NAPLES — State transportation officials have given the green light to a new traffic signal at U.S. 41 and Southwest Boulevard, the site of a fatal pedestrian crash last month.
Florida Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Debbie Tower confirmed Friday that the state has approved the traffic signal at the Whistler’s Cove neighborhood.
“The developer there said it would be involved with funding design and instillation. We will be working with the county on it,” she said.
Tower referred further comment to Connie Deane, community liaison for the Collier County Growth Management Office.
Deane said the county does not have a firm date when the light will be installed, but said the county and the developer, who is paying for the light, are working as quickly as possible to get it up. “We want to have it done as soon as they can, but there are things that have to be done, like the fabrication of the poles. It is not a one size fits all,” she said.
Deane said the state will still have to review and approve all plans before the signal can be instilled.
“U.S. 41 is a state road and it is up to the state to facilitate the process,” she said.
Commissioner Donna Fiala said during the Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting this month that the Treviso Bay developers would work with the transportation department to install the light and thanked them for being willing to underwrite the cost of the signal. Attempts to reach Fiala on Friday also was unsuccessful. Lennar Homes is the Treviso Bay developer.
Ana Cruz Mendez, 54, of Naples, was killed in January while crossing U.S. 41 near Whistler’s Cove Apartments. A Florida Highway Patrol report says she ran into the path of sport utility vehicle heading west toward the intersection with Southwest Boulevard.
The driver attempted to stop, but couldn’t avoid her, reports said.
That fatality came less than two months after Robert Michael Oliver, a 16-year-old Lely High School student, suffered a brain injury when he was hit by a car while riding his bike across the same intersection.
The Florida Department of Transportation has approved another traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Barefoot Williams Road, where Eagle Lakes Community Park is located. That light is scheduled to be installed in June.
While residents in the area said they appreciated the light, many argued that one also was needed at the entrance to Whistler’s Cove, which is about a half-mile north of the park.