Entering 2014, Sarasota seeks to take steps toward reshaping its roadways, with continued efforts to install roundabouts and the implementation of an ongoing mobility study both on the city’s agenda.
The biggest changes outlined in the mobility study thus far would shift how the city measures how new developments impact roadways — and how fees from those developments can be used to make street improvements.
The study recommends individual mobility districts that would set standards for the maximum allowable traffic generated by new projects. Different regulations would govern downtown, mixed-use corridors and single-use neighborhoods.
As it stands, money from roadway impact fees from new developments can only be used for street improvements. The mobility study suggests allowing for multimodal transportation improvements.
“Some resources could be used for bike improvements, bus shelters or intersection improvements,” City Engineer Alex DavisShaw said.
In the spring, the city will start holding public hearings to gain feedback on the mobility study before making any changes.
Work on a roundabout at Main Street and Orange Avenue is scheduled to begin in June, with a projected six-month construction timeline. This year, however, more attention may be paid to future projects. The city has already secured funding for roundabouts on U.S. 41 at 10th and 14th streets, but, now, it’s aiming to accelerate the construction timeline.
The city has reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to move up the completion date of that project. That’s because, as it stands, construction is scheduled to be ongoing during September 2017, when Sarasota County will host the World Rowing Championships.
Rod Warner, founder of the group U.S. 41 Momentum, is pushing for forward progress on roundabouts. In addition to quicker action on proposed roundabouts downtown and along U.S. 41, his priorities also include establishing iconic artwork at the roundabout centers.
“There are lots of things that I know will happen sooner or later, but the sooner the better,” Warner said.
Overview: The continued push for roundabouts in Sarasota and the implementation of a multiyear mobility study has traffic management at the forefront of the city’s 2014 plans.
Players: City Commission, City Engineer Alex DavisShaw, Rod Warner and U.S. 41 Momentum
Timeline: Public hearings regarding the mobility study are scheduled for the spring. Construction on a roundabout at Main Street and Orange Avenue is scheduled for June.
Contact David Conway at [email protected]