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Until the bollard is replaced, the county covered the crumbling stump in front of the Lobster Pot with a caution cone. Photos by Jessica Salmond
Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 9 months ago

Objects in Siesta Village are closer than they appear

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by: Jessica Salmond Staff Writer

Bollards, the short concrete pillars illuminated by LED lights at night and used as markers to denote pedestrian crosswalks, have become defacto targets for drivers on Siesta Key.

Many people don’t see them, said Mark Smith, vice president of the Siesta Key Village Association, and hit them as a result.

Although some do, in fact, see the bollards’ light. Smith said someone called his office — intoxicated — to tell him the glare from the LED light was annoying.

In 2012, SKVA asked the County Commission to consider installing 14 bollards at the ends of seven pedestrian crosswalks in the Village. Smith said he had seen people trying to pull in or back out of some of the wider pedestrian areas, such as the walkway between Beach Club and Lobster Pot.

Since the county installed the bollards in August 2013, drivers have either backed into or hit at least three of the $955 apiece blocks of LED-lighted concrete. (The total project cost was $64,795.) Although some only lean to the side due to these incidents, the latest bollard hit was a total casualty. The latest event occurred about three weeks ago in the evening, near the Lobster Pot and Beach Club in the Village. The county filed a property damage report, but no one witnessed the event, said Lisa Cece, a special district coordinator for the county transportation and real estate department.

This bollard was completely snapped off, and the Siesta Key Maintenance Corp. and county crew cleaned up the debris and capped the electricity to the bollard, Cece said.

“We’ve got bollards by 7-Eleven; they get hit on a regular basis,” Smith said. “They’re victims of vehicle malfeasance.”

Bollards are not the only victims, however. Other objects that have been bumped and backed into include:
Two park benches;

A black olive tree by the gazebo at Beach Bazaar;

The Village sign on Beach Road;

The warning arrows at the curve of Siesta Drive and Higel Avenue; and

A light pole near Calle Miramar and Ocean Boulevard.

“Its almost like target practice,” Smith said. “People can’t drive, either by adult beverages, age, eyesight or kids screaming in the back.”

The county has already purchased a replacement bollard for the downed one near the Lobster Pot, plus two spares in preparation for the next hit — “contingency planning for any future damage,” Cece said.

“The county will be stocking these items for prompt replacement if needed,” she said.

The new bollard will be installed once the county receives it.

“It’s something you just shake your head at,” Smith said.

 

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