Safety Council

Engage Estero Safety Council is made of volunteers serving as a voice for the citizens of greater Estero on safety and transportation priorities and issues. We advocate for related solutions to Village, County, and State Government organizations.

Latest news…
Sign-Up for Property Fraud Alerts

Sign-Up for Property Fraud Alerts

Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comprtroller Kevin Karnes is now offering an alert notification system for Lee County property owners to reduce fraud. When you sign-up, if a deed, mortgage, or other non-Court official record is recorded in your name, you will be...

read more

Environment Council

Engage Estero Environment Council is a volunteer group focusing on improving water and air quality and mitigating and eliminating the effects of climate warming in greater Estero.

Latest news…

Health Council

Engage Estero Community Health Council comprises health* and safety-minded volunteers who think about community health comprehensively with a common desire to improve the overall health of the citizens of greater Estero.

Latest news…
Let’s Make Estero A HeartSafe Community!

Let’s Make Estero A HeartSafe Community!

The facts Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 300,000 lives annually. Approximately 95 percent of SCA victims die before they reach a hospital or receive medical attention. How Can We Help Reduce This...

read more

Education Council

Engage Estero mobilizes volunteers in our schools, sponsors scholarships, and promotes the involvement of the community through announcements and public forums.

Latest news…
Estero High Cambridge Students Recognized

Estero High Cambridge Students Recognized

By Mike Wasson, Director, Engage Estero The Village of Estero Council issued a Proclamation its Meeting on Wednesday, March 6th honoring 39 Estero High School Students who were presented the Cambridge Outstanding Learners Awards. In his remarks, Jon McLain, Village of...

read more

Updates on Issues of Impact

Engage Estero believes the best way to get a community involved is to make sure they are aware of the issues impacting their future, and know how to impact those decisions before they are made. We conduct and publish original research and articles aimed at getting residents Engaged.

Road Safety

in Greater Estero

By Contributing Author, Mark Novitski, and Engage Estero Consultant. 

Everyone has their definition of what determines road safety or, conversely, what makes our roads unsafe. In writing extensively about Corkscrew Road, I have highlighted citizens’ safety concerns such as speeding, red light running, construction, bicycles in the bike lane, street racing, timing of traffic signals, lack of streetlights, and school bus student pickup and drop-off. But Corkscrew Road is not the only road in the greater Estero area where people have concerns!

Who is responsible for the roads?

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

is responsible for constructing and maintaining I-75 and US 41. They determine where traffic signals are installed and the speed on each section of the roads. They also maintain the ramps and two traffic signals on Corkscrew Road on the east side and west side of I-75.

Lee County Department of Transportation (LCDOT)

is responsible for constructing and maintaining Corkscrew Road, Three Oaks Parkway, and Estero Parkway east of Three Oaks Parkway. They determine where traffic signals are installed and the speed on each section of the roads. They also are responsible for the far west end of Coconut Road.

Village of Estero

is responsible for constructing and maintaining the remaining public roads. They determine where traffic signals are installed and the speed on each section of the roads. The Village’s only traffic signal is at Coconut Road and Via Coconut Road.

Florida Legislature

codifies the traffic laws in Florida Statutes.The 2023 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, MOTOR VEHICLES, Chapter 316, STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL.

Who is responsible for traffic enforcement?

Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO)

is responsible for traffic enforcement in unincorporated Lee County (e.g., Corkscrew Road east of Bella Terra, Three Oaks Road north of Estero Parkway, etc.)

Village of Estero

has an agreement with the LCSO to enforce traffic laws within the Village. The Village pays no additional funds for this service; our Lee County taxes fund the LCSO.

Federal and State Agencies

Other state and federal law enforcement agencies can enforce traffic laws in Lee County and the Village of Estero (e.g., Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Division of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Etc.)

Speeding is a problem on our roads!

Speeding is a concern throughout the greater Estero area. Loaded stone dump trucks speed while traveling west on Corkscrew Road, taking their loads to a construction site, and eastbound on Corkscrew Road when empty, hurrying to get their next load. It takes a long time for a loaded stone or cement mixer truck to stop when speeding.

In a recent survey by Engage Estero, various locations were identified multiple times as a safety concern:

  1. State Route 41
  2. Corkscrew Road
  3. Estero Parkway
  4. Three Oaks Parkway
  5. Via Coconut

Traffic signal violations.

Another concern identified in the survey was not stopping on red when turning right and running red lights. Engage Estero and the East Corkscrew Alliance representatives met with LCSO and discussed these concerns. We were informed, “… it is difficult to document both instances as a violation without traffic cameras. The law enforcement officer must be in the right location to observe a violation.”

The 2023 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII – MOTOR VEHICLES, Chapter 316 – STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL, Sub Chapter 316.0083 – Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program; administration; report. This section identifies the issue:

A notice of violation and a traffic citation may not be issued for failure to stop at a red light if the driver is making a right-hand turn carefully and prudently at an intersection where right-hand turns are permissible. A notice of violation and a traffic citation may not be issued under this section if the driver of the vehicle came to a complete stop after crossing the stop line and before turning right if permissible at a red light but failed to stop before crossing over the stop line or other point at which a stop is required.

(2) A notice of violation and a traffic citation may not be issued for failure to stop at a red light if the driver is making a right-hand turn carefully and prudently at an intersection where right-hand turns are permissible.

(3) This section supplements the enforcement of s. 316.074(1) or s. 316.075(1)(c)1. by law enforcement officers when a driver fails to stop at a traffic signal and does not prohibit a law enforcement officer from issuing a traffic citation for a violation of s. 316.074(1) or s. 316.075(1)(c)1. when a driver fails to stop at a traffic signal in accordance with normal traffic enforcement techniques.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.0083.html

There are other government entities that we need to help with traffic safety!

Traffic safety during construction.

Engage Estero and the East Corkscrew Alliance representatives met with two Estero Village Council members. They discussed the need for road construction and a widening contract to include a section on traffic safety during construction. This goes beyond the construction workers used as flaggers when construction vehicles move around the site or when construction materials are delivered to the road construction/widening site.

Traffic enforcement personnel should be required to be available during heavy travel time in congested construction areas, specifically for left-turning vehicles, especially school buses, during the morning and evening rush hours. Representatives of LDOT have heard our concerns on this issue.

School bus loading and unloading.

Community members, student parents, developers, representatives of Engage Estero and the East Corkscrew Alliance have voiced their concerns about where the students are picked up and dropped off at the Lee County School District.

1998 Florida Statutes, Title XVI – EDUCATION, Chapter 234 – TRANSPORTATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN, Sub Chapter 234.12, paragraph (c) states:

(c)  Each district school board shall establish school bus stops or provide by school board rules for the establishment of school bus stops, as necessary, at the most reasonably safe locations available. Where unusual traffic hazards exist at school bus stops on roads maintained by the state outside of municipalities, the Department of Transportation, in concurrence and cooperation with and upon request of the district school board, shall place signs at such bus stops warning motorists of the location of the stops.

While picking up and dropping off students on the side of the road is technically legal, we all worry about children’s safety when loading and unloading students on busy highways or roads under construction. Many developers, specifically in the East Corkscrew Road corridor – where many Estero area children reside – have created lighted and covered bus stop shelters and bus turnarounds just before or after their entry gates. Unfortunately, in the newer communities, the Lee County School District has chosen to pick up and drop off the students on the busy two-lane Corkscrew Road. Maybe with Proximity being implemented for all middle schools, there will be sufficient buses to allow the extra few minutes to drive into the communities to pick up and drop off the students safely!

The Florida Statutes identifies when we stop for school buses. It is incomprehensible that many motorists do not understand the law!

2020 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII – MOTOR VEHICLES, Chapter 316 – STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL, SECTION 172 – Traffic to stop for school bus.

316.172 Traffic to stop for the school bus.

(1)(a) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus that displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop. In contrast, the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. A person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

(b) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle that passes a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318, and is subject to a mandatory hearing under the provisions of s. 318.19.

(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier is not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus which is stopped in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Every school bus shall stop as far to the right of the street as possible and shall display warning lights and stop signals as required by the rules of the State Board of Education before discharging or loading passengers. When possible, a school bus shall not stop where the visibility is obscured for a distance of 200 feet either way from the bus.

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2020/316.172

What can you do to help?

Knowing the above, what can we do to help? Follow the law and voice your concerns!

What else can we do? We can volunteer to be members of the LCSO Civilian Support Unit (CSU).

CSU volunteers are not police officers and cannot act as an enforcement officer. They do not carry a gun. However, they can patrol the area, report on issues and concerns, be the first on the scene of an accident and report unsafe driving. Qualifications and training are required.

The functions that would support the greater Estero Area are HOA Liaison and Road Patrol.

If interested, please follow the link:  https://www.sheriffleefl.org/civilian-support-unit/

  Be Informed,
Get Engaged,
and Make an Impact!

Engage Estero is an all-volunteer, nonpolitical, nonprofit Community Engagement Association. We exist to inform citizens of significant community issues and encourage citizen engagement to impact the quality of life in greater Estero favorably.