A project to make sidewalks safer throughout Siesta Key Village is slated to light up seven crosswalks before the next tourist season arrives.
Sarasota County approved the $70,000 project earlier this month to add LED-lit concrete posts at seven crosswalks in the Village. Crews are expected to install the posts by October.
County officials worked with the Siesta Key Village Association, merchants and residents for more than a year-and-a-half to design the customized project, said Catherine Luckner, president of the Siesta Key Association.
For Luckner, the project has been a priority.
“I think everyone has been afraid, at times, for the people who visit here and just aren’t paying attention,” Luckner said.
Many Siesta residents, including Luckner, have seen someone on foot or bicycle get hit by a car in the Village, Luckner said.
In total, 14 bollards — or short vertical, concrete posts — will be installed at the crosswalks.
Sarasota-based Evolucia Lighting provided the LED lights used in the project at cost, a move that trimmed an estimated $30,000 from the original $110,000 cost of the project, Luckner said.
It will take about four weeks for the bollards to arrive from Stonelight LLC, the partner company of Evolucia, responsible for the manufacturing of the bollards. It will take a separate contractor, Windemuller Technical Services, an additional four weeks to install them.
“There will be a little disruption, but nothing significant,” said Tom Maroney, transportation manager with Sarasota County. “We won’t need to close the road.”
The goal is to complete the project before tourist season, Maroney said.
Throughout the past 16 months, the county organized demonstrations so merchants and residents could see different manufacturers’ designs and products.
“They were designing on the fly what merchants and residents wanted,” Maroney said.
Stonelight LLC was ultimately selected to build the custom bollards that were designed with two purposes in mind.
The devices will light the crosswalks so pedestrians can see where they are walking, while also illuminating the crosswalks so they are visible to motorists on Ocean Boulevard, Maroney said.
Luckner hopes they will help control traffic, both during the day and at night.
Currently, “there is nothing to limit the speed through the Village except stop signs,” Luckner said.