Longboat’s engineer says Sarasota roundabout not best plan for traffic

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The Longboat Key Town Commission’s opposition to the proposed roundabout slated for U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue just received some new ammunition.

Longboat Key hired traffic consultants CDM Smith to perform a review of the proposed roundabout and the firm concluded that, “Based on the issues we have identified regarding the analysis that has been done by FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) so far, we cannot agree at this point in time that the recommended Roundabout alternative is indeed superior, as it relates to traffic, to the existing signalized ‘No Build’ alternative.”

This conclusion and the accompanying analysis will be discussed by the commission at its Feb. 19 workshop.

The desire to fight the roundabout plan, which is pending construction later this year by FDOT and has been embraced by the City of Sarasota, led to the commission hiring CDM Smith on Sept. 11, 2018 to undertake the review.

The Town Commission, led by Commissioner Jack Daly, has urged the FDOT to slow down and hold off constructing the roundabout and instead study the efficiency of the additional third turn lane that was installed last year on the northbound lane.

Longboat’s urgings did not convince FDOT to stall the project but CDM Smith has found what it says are several observations including what it says is a low growth rate of .56 percent in traffic increase per year.

CDM Smith also said that FDOT relied on data that showed projected traffic being assigned disproportionately for each traffic lane. CDM Smith noted that the traffic study relied on by FDOT modeled a roundabout different than the one proposed.

The town’s engineers did not gather new data, but critiqued the data and analysis that the FDOT used by its engineering firm, Kimley-Horn and Associates.

CDM Smith recommends exactly what the town wants, and that is to study the existing intersection with the triple left turn lane for one year, to determine Level of Service and Delays. It also recommends that a similar roundabout to the one actually proposed be studied.

Since the time that CDM Smith completed this analysis on behalf of Longboat Key, the firm has met with FDOT’s consultants to discuss the issues. Kimley-Horn and Associates has agreed to provide a rebuttal to the town’s hired engineer, which is expected to be produced and discussed at the Town of Longboat Key’s Feb. 19 workshop.

Additionally, the FDOT is proposing to perform intersection counts at Gulfstream and U.S. 41 during March 2019 to assess its functioning.

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1 Response for “Longboat’s engineer says Sarasota roundabout not best plan for traffic”

  1. Roger Barry says:

    The village of Longboat paid $20,000 for an uninformed professional opinion about the construction of a roundabout in Sarasota? The professional transportation engineering opinion is over whelming in support of roundabouts in this type of location. Clearwater, FL has had a roundabout for over 10 years that has higher traffic and pedestrian counts than in this location. Why would they be opposed to the construction of a structure that would reduce traffic congestion, fatal accidents and injuries and be safer for pedestrians?

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