Town circles around road plan

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In a two-fold effort to beautify both ends of Longboat Key and to help move traffic along, especially during peak season, the town will consider at Monday’s regular Commission workshop, installing roundabouts at both ends of the island.

Town Manager Dave Bullock said there are several positives that could come into play with the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of Gulf of Mexico Drive and Broadway on the north end of the key.

“Following the Urban Land Institute’s study, we have talked about beautifying the entrance to the key at the north end; this would be an opportunity. I also think in season, turning left is very dicey off of Broadway and a roundabout would also offer a safer pedestrian crossing opportunity than exists today,” said Bullock.

Bullock said there is enough land to create a roundabout in the right-of-way with only a small sliver that would be necessary from the former north-end gas station property.

On the south end of the Key there are several options in roundabout design at the intersection of Key Club Road and Gulf of Mexico Drive. One of the designs shows a right-hand turn lane for cars heading south that would alleviate congestion from traffic trying to head into the Longboat Key Club Islandside. A roundabout, according to the consultants who were hired by the town to study the issue, would increase traffic flow by up to 30 percent because cars would not be stopped at a red light and could make the best use of gaps in traffic.

Some of what is created on the south end, if anything, depends on the future redevelopment of the Longboat Key Club and the commensurate traffic analysis. The Key Club may be required, if it is shown to necessitate a capacity improvement, to fund some or all of a roundabout improvement.

Bullock was clear in saying that much of the opportunity is to create an improved and beautified entrance to the island and yet roundabouts would not solve the systemic traffic issues created by the Ringling Bridge, St. Armands and Bradenton Beach. He added that most of the year the roadways function well, but during busy season the problems quickly intensify.

At Monday’s meeting, the Town Commission will hear the report made by the roundabout consultant Michael Wallwork of Alternate Street Designs. Wallwork has extensive experience designing roundabouts worldwide and he has provided the town with conceptual designs for Longboat Key. The Commission, if it wishes to pursue roundabouts, would need to work with the Florida Department of Transportation which regulates the state road called Gulf of Mexico Drive.


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1 Response for “Town circles around road plan”

  1. ScottRAB says:

    It would help for story about modern roundabouts, if you showed a picture of a modern roundabout, not a neighborhood traffic circle.
    Many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast US rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to http://tinyurl.com/kstate-RAB to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg

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