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Survey: Respondents against adding bridges to islands

April 19, 2024
By Anna Ridilla

Charlotte County Facilities Construction & Maintenance department has released survey results from local residents on accessibility to and from bridgeless barrier islands on the coast. Islands include Palm Island, Little Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro Island and Knight Island/Thornton Key.

According to the department, over 70 percent of the respondents were either satisfied or neutral with bridgeless barrier island accessibility, and over half responded that they felt no need for additional modes of access.  

The study is in Phase 1, the Public Input Process, which seeks input from residents and interested parties about additional access modes to these barrier islands, pictured at right.

The first public input drop-in meeting was on Jan.11, 2024 and an online survey was available for five weeks before closing.

The findings from the first survey are posted on the Project Status Updates page of the county website. 

According to the department report:

  • Over 70 percent of respondents are daily or weekly commuters to or from bridgeless barrier islands (BBIs). Over 70 percent of respondents use the Palm Island Ferry. 
  • There were 249 respondents who identified with Little Gasparilla Island, and meeting comments include that LGI has “dynamically different needs than the other BBIs” because it is separated by Don Pedro State Park which has no vehicle traffic through it. 
  • There were also two notable comments concerning the need for a dedicated boat ramp service to the mainland for commercial barge access and personal boat launch and parking on LGI. 
  • Another comment suggested that the county provide a dumpster at Placida Park for LGI residents only.

In all, the general public opinion seems to be echoed by the last public comment mentioned in the report: “NO BRIDGES. NO WAY. NO HOW. NEVER. PRESERVE OLD FLORIDA.”

The planning and approval phase is forecasted to be completed by July 31, 2024, according to the county project page.

There will be one or two more public citizen input surveys before collected data will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners. If it is determined that additional modes of access are needed, then the study will transition into Phase 2 for a feasibility study and design development.

Future public input will be announced and advertised as they are determined, according to the latest updates. 

Visit to view Charlotte County project status updates.