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Commute increases one minute

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  • | 4:00 a.m. June 17, 2009
  • Longboat Key
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Additional traffic findings from the city of Sarasota’s bayfront connectivity proposal show that Longboaters traveling from Town Hall to Osprey Avenue will see a one-minute increase in their average 18-minute travel time if roundabouts are constructed on U.S. 41.

City of Sarasota Chief Planner Steve Stancel and a consulting associate presented the findings Tuesday, June 16, at a city of Sarasota workshop.

The extra minute delay, according to the traffic figures, occurs during rush-hour, peak-traffic times.

However, a Longboater heading back to the island from Osprey Avenue, the study shows, will not see an increase in the average commuter time of 18 minutes.

Sarasota Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner questioned why a barrier-island resident would see a minute jump heading off the island.

The answer?

The proposal calls for the reduction in speed limit from 45 mph to 30 mph.

Despite the delay in traffic time heading south for Longboaters, another slide in the presentation showed that, although travel time from point A to point B will take a minute longer for Longboaters, there will be less of a delay because motorists will not be stopped at a signalized intersection.

The difference in travel time and delay confused some members of the commission.

Despite the increase in travel time, Sarasota Mayor Richard Clapp said the modifications to U.S. 41 “don’t have a significant impact” on commuters from the barrier islands.

It was also announced at the meeting that the proposal, which includes five roundabouts on U.S. 41, would cost an estimated $35 million.

Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann was dismayed to learn that the Tuesday workshop did not include the opportunity for public input.

“The structure of the charettes and subsequent meetings have not included a chance for the public to address their concerns or express public input,” Siekmann said.

The Florida Department of Transportation, which has supported signalization instead of roundabouts near the bayfront, will make the final decision if the City Commission adopts the plan and approves plans for the project later this year.


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