According to Sheriff Tom Knight, traffic violations are among the biggest concerns for county residents.
As a result, he has stepped up arrests for DUIs and writing of traffic citations.
CONA, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, held an April 11 special meeting, in which residents aired their complaints about traffic infractions to Knight and other county officials.
Liz Iverson had a friend killed making a left turn from Rand Boulevard to Clark Road.
“That was eight months ago, and what’s been done? Nothing,” she said. “For (government officials) to know about this and do nothing about it. It’s criminal.”
Jim Harriott, the county’s executive director of mobility, told Iverson that no amount of fatalities will instigate the installation of a stoplight.
Instead the traffic engineers mainly look at whether the volume of cars demands a light.
In this particular case, however, Harriott did have some good news for Iverson. The state will be closing the Clark Road median on Clark Road to prevent left turns from Rand Boulevard.
Other concerns expressed at the CONA meeting centered on red-light and stop-sign running, speeding and rolling right turns on red.
“From Mound (Street) to Orange (Avenue), they don’t ever stop,” said Susan Chapman. “It makes it very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s partly a design problem and partly a law-enforcement problem.”
Ann Kaplan, CONA president, said a lot of people would like to see more tickets written.
That’s exactly what the sheriff’s office is doing, said Knight.
From Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2010, the sheriff’s office wrote 22% more traffic citations and made 45% more arrests for DUI.
“We’ve shown a huge increase in traffic arrests, but we can’t be everywhere,” said Knight.
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