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BILL BARNETT


           always think the May, June, and July article in Life in Naples is  Naples along with businesses, restaurants, hotels and everything and
        I
           the Season wrap up for me. I guess I’m in a different time zone.  anything that would cause more traffic happened. Roads were being
           In a brief recap I remember so well like so many of us do where  built to keep up with the growth but not fast enough. “What are
        we were last September when Ian dealt its damaging blow to Florida  you going to do about this traffic?” It was a question then and is a
        and points North. Over the years I specifically remember dealing with  question now. The City of Naples invested in every new piece of traffic
        former hurricanes and remember them well but none like Ian. I was  technology from synching lights, road design plans, and a myriad of
        in New York on vacation just about two days away from driving my  solutions. Some worked and some didn’t but over time and as the
        car from Buffalo to Naples. Watching the broadcasts on television  growth continued the traffic saturation point during season reached
        and  the  picture that  was  unfolding                                            its max. Collier County has done its best
        before me I knew that number one,                                                 as well, but it was too late. The old saying
        I wasn’t going anywhere and number                                                “trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes in
        two we were going to be in for a rough                                            a 5 pound bag” sums it up. I could write a
        ride with this one. I’ll fast forward now                                         lot more about traffic, but the bottom line
        because  we all know  what  happened                                              is it’s not like driving on the Long Island
        and many throughout Florida are                                                   Expressway, the Freeway in California,
        and will be dealing with the effects of                                           I-4 in Orlando and many more like the
        Ian for many years to come. The most                                              above. So, add 10-20 minutes to getting
        important thing to not forget is that                                             to your destination in the city, or the
        many of our friends and neighbors still                                           county, and understand it’s not going to
        need our help even though it's not at                                             get any better during the Winter Season.
        the top of the conversation list for us,                                             In closing our May, June and July
        it is for those who still suffer from Ian.                                        article, I just want to say that it has
           It’s not often that during my                                                  been a decent season considering what
        political career I would be stumped by                                            we have been through. Looks can be
        a question because there literally was                                            deceiving and not all business friends
        no answer and it was a valid question. There is an organization in  that I am in constant touch with are happy. Although we had a lot
        Naples called Naples Better Government that has been around for  of traffic and the restaurants and places of lodging looked very busy,
        30 years. Its main objective is to interview political candidates from  that wasn’t exactly the case. There were more vacancies than usual
        local to state, it is non-partisan, and simply makes recommendations  and folks weren’t spending like they normally do during the season. I
        based on the information gleaned from their interviews and their  suppose this was expected but it sure looked busier than ever to me,
        backgrounds.  It also does a follow up with candidates they have  but I’m not an expert on crunching those numbers. I wish you all
        recommended and were elected after a year just to see how they are  a great summer whether you’re staying here or traveling, make the
        doing and are they living up to their campaign promises. I am pleased  most out of it. Naples is nice during the summer, you can go to any
        to be a member of Naples Better Government. Recently we did our  restaurant you please, no reservations needed, and they will be glad to
        follow up interviews with some Naples City Council members and  see you. Lots of places to park, some great summer sales, and nobody
        it was nice to be able to report that they were doing a commendable  will honk their horn at you.
        job. After their interviews and they had left, our board discussed what    We will take a vacation and head to Buffalo where we have a lot
        we had just heard and made our recommendations. One of our board  of family and rent a cottage in Angola, New York. Once again, I will
        members was unhappy with an answer to a question that he asked, it  eat way too much local corn, eat enough chicken wings so when I get
        was about what can we do about the traffic? (Specifically in the City  back to Naples I won’t eat another one till the following summer and
        of Naples but basically everywhere) The Council Member answered  the same goes for pizza and some very good restaurants. No, I’m not
        the question exactly how I would have and basically said not a lot  being a hypocrite after that Naples in the summer intro and then I
        which was an honest answer.                                leave, we don’t go till the end of July so I can enjoy both!
           I can’t pinpoint exactly when traffic became an issue, but I will tell   Thanks,
        you that as the city and county really started to grow in the 1990s the
                                                                      Bill Barnett, Former Mayor
        traffic grew along with it. The influx of citizens that had discovered
                                                                      I do respond to e-mails at:  mayornaples@gmail.com
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