BY MARCY SHORTUSE - Could there be a definitive end to the Gilchrist parking crisis? An e-mail exchange between Lee County District 1 Commissioner John Manning and a Boca Grande resident has brought to light that an end to the controversy could be near.
In an email dated Oct. 16 and 17, a Boca Grande resident asked Manning some very pertinent questions as to why no decision had been made, and why it didn’t appear as though Lee County was listening to a majority of Boca Grande resident opinions. Those questions included safety issues, as well as existing available parking on the righthand side of Gilchrist Avenue (meaning in the easement area, where many “curb-lawns” are now planted).
The resident asked these questions after a Lee County Department of Transportation proposal was put forth to the public eye that included parallel parking on the left hand side of Gilchrist Avenue running both north and south from 5th Street to 1st Street. Parallel parking was proposed by a group of islanders that live on Gilchrist Avenue seasonally, but was not well received by the rest of the community.Manning responded.
“The ‘plan’ put forth by LDOT staff was a concept, not a plan,” he wrote. “As the District Commissioner it is/was never my plan.”
He went on to say in another email that, “The LDOT concept is dead and will not be revived ... I’ve always represented the interests of the people of the island, and will continue to do so.”
“The Board (of County Commissioners) will either choose the Community Plan or do nothing.”
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