The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be holding a public hearing May 1 to unveil its designs for pedestrian islands on Bee Ridge Road.
The raised medians are planned to line the center of Bee Ridge Road from the intersection with U.S. 41 to Dunn Drive. Bee Ridge Road is a state road, and therefore under the jurisdiction of FDOT.
The Bee Ridge pedestrian island project is one of a series of FDOT projects that have caught county staff off-guard recently, including the no right on red at Stickney Point and Midnight Pass and the proposed Beach Road — Midnight Pass Road roundabout.
On April 10, County Commissioner Nora Patterson wrote an email to FDOT Director of Transportation Development Chris Smith, requesting more information about the state agency’s plans.
“I am one of the Sarasota County commissioners,” Patterson wrote. “Could the county get copies of what you are planning? This is the first that I have heard of this, and I represent the district.”
County Public Works Director Jim Harriott expressed misgivings about the utility of the medians and cautioned that although it was an FDOT-driven project, the county would likely have to pick up the tab for maintenance with some state reimbursement.
“I am not at all adverse to mid-block crossings, but having them on Bee Ridge seems out of place,” Harriott wrote in an April 17 email to Patterson. “I guess it is an improvement over no islands, but that is still an uncontrolled crossing point spanning over 36 feet of high-speed traffic. I expected some form of active signage will be needed or be requested (similar to Midnight Pass).”
FDOT staff have made the project’s plans available for public review, complying with state law.
Draft design plans are available for public review from April 15 through May 15, at the Fruitville Public Library at 100 Coburn Road in Sarasota. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
FDOT is also mailing information about the project to all property owners within 300 feet of Bee Ridge Road.
And residents will have an opportunity to review aerial photographs, discuss the project and provide comments to FDOT representatives during a town hall-style meeting May 1, at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Design plans will be available starting at 5 p.m., and the formal public hearing will begin at 6 p.m.
If you go:
FDOT public presentation on Bee Ridge Road pedestrian “refuge islands” — 5 p.m. May 1, Trinity United Methodist Church, 4150 S. Shade Ave., Sarasota.
Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected]