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As Longboat dislikes roundabout, Sarasota furthers partnership with FDOT

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Longboat Key leaders have long voiced words of both fear and concern that the roundabout planned at US 41 and Gulfstream Avenue will slow traffic, create dreaded back-ups and possibly impede evacuation attempts.

The champions of the roundabout include the City of Sarasota and, more importantly, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which maintains the state-controlled roadway.

Longboat has argued that the FDOT should thoroughly monitor the effectiveness of the third turn lane that was added to the existing signal intersection for motorists turning north off of Gulfstream Ave.

But FDOT, although listening and entertaining Longboat’s position, has not waivered in its plan which includes starting construction of the roundabout in the Fall of 2020.

The latest construction schedule shows that there’s a plan to advertise construction bids for the project next May and a contract is due to be awarded sometime in July of 2020.

Both the FDOT and the City of Sarasota have shared a different opinion and priority than that of Longboat Key.

The FDOT says that US 41 currently creates a barrier and bifurcates Downtown Sarasota and the Bayfront.

FDOT says the roundabout will slow traffic and create a more pedestrian friendly environment.  Pedestrian and bicycle-centric policy has been central to city and FDOT planning in recent years.

Another pedestrian initiative is the current Multi-Use Recreational Trail (MURT) that is being installed right now between Coon Key Bridge and St. Armands Circle on the north side of the roadway. This project is concurrent with the removal of most every mature Australian Pine.

The Australian Pines are being removed at the urging of area emergency management officials who experienced delays in accessing the keys following Hurricane Irma when numerous pine trees fell over in the roadway.

 

The Bay

Another pedestrian-friendly initiative for the City is the evolution of “The Bay” Project that will create other amenities, a public promenade on the 53 waterfront acres encircling the Van Wezel.

Last week, the City of Sarasota further enmeshed itself with the US 41/Gulfstream Avenue roundabout project by approving an agreement with FDOT to replace $1.3 million worth of water and sewer mains that run along the intersection.

The City says the water and sewer pipes are at the end o their usefull life and by replacing them when the roundabout is under construction will minimize the disruption and impact felt by the community.

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1 Response for “As Longboat dislikes roundabout, Sarasota furthers partnership with FDOT”

  1. John Beeman says:

    Carmel, Indiana – home of dozens of round-a-bouts – Studies show an increase of crashes. Not as promised when they were proposed. Mayor of Carmel has visited Sarasota touting the benefits of traffic circles. Not so much according to the Indpls Star.

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