Able Canal Pathway Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, began a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study along 5.58 miles of the Able Canal from Harns Marsh to Joel Boulevard in Lee County. This study will evaluate the placement of a shared-use pathway along the north side of the canal. The study also includes considerations for additional access and connections for pedestrians and bicyclists. The pathway will be within the Able Canal right-of-way, which is owned by the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District (LAMSID), and the pathway will be maintained by the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department. FDOT is involved in this study because federal funds are being used and the FDOT will also help facilitate the study through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
Purpose and Need
The purpose of the Able Canal shared-use pathway is to facilitate the use of viable, non-motorized travel options for commuters and recreational users in the Able Canal corridor and within the Lehigh Acres community in Lee County. The 5.58-mile shared-use pathway is anticipated to create additional access and connections for pedestrians and bicyclists to community points of interest and area destinations. Large residential developments, as well as pedestrian and bicycle attractors (such as Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park, Lehigh Elementary School, Lehigh Acres Community Park North, and Harns Marsh), in the project vicinity create a demand for increased pedestrian and bicycle activity. This project has the potential to promote healthy activities and increase social interaction throughout the area.
This proposed project is identified as a priority of the Lee-Collier Joint Regional Pathway Network and is consistent with stated goals of Lee County to create a connected multi-modal transportation system. The Able Canal shared-use pathway will add 5.58 miles of shared-use path to the existing pedestrian/bicycle network in Lee County. The pathway will provide convenient and safe public access to residential and recreational destinations via a high quality multi-modal connection. Communities near the pathway will gain access to the growing regional network of multi-use trail facilities.