Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Residents push for change to Gulfstream roundabout

Although construction has already begun, public input could lead the city to alter plans for a major U.S. 41 intersection.

  • By
  • | 9:00 a.m. October 27, 2021
  • Sarasota
  • News
  • Share

A roundabout at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue won’t open until next fall, but Linda Haller Sloan, Toni Chagnon and Alan Kasow are concerned about drivers’ ability to navigate the reconfigured intersection.

In May, Sloan, Chagnon and Kasow sent an email to city staff outlining their concern about the design of the roundabout, which is a Florida Department of Transportation project. Specifically, the trio took issue with a proposed exit on the east end of the roundabout, allowing motorists to travel onto Gulfstream Avenue. The email argued the roundabout would be safer and more efficient without that exit.

On Monday, Nov. 1, the City Commission is scheduled to discuss options for changing the configuration of the Gulfstream roundabout. 

The original email to the city makes a case for eliminating the eastern exit, but the thrust of the argument is that the access point is both unnecessary and likely to create problems. Sloan, Chagnon and Kasow wrote that the multi-lane roundabout is already more complex than most in the city, and eliminating the single lane of access to Gulfstream east of U.S. 41 would simplify the experience for drivers. They said the exit could cause traffic backups for northbound traffic if it’s heavily used, and it could be a needless appendage if motorists don’t use the exit.

The trio, all residents of the Marina Tower condominium near the U.S. 41-Gulfstream intersection, suggested the land could be better used for other purposes.

“In sum, the city has a chance to simplify the roundabout and gain substantial public safety benefits,” Sloan, Chagnon and Kasow said in the email.

Even if a majority of the commission expresses interest in revising the design at Monday’s meeting, it could take months before any changes are finalized. City staff is asking the commission for authorization to hold a public meeting in early 2022 to gather community input on the prospect of adjusting plans for the roundabout. In addition to the potential elimination of the eastern exit, staff would also gather input on a revision that would turn eastern Gulfstream into not just an exit, but an entry point for the roundabout as well, allowing drivers headed west to access U.S. 41.

​​During a December public meeting, FDOT staff said adding an entry point into the roundabout at Gulfstream would significantly affect traffic at the intersection.

City staff said the city would have to bear responsibility for funding, designing, permitting and building out any changes to the existing plans for the roundabout, already under construction.

Trolley update

At Monday’s meeting, the commission will vote on a three-year, $4.4 million dollar contract for a trolley service between downtown Sarasota and Lido Key.

The city is launching the trolley route in part as a response to the construction of the Gulfstream roundabout, using the service to mitigate some of the project’s effects on traffic. FDOT provided a $1.5 million grant over three years for a transit program, with the city bearing the rest of the expense in partnership with downtown and St. Armands business improvement districts.

As proposed, the trolley would run from 2200 Main Street to South Lido Beach, with service available from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. If the commission approves the agreement, the service would begin within 30 days of contract execution.

The proposed vendor for the contract is CPR Medical Transport LLC, the same company that operates the Siesta Key Breeze trolley service. CPR Medical Transport was the lone respondent to the city’s request for proposals.



Related Articles