Over the past few weeks, thirteen trees in four separate medians on Gateway Boulevard have been marked with pink ribbons, and in some cases spray paint.
Three of the trees are in the median immediately north of the Gateway Boulevard and Griffin Drive intersection, while three more marked trees are in the median immediately south of that intersection.
Additionally, four trees are in the median north of the Gateway Boulevard and Commerce Lakes Drive intersection, while three trees are in the median on the south side.
The thirteen marked trees will be removed in order to improve visibility for drivers trying to navigate those two intersections.
An agreement to remove the trees was reached between the Gateway Services District and Lee County Department of Transportation as part of the now-completed Road Turnover Project – which saw ownership of Gateway Blvd, Griffin Drive, and Commerce Lakes Drive West change from the GSCDD and WCI to the county.
A white paper published by a GSCDD working group estimated that turning the roads over would save Gateway residents $19 million over the next 30 years.
No specific timetable has been announced for the trees removal, but it could happen at any time.
People first. Trees second.
Nobody likes to see trees taken down, but the fact of the matter is that Gateway residents and professional transportation officials alike have said those two intersections aren’t safe.
Some residents of the Daniel’s Preserve community have been lobbying to get a traffic signal put at Commerce Lakes and Gateway Blvd, however Lee County DOT staff have said that’s a no-go due to insufficient traffic levels. So it seems that removing some trees to improve sight lines is the best we can hope for right now.
As for the Gateway and Griffin intersection, either a traffic signal or roundabout will be installed there in the next few years. In the meantime, removing some trees may improve the situation as a temporary measure.
Of course, if people would stop traveling Gateway Boulevard at over 50 miles per hour, that would go a long way toward improving safety as well.