To the editor,
In response to a recent letter to the editor, we want to clarify some misinformation that was promulgated regarding the Galloway Captiva Tri.
In particular, as organizers of the Galloway Captiva Tri we want to assure Captivans that emergency response and services on the island will not be disrupted at any point during the Sept. 18 event. All emergency responders will have full access to island roadways even while Captiva Drive is closed to regular traffic during the very limited (6:45-8:45 a.m.) time when bicyclists will be on the road. (The closure may even be shorter, since we will re-open the road as soon as the last bicyclist clears the public roadway and the numerous barricades required by Lee County can be removed.)
In fact, thanks to the various safety requirements required for the race - by Lee County, the Captiva Fire District, Lee County EMS and USA Triathlon (the sanctioning body) - it could be an excellent time to have an emergency on the island. With an additional police and EMS presence for the race - including an EMS Bike Team and LCSO deputies patrolling the roads - response times should be excellent.
Triathlon racers will be reminded before and during the race that emergency vehicles take precedence on the roads when responding to any emergency, and we will have numerous volunteers (as well as extra deputies and VOICE volunteers) on the roadways to direct race traffic and deal with any unauthorized vehicles that might enter the race course.
As far as the concern over being denied an opportunity to worship, the only service on the islands that would be a problem for Captivans to attend would be the 8 a.m. service at Sanibel Community Church. However, the 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services there are certainly accessible, as are the 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. services at the other Sanibel churches (since everyone is on their summer schedules this time of year). We tried to minimize the inconvenience to islanders by the timing of this event, but I guess we just can't please everyone.
Of course, we are working with Captiva resorts and rental agents to alert all their guests about the road closure. In addition, an electronic message sign (requested by the county) will be stationed at Turner Beach early that week to alert motorists about the closure. The plan is to move that sign onto Sanibel the morning of the race to alert approaching traffic about the closure, and a plan has been filed with the city of Sanibel to handle traffic flow in the Santiva area during the closure.
As race organizers, we're pleased the event has reached its 500 adult racer cap (the children's event is still open, however). That means we'll be able make a much needed donation to CCMI as planned to benefit the hungry and needy in Lee County.
We're also pleased so many islanders have gotten excited about this inaugural event, and we hope it will become something people can look forward to - and which can benefit the larger community - for years to come.
Southwest Florida Events/Galloway Captiva Tri