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Downtown groups won't fully endorse roundabouts

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  • | 5:00 a.m. March 10, 2010
  • Sarasota
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The city continued this week hitting up downtown groups for support of the bayfront connectivity plan and the building of two test roundabouts on U.S. 41.

Once again, only qualified support was offered.

Steve Stancel, the city’s connectivity project manager, today presented the plan to the Downtown Sarasota Alliance. He asked the group to officially support the overall plan that calls for six roundabouts on U.S. 41 from 14th Street to Orange Avenue, wider medians and multi-use trails and to support the construction of the first two roundabouts at 14th Street and 10th Street.

The City Commission unanimously chose those two intersections first so drivers can get a feel for roundabouts and how they work, before the city begins constructing the rest of the project.

But the DSA board said it would only support the connectivity plan if the city made sure that other projects it supports, such as bus rapid transit and a downtown circulator system, be integrated into the plan.

Last week, Stancel made the same presentation to the Downtown Improvement District, but its board did not approve a motion support the roundabouts at 10th Street and 14th Street.

Two DID board members, Larry Fineberg and Andrew Foley, felt the city could better use the $5.9 million it is spending on those two roundabouts by spending it on a roundabout closer to downtown, such as at Main Street.

Tuesday, Rod Warner, the connectivity chairman of The City Alliance, made his own presentation to the DID, explaining how roundabouts work best when they are in a series. Warner said putting one at Main Street, where there are stoplights at Ringling Boulevard and Gulf Stream Avenue, would defeat the purpose of a roundabout, which is smoother traffic flow.

However, the DID board was not convinced and after taking another vote, maintained its position that roundabouts at 10th Street and 14th Street should not be the priority.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].


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