- March 21, 2022
Broadway Street traffic calming issues made their way in front of the Longboat Key Town Commission formally Monday afternoon.
However, this is not the first time commissioners have been asked to take a stance on the issue.
When the town’s Public Works department made commissioners aware of the completion of a study by consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates that recommended the town paint stripes on the street, resident alarms went off and commissioner inboxes were flooded with individuals urging them to not move forward with the suggestion.
The main issue residents appeared to have with the suggestion was that it seemed like the town had decided to move forward with striping.
Commissioners assured residents of Longbeach Village that no decision had been made and any recommendations would need to come before them first before any construction is carried out.
Speeding on the street has been a concern for years for residents, who have said the issue poses not only a risk to their safety, but also to the laid-back atmosphere that drew them to the neighborhood on the north end of the island in the first place.
As such, the issue was before the commission for the first time for formal discussion and additional resident input.
About 15 people were present for the traffic calming measures discussion, and some of them were members of the Broadway Traffic Calming Committee, which was formed by residents specifically to address speeding issues on the road.
Potential solutions included in the Kimley-Horn report are as follows:
Public Works Director Isaac Brownman revoked the department’s earlier suggestion of moving forward with shared lane markings in favor of pursuing either the mini roundabouts or installation of additional stop signs.
“While Public Works was interested in trying striping, it is acknowledged that it brings no physical, geometric change,” the staff presentation said.
Broadway Street had previously been striped.
Mini roundabouts were the preferred method of traffic calming for residents in the Village and along Broadway Street.
“What we are really looking for here is a long-term solution,” resident Madeline Stewart said. “We feel the mini circles in our environment are the best solution. … We would really like to see this happen quickly.”
Town staff classified the street as having unique attributes compared to other residential roads in the town because of the presence of restaurants at the start and end of the street.
“The presence of pedestrians and bicycles on Broadway in between commercial uses is a unique fixture,” Brownman said.
Building a mini roundabout could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 per circle, which raised the alarms of commissioners who were in favor of the roundabout.
Commissioners BJ Bishop, Debra Williams and Mike Haycock all spoke in favor of the construction of mini roundabouts, but were not in favor of the potential costs associated.
However, resident Pete Rowan, who has done extensive research on traffic calming strategies as another member of the Broadway Committee, assured commissioners that the committee’s desired strategy would likely not cost what was estimated by Kimely-Horn.
If the mini circles are built as the residents desire, the design would mix a traditional roundabout and a speed hump to elevate the circle and further motivate slower driving.
“Broadway is a town public thoroughfare,” Carla Rowan said. “It is not the small village street it once was.”
Commissioners came to consensus to direct staff to pursue mini circles as the chosen traffic calming strategy. Staff was also asked to work with Kimley-Horn to produce more accurate cost estimates and to identify funding sources.
Broadway Street has three intersections. Residents expressed they would like to see a roundabout at each one, if possible. Commissioners directed staff to look into constructing at least two of them.