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Siesta Key Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012 3 years ago

Siesta Village crosswalk lighting price tag rises

by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

Not all Siesta Village crosswalks are going to be equipped with lighted bollards to improve pedestrian safety.

At its March 13 Sarasota County Commission regular meeting, commissioners unanimously approved the installation of bollards with lights at each end of every crosswalk in Siesta Village, to improve pedestrian safety.

But at its Tuesday regular meeting, Commissioner Nora Patterson, a Siesta Key resident, explained that the $10,000 cost commissioners agreed upon didn’t include construction costs.

Patterson explained there are 11 to 13 crosswalks in the Village, and staff’s original estimate didn’t include installation, which would increase the cost.

Patterson, however, is still hopeful the Village will see bollards in its future, just not at every crosswalk.

“Folks who I have talked to say only five or six intersections need these bollards,” Patterson said. The other intersections, Patterson said, already have traffic light crosswalks.

Patterson asked her fellow commissioners Tuesday for support for staff to come back to the commission at a future meeting with a cost estimate for bollards at the most critical Village crosswalks.

“We’re asking that before we spend any money, we look into that to try and reduce costs,” said Patterson.

The commission unanimously agreed with her request.

Patterson has previously pushed for the lighted bollards at a January Siesta Key Village Association meeting, calling the current pedestrian situation there “an accident waiting to happen.”

SKVA member Mark Smith noted during the organization’s March 6 meeting that the headlights of oncoming vehicles could blind drivers as they proceed down Ocean Boulevard and through the Village, even at the posted 20 mph speed.

That situation, Smith said, makes it difficult for people to see pedestrians in crosswalks that are not well illuminated by surrounding light.

Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations for the county’s Public Works Department, said earlier this month that costs for the bollards could be an issue because the $10,000 price tag didn’t include construction costs.

The future bollard project also calls for restriping the crosswalks with a reflective thermoplastic material.
A county memo said the thermoplastic striping had been in place for four years “and is in need of replacement.” The restriping was estimated at $6,200.

Installing four delineators, or paddles, in the crosswalks where drivers have the most difficulty seeing pedestrians, is the less desired option for the crosswalks.

The delineators would cost about $500, according to the memo; they also could be purchased and installed with existing county operations and maintenance funds. The paddles, which are lightweight signs covered in diamond-grade reflective material, fold over at the base if hit accidentally by a vehicle, the memo noted.


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