Central Avenue – State of the City

John Sorey

Mayor John Sorey

As many of our residents and business owners know, we have been talking about Central Avenue Improvements for sometime; in fact it has been talked about since 2002.

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has indentified Central Avenue as a corridor to improve multimodal connectivity for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. A preliminary design was created, however it never became a reality due to lack of funding.

Moving forward to January 2014, the Naples CRA brought the concept up for discussion and we’ve decided to move forward on developing a plan for Central Avenue.

The design firm Kimley-Horn and Associates was brought in to help with a design. They felt the corridor needed work for a variety of reasons; safety being number one.

Central-Avenue_NaplesCentral Avenue is an under-utilized corridor as the old Naples Daily News site has been vacant for years. Many people asked the question, how could it be better utilized? The answer is outlined in the CRA Plan for Central Avenue. It would provide a continuous sidewalk along the corridor, legal dedicated bicycle lanes provide continuous bicycle connectivity from beach to Baker Park and eventually, the Gordon River Greenway, add on-street parking, beautify Central Avenue with streetscape improvements, address stormwater issues on and install a higher capacity section of water main.

The City of Naples is looking at ways to help facilitate our residents and visitors desire to exercise. By recreating Central Avenue we can make it easier for people to be active and healthy. We can do that by improving walkability, incorporate a complete Streets Design approach, bicycle and pedestrian friendly environment and access to parks and open spaces.

We have an outstanding opportunity to turn Central Avenue into a safe, beautiful, bike friendly avenue that will connect the west side of US 41 to the new Baker Park and the Gordon River Greenway.

I realize change makes for discomfort and there will be impact to some businesses. This is one of those projects that Council has to make decisions that are best for our entire community and have the courage to withstand the pressure from individuals with a single focus.

We will continue to work with Kimley-Horn, our streets and stormwater department and our residents and business to create a corridor we can all be proud of. Our goal is to start construction in summer 2015 the project will last approximately 12 months.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or comments, please call me at 239.248.1550 or email me at mayor@naplesgov.com.

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