Golden Gate Point residents and Sarasota officials celebrated the new streetscape at the neighborhood’s “Welcome Home” block party Saturday, Nov. 14.
The concept of the project started eight years ago with the idea of putting power lines underground. Throughout the last few years, the project evolved into a larger streetscape-beautification plan.
“We hired landscape architect Phil Smith, of Dave Johnston, with private money — about $30,000 to $40,000 — when we were originally discussing the concept,” said Brent Parker, streetscape chairman. “As the project grew, we hired civil engineering firm Wilson Miller through the city.”
The neighborhood now includes sidewalks and defined, landscaped perpendicular-parking spaces. Residents were once able to park anywhere.
“We tried parallel parking, 45-degree angles and perpendicular, and finally settled on perpendicular parking, which narrowed the actual driving surface,” Parker said. “It used to be 45 feet wide, like the Daytona racetrack.”
Street surfaces use horizontal displacement, which means the driving surface moves horizontally, from left to right, intentionally reducing the speed of cars.
“The movement helps create streets for people instead of just for cars,” Parker said.
The streetscape also features small, residential light poles that use small-watt bulbs, instead of the 10-foot-tall telephone poles that once lit the neighborhood. One “green” project feature is the new crosswalks made of solar-powered bricks. The solar bricks line the perimeter of three crosswalks at the front entrance and contain a solar collector inside that collects energy during the day. At night, the bricks glow, making the crosswalk more visible to drivers.
Golden Gate Point is the first community in the United States to complete a solar-brick installation.
“There are no controls, no switches and no power required,” Parker said. “You simply lay the bricks and they do their thing. I looked at them and said, ‘Ooh, these are fun.’”
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