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Beach Park and Ride opens at Summerlin Square

January 5, 2018
By JESSICA SALMOND (jsalmond@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Beach tourists and even local Lee County beachgoers have a new place to catch an easy ride to Fort Myers Beach.

LeeTran opened its new Beach Park and Ride at 11101 Summerlin Square Drive in December.

"That was pretty exciting, opening that up," said Larry Kiker, Lee County Commissioner. "It took us 10 years to get that done."

Article Photos

JESSICA SALMOND

Fort Myers Beach-going passengers load up on the park-and-ride trolley at Summerlin Square

The new facility provides 129 all-day parking spaces, wifi, charging stations and public restrooms for its bus hoppers. An electronic interactive map allows passengers to check routes.

The biggest perk of the facility is the routes that converge here.

Bus 50 is a direct route from the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), and stops here to transfer passengers grabbing the trolley to the beach. Bus 130 connects the park-and-ride to the South Fort Myers loop.

Bus 400 services the beach from April through the first week of January; From January to April, the bus numbers are 410 and 490.

Bus 490 takes passengers to Bowditch Point to transfer to 410, which runs from Bowditch to Lovers Key.

"This is for people who don't want to fight traffic or try to find parking," said Katie Meckley, spokeswoman for LeeTran.

All-day parking is free at the facility for passengers. It's 75 cents per person for a one-way trip, $2 for an all-day pass, and $4 for a three-day pass. The trolleys have space for luggage, beach bags, coolers and chairs, Meckley said.

Fares must be paid in exact change on the bus, or purchased at a number of other locations, including Publix.

Meckley said there's no ticket counter at the new facility now, but the infrastructure is in place to put one there if demand would support it.

The trolley is supposed to arrive at Summerlin Square approximately every 45 minutes, and a ride from the facility to the Times Square stop is approximately 20 minutes (although you can get off earlier on the stop next to 7-Eleven, just north of Times Square). Season traffic can delay those arrival times.

"You're still sitting in traffic, but you don't have to worry about it," Meckley said.

The project, on the 5.5 acre property, cost approximately $5.2 million. Florida Department of Transportation gave the county a grant $2.4 million.

Danielle Neureuther and Jeff Kasper, Estero Island residents who manage an AirBnb property, said they'd probably start recommending the trolley to their guests. Many of them don't really want to rent a car - an unnecessary expense on the very walk-able or bike-able north end of the island - and with the airport route transferring directly to the beach route, guests could have an easy, and cheap, alternative.

"It's super easy, it's air conditioned," she said. "You can't get irritated, with a smart phone your kids can watch a show while you're in traffic."

Terry Kipikas and her husband moved to Fort Myers five weeks ago. On Thursday, they thought they'd try out the new Park and Ride and go to the beach for an early dinner.

"It was very convenient, and scenic," she said. "When you see all that traffic - this was the best way."

 
 
 

 

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