiseo expressed concern at building walkways across the on and off ramps to Interstate 75 on Kings Highway.
“Anybody who travels that, it can be a nightmare, and then throw in some bicycles and pedestrians into the mix,” Tiseo said. “How can you stop traffic from getting into the southbound ramp?”
County Engineer Venkat Vattakuti said the traffic lights are already there.
“Luckily, both ramps are signalized, so you’re not going to have any safety problems,” he said.