The Florida Department of Transportation recently concluded that a roundabout at the Midnight Pass Road-Beach Road intersection could help improve pedestrian safety, prompting the agency to move forward with conceptual designs and further studies of the proposal, and the Sarasota County Commission to request more information in preparation for public discussions.
FDOT has scheduled preliminary engineering for the project for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, with construction slated for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to FDOT spokesman Robin Stublen. Funding has been programmed for both aspects of the project.
"Generally, you're looking at a two year timeframe for engineering," Stublen said. "That could mean (construction) could start in late 2016 or 2017."
Siesta residents have long complained about the dangers of the pedestrian crosswalks at the Beach Road-Midnight Pass Road intersection, prompting the FDOT’s move to study whether replacing the intersection with a roundabout could help.
The conceptual designs and analysis would be in preparation for further public debate and discussion about the proposal.
According to an email from County Engineer James Harriott to County Commissioner Christine Robinson, the FDOT concluded that a roundabout at the intersection, located near Siesta Beach Park, would also help improve traffic flow.
The intersection is a heavily-trafficked pedestrian thoroughfare due to offsite parking options available for beachgoers at nearby St. Boniface Church and adjacent properties when the parking lots at Siesta Beach park are full — which they usually are during the beach’s peak season.
Robinson requested a detailed information packet on the FDOT's study and recommendation from Harriott, indicating that the Sarasota County Commission is likely to seriously consider the proposal.
Contact Nolan Peterson at email@example.com
This story was updated from its original version at 10:16 a.m.