McLeod Knocks It Out of the Park at Isles of Collier Candidate Forum

Here’s and unsolicited response from an attendee

Dear Michelle,

You hit it out of the park today at the event at the Isles— articulate, prepared… I could go on.  

Great job!

Best wishes,  

Jill Johnson, Isles of Collier resident

The audience was greeted by an array of croissant sandwiches, fruit and cheeses as the Candidate Forum for Isles of Collier Preserve began.  Most audience participants were unfamiliar with the candidates, so this gave them a great opportunity to meet the candidates for the first time.

Jacob Winge, president of the East Naples Civic and Commerce, moderated the panel with questions specifically design for this audience.

Questions included affordable housing and proper location, preserving green space, enhancing Sugden Park, traffic congestion on 41 and ways to relieve it, methods to encourage developers to build desired outcomes, and more.

It was obvious Michelle McLeod had done her homework and answered with sound facts and methods to solve the problems the community faces, while her panel counter parts were left with short answers that guessed at what could be done.  Incumbent Commissioner Penny Taylor primarily restated historical problems and why solutions would be hard to come by.

It was obvious McLeod was reaching the audience as attendees nodded and whispered to each other giving “thumbs up” signs as they listened to solutions provided by McLeod.

Here is just one example of McLeod’s responses to the question:  What would you do to remedy traffic issues on US 41 here in East Naples?

Here’s what we know about traffic…

  • Traffic has direct correlations to a variety of different factors.
    • One factor is the economy. When the economy is doing well, traffic is up. 
    • Another factor is growth. When growth occurs, traffic increases. 
    • Another factor is special events. The more special events we have, the more traffic we will have. 

These are just a few factors that directly affect our traffic counts. 

  • Our current seasonal traffic counts have not yet hit our peak in 2005 but they are getting close. Current counts shows that there are 7000 more cars in a 24-hour period crossing the Gordon River Bridge than in the last 5 years. As a point of reference, we are still shy 5000 more cars from our peak. 

How can we best mange traffic:  There is lots we can do.    Strategically we can…

  • Encourage green space over commercial or housing projects whenever possible.
  • When green space is not an option, encourage mix use development which encourages people to walk to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc. instead of driving to these areas.
  • We can create more live/work environments to lessen traffic. This is a big one. 
  • We can support the Complete Streets model to encourage non-motorized transportation with walking and bike paths.
  • We can better manage special events to avoid overbookings on a particular day and area.
  • Though US 41 is a state road mandated by FDOT, we do have the ability to synchronize traffic lights. There’s new traffic controlling software available that better calculates optimal flows of traffic so it would be in our best interest to invest in these types of programs.
  • We need to assure that developments that are being built out east are self-sustaining to help minimize the need for those residents to travel into town.
  • Then there is always the option of adding an additional travel lane on the east trail. When 20,000 more cars are traveling on a roadway that triggers the ability to add an additional traffic lane.  In most areas on the east trail there is enough right away to add this. 

Of course, there were more questions before and after that, but this provides an example of how McLeod answered each question.  Great job Michelle!