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Sarasota planners compile wish list of new road projects, roundabouts

City commissioners will consider the road project priorities in a Jan. 3 meeting
Posted at 7:28 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 08:06:26-05

SARASOTA, Fla. — More roundabouts could be coming to Sarasota if a list of projects proposed by city transportation planners is approved.

The planners have submitted a list of 27 potential projects to Sarasota City Commissioners, who will soon consider the list in a January 3 meeting. The list helps prioritize where the most pressing needs are and which projects should be pursued first.

Toward the top of the list of priorities, transportation planners propose new roundabouts at U.S. 41 and Main Street, U.S. 41 and Ringling Boulevard, U.S. 41 and Myrtle Street, and U.S. 41 and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

“They’re the final components to all of the roundabouts that have been included in this plan,” explained Alvimarie Corales, Sarasota’s chief transportation planner. “So they would essentially keep traffic flowing from north Sarasota all the way to the south of the city.”

Roundabouts are already common around Sarasota, and another is currently under construction at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue.

According to a national study cited on the city’s website, roundabouts can reduce crashes by 35%, reduce fatalities by 90%, and create a better flow of traffic.

Corinne Tucker, a transportation planner for the city, has noticed an improvement created by roundabouts on her daily commute.

“My daily commute is from the City of Bradenton, so I go all the way from up north down south, and take U.S. 41 and there is such a difference driving on a straight shot through traffic signals at high speeds than being — going through lower speeds at those roundabouts. It’s much more comfortable and a much more enjoyable experience as a driver,” she said. “I think there are definitely changes happening in the city, and I think they’re for the better.”

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Additionally, the list of priorities includes:

  • Improvements to U.S. 41 from 14th St to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way (including replacement of Whitaker Bayou Bridge), which should make the corridor better and safer for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles
  • Raised crosswalks in St. Armands Circle at the intersection of Madison and Adams Drives
  • A redesign of Main Street from U.S. 301 to U.S. 41, which will include modifying parking spaces from angled to parallel to improve safety, widen sidewalks, add more trees
  • Bridge Replacement for Coon Key Bridge and improvements for John Ringling Causeway Bridge to make it better and safer for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles
  • A new regional water transit study
  • Roundabout at Cocoanut Avenue and 2nd Street
  • Roundabout at U.S. 41 and Orange Avenue

View the full list of proposed priorities here.

Sarasota road projects by ABC Action News on Scribd

It might take several years before construction begins on some of the projects.

First, the city commission will have to approve the list of priorities before it's sent to regional transportation planners at the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Corales and Tucker said the MPO will help determine which projects are funded and how.

“This is essential for the City of Sarasota to submit transportation projects so that we can be funded by MPO funds, by FDOT funds, federal funds,” Corales said.

Tucker adds that the projects will be eligible to receive funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in Nov. 2021.

“As we start to see that federal money come down, we’re putting the City of Sarasota in a position to be able to receive those funds,” she said.