As the Mayor of Sanibel Island, I can attest that the number one complaint we receive from our visitors is the negative impact of traffic congestion during peak season. The factors that have created peak season traffic congestion on Sanibel have developed over many years, and implementation of efforts designed to ease congestion will require long-term solutions.
This past year, our City Council and Planning Commission held workshops to develop a strategy to address this challenge. We brought together a partnership of our residents, Chamber of Commerce, realtors, hoteliers and business owners to implement the strategy that will improve everyone’s Sanibel experience during peak season. We also are coordinating these efforts with Lee County and the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.
Our long-term plans include:
• Utilizing technology to provide real-time information to motorists. Our plans include live-streaming of traffic conditions, instant-messaging traffic alert systems, and electronic signage before the toll booth advising motorists of on-Island traffic conditions;
• Hardscape to change traffic patterns. The City of Sanibel is participating in a regional study to determine the feasibility of installing a roundabout on Sanibel to alleviate stop-and-go traffic;
• Behavior modifications, including developing a culture of employers utilizing flex-time schedules and carpooling during the weeks of peak season; and
• Information sharing to help residents and visitors make informed decisions. Starting immediately, we are sharing and disseminating detailed information on Sanibel’s traffic patterns so motorists can best plan their Island travel to avoid peak congestion.
We all want visitors to Sanibel to enjoy a quality experience while they are on Island; nobody enjoys their visit when most of the time is spent in traffic. Through a careful analysis of traffic patterns, we now can provide guidance on how to plan your travels to the Island. In peak season, nearly 13,000 vehicles come onto the Island daily, with heavy on-bound traffic congestion between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon and off-bound traffic between the hours of 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. On a weekly basis during peak season, Saturday traffic volumes are the highest, and traffic volumes are the lightest on Sundays and Tuesdays.
To enjoy your visit to Sanibel between now and April:
• Avoid driving on and off the Island during these peak times
• Plan in advance to travel around the Island by foot and bike
• Remember the best way to enjoy the Island and avoid traffic is to stay on Island – have dinner and shop on Island to avoid traffic delays
• Check the City of Sanibel website at www.mysanibel.com for traffic updates
We look forward to your visit to our Island.
Mayor of Sanibel