An accident in January 2010 on Orange Avenue, just south of the Hudson Bayou bridge, resulted in the death of a pedestrian.
As a result of that crash, the police department put up the flashing sign on the street to warn drivers if they are speeding. Nearly two decades earlier, the city had installed two speed tables on Orange Avenue.
Despite the two speed tables through the neighborhood and smaller speed bumps installed on narrow side streets, residents say speeding continues to be a problem on the north-south street often used as a cut-through to get to and from south Sarasota.
“I’ve been here 30 years, and people who live on Orange have always complained about speeding,” said Hudson Bayou resident George Haborak.
Michael Schneiderman, who also lives in Hudson Bayou, wrote an email to City Commissioner Terry Turner Dec. 5, asking city officials to consider installing two additional speed tables on a quarter-mile stretch of Orange Avenue.
“We are right in the middle of this speedway,” Schneiderman said in an interview with the Sarasota Observer. “We have witnessed many close car accidents. It has gotten worse.”
Many drivers speed up after they pass the flashing speed sign just south of the Hudson Bayou bridge, he said.
Even more traffic has been temporarily rerouted to Orange Avenue because a portion of Osprey Avenue, which runs parallel and to the east, has been closed for construction work on Lift Station No. 7.
“We get the big trucks, hospital traffic and all the traffic from Osprey,” said Schneiderman’s wife, Paula. “We can’t manage the amount of traffic, but, certainly, I hope we can do something to manage the speeders.”
Right across from the Schneidermans’ home, a motorcycle police officer sometimes issues tickets to speeders.
“We love to see that officer,” Paula said. “We need all the help we can get.”
Rob Patten, president of the Hudson Bayou Neighborhood Association, lives on Hawthorne Street, which gets less traffic because the road does not have access to U.S. 41. Orange Avenue gets upward of 16,000 cars a day.
“It’s not like driving down 41,” Patten said. “There are kids playing, people are walking their dogs.”
The pair of speed tables and the sign have helped, but enforcement is key, Patten said. Long-term radar monitoring by police would increase deterrence, he said.
“That would be a good signal to send out: If you speed, you will get caught,” Patten said. “I’m sure there are other neighborhoods that deal with this.”
City officials told Schneiderman they will get back to him with more information about the process for installing additional speed tables on Orange Avenue.
“I don’t think it would cost too much to put in some (more) speed tables,” Schneiderman said.