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Proposed Circle traffic solution: Crossing guards

St. Armands is circling back to a nearly 4-year-old plan to station crossing guards throughout the shopping district to mitigate traffic problems.

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  • | 11:00 a.m. April 1, 2015
  • Longboat Key
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To address ongoing traffic issues, St. Armands Circle stakeholders are willing to consider all options available to them  — including a recently uncovered 2011 plan to station crossing guards in the area.

At the March 17 St. Armands Business Improvement District meeting, St. Armands Circle Association Executive Director Diana Corrigan shared a document from the Florida Department of Transportation, designed to address issues caused by pedestrians crossing along the Circle.

According to the September 2011 document, business owners in the area have stated that pedestrians bring traffic to a halt during the height of season. As a result, FDOT suggested stationing eight pedestrian managers around the Circle. Those individuals would be charged with building up a mass of pedestrians at each intersection, and then allowing them to continue through the crosswalks at regular intervals to create a steadier traffic pattern.

Recent discussions about implementing various traffic mitigation efforts led to the discovery of the FDOT document. Although people on the Circle are eager to cut down on congestion, at least one major question remains: Who will pay for the pedestrian managers?

According to the FDOT document, that responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the Circle Association. But Corrigan believes the traffic is a bigger picture issue that larger organizations should address.

“The problem is administering the funding,” Corrigan said. “I think that’s something that FDOT, the city and county should be handling.”

Depending on the months of operation and the source of the pedestrian managers, the cost estimates FDOT provided for eight pedestrian managers fall between $10,240 and $40,960 per year. More expensive options call for off-duty police officers to serve as crossing guards from January through May; less expensive options would use private guards and run from February through April.

In addition to the conversation about funding the pedestrian managers, there are also questions about where the guards would be placed. Corrigan said that two other hotspots for pedestrian-vehicle conflict — Madison Drive and Boulevard of the Presidents, and Adams Drive and John Ringling Boulevard — could be folded into the plan.

Although questions remain, and talks are in formative stages, both Circle stakeholders and FDOT representatives are pushing forward, eager to find relief for crowded roadways in the area.



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