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Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency commissioners plan to emphasize parking and pedestrian connectivity in the South Cape Downtown Redevelopment Plan. 

The commissioners, made up of City Council members, agreed March 27 that pedestrian crossovers and parking structures should be categorized in the plan under mid- to long-term projects. Mid- to long-term projects are characterized by anything beyond a five-year timeline. The discussion on the South Cape plan began March 21, when a focus on parking structures was introduced. 

Commissioner John Gunter suggested making parking structures a high priority in the South Cape, along with evaluating existing parking.  

“That’s something that should be a higher priority for us because there’s not enough parking down here as it exists today. And as we can see down there, the growth is continuing, so that problem is only going to compound over time,” he said. 

City Manager Michael Ilczyszyn said half of the land in the South Cape is dedicated to parking. 

“As we transition to a more urban center, we’re going to have to congregate the parking into parking structures,” Ilczyszyn said. “And then we’re going to have to start peeling back the amount of the right of way that is given to the vehicles and give it more to the pedestrians.” 

For streets in the South Cape, the city seeks to identify more opportunities to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. Eliminating curb cuts and providing bigger walkways will be prioritized to do so. 

Cape Coral Parkway and its future regarding parking and connectivity also was discussed, since it is the common linking element and the front door of the South Cape. 

Ilczyszyn explained that since the area was developed, there have been two trains of thought on how Cape Coral Parkway should function. 

“Some planners and some previous executive directors believe that the parkway itself should function like 47th Terrace—that it should be restricted, slowed down traffic and provide for additional walkways,” he said. “Then other directors and other boards have believed that any on-street parking on the parkway should be moved to the secondary streets so that you’re walking through alleys or from the block behind, and the parkway should be opened up for east-west travel.” 

The consensus from commissioners is now is not the time to slow down traffic on the parkway. 

“The plan is to [make] Cape Coral Parkway [six lanes] for traffic to move freely about the South Cape, and then allow pedestrian walkways to get from north and south in signalized intersections,” Ilczyszyn said. 

Other opportunities to improve the parkway include relocating on‐street spaces to side streets, which could reduce parallel parking maneuvers from occurring on the parkway and provide for more usable space within the right of way.   

Additionally, Gunter stressed the importance of having accessibility and safe passages for pedestrians. “I think that is a key element to have that complete downtown area be successful is going to be connectivity and we have to make sure that we plan that accordingly, because if not, we’re going to have little islands down there where people aren’t going to walk to.”  

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