By: Christine Ross, MBA, MS, IOM, President & CEO, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director, Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council
This week I received a very nice note from a Florida Gulf Coast University student looking for an internship. He is a rising senior and excited to be learning in a real business setting. But what he wrote next, threw cold water over the request and in my mind, all of his options. He noted “I am excited to start an internship and wonder if you can tell me more about the public transportation system because I don’t own or have access to a car?”
Well gosh, in 2015 this seems so unbelievable and futile, all at the same time. Here we are in paradise with growth and abundance all around us. We have multiple fine colleges, training centers and universities producing highly qualified graduates whose intellectual talents we’d like to retain for our workforce; but, as you can see, no reliable and consistent way to get students or workers, to and from school, jobs and or internships. Is it feasible for this to continue? We are watching development spread with speed and an intensity not seen since the early 2000’s. I cannot help but wonder how front line workers are going to get to work each day.
As we build more beautiful homes, add to our educational capacity and develop the infrastructure for the next 25-50 years, I believe we must tackle the issue of transit now or the options for a well-planned cost effective system will becoming increasingly difficult with each passing year. If you are worried about road capacity, available transit for the movement of students, emergency transport and workforce, mark your calendars for October 15, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a program entitled “Meeting Market Demands for Walkable Urban Communities,” This event is presented by the City of Fort Myers at Harborside Event Center, Downtown Fort Myers. The lineup of speakers is world class.