In the three years The Legacy Trail has been open, Margaret Brading, Palmer Ranch Communities Coalition president and trail volunteer, said she has seen too many close calls with bicyclists and cars where the trail intersects with Central Sarasota Parkway.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she said.
Brading is working with the county and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to change the configuration of that intersection.
Stop signs instruct bicyclists to stop before entering the intersection. There are also white crosswalk stripes, which in many places serve as an indicator for cars to stop when pedestrians are near an intersection.
Brading believes that is too confusing.
“It can’t be both cars and people stopping,” she said.
When Brading learned the county discussed placing a stoplight at the intersection to stop vehicle traffic on Central Sarasota Parkway, she came up with an alternate plan.
She would like to remove the painted stripe on the roadway to clearly give vehicles the right of way; install signs that tell drivers they have the right of way; and place signs on the trail that say: “Stop, look and listen.”
“There will be no more bikes shooting across the road without looking,” said Brading.
Another of her goals is to prevent a string of traffic lights on Central Sarasota Parkway.
Currently, the only stoplights are at U.S. 41 and McIntosh Road, but one will be put up soon at Potter Park Drive, where the new Lowe’s store is being built.
Because of the additional car and truck traffic Lowe’s is expected to generate, Brading believes it’s only a matter of time before another light is installed at Honore Avenue.
Thai Tran, the county’s mobility program manager, said the county is relying on Palmer Ranch officials to determine when the Honore Avenue intersection is busy enough for a light, and so far they have not asked for one.
The county is considering other alternatives at The Legacy Trail crossing that do not involve a traffic light, but Tran said those ideas are not yet ready for release to the public.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].