Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Sarasota prioritizes 10 transportation projects for decades ahead

The city projects, which include a redesign of Main Street, pedestrian and cyclist upgrades for Ringling Bridge and a new roundabout, have the potential to transform how residents get around Sarasota.

  • Sarasota
  • News
  • Share

What would the future of the city of Sarasota's transportation be if you had your wish?

At the Jan. 2 City Commission meeting, the city's transportation staff presented a wide range of projects in the form of the 2024 Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization draft transportation project priorities list, which included a transportation wish list of sorts for the city.

The MPO is the regional transportation planning entity for Sarasota and Manatee counties. Through interlocal agreements, it helps local governments coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Among the hundreds of funded, unfunded, and perhaps pie-in-the-sky projects on the city's and MPO's wish list were 10 priorities for the city’s Sarasota In Motion master plan, a package of local projects — although not scheduled — that have been identified by staff and endorsed by commissioners.

That plan was adopted by the City Commission in June 2020. Here are the top 10 priorities identified. The project horizon for the list is 2045. 

There's no set time frame for these projects, although some like the Boulevard of the Arts and Shade Street complete streets are in planning phases. The majority of these 10 projects are just in discussion, but their potential impact once funded and approved would have the potential to transform how residents get around the city. 

1. Expand city trail network

Project includes walking and biking connections throughout the city. Treatments may include off-road trails, protected bike lanes, wayfinding signage, sidewalk widening and implementation of multimodal connections plan.

Trail expansions are intended to create greater multi-modal connectivity options.
Courtesy image
  • Trail connections to the bay, including Oak Street, Ringling Boulevard bikeway, Alderman Trail and Lukewood Park Trail.
  • Connecting neighborhoods to Legacy Trail.
  • Enhance connections from north Sarasota neighborhoods to The Bay park Bobby Jones Golf Club Park to Legacy Trail.

2. East-West corridors

Streetscape improvements on:

  • 10th Street from waterfront to Orange Avenue.
  • 12th Street from Orange Avenue to Tuttle Avenue.
  • 17th Street from Orange Avenue to city limits.
A rendering of the 10th Street Complete Street concept.
Courtesy image

Potential treatments may include wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, on-street parking, landscaping, decorative lighting, street furniture, ADA improvements, roundabouts, undergrounding of utilities and multi-use trails.

3. North Legacy Trail

The preferred route for the extension of Legacy Trail from Payne Park to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
Courtesy image
  • Continue Legacy Trail through the city center from Payne Park and Fruitville Road north to the county limit with further connection into Manatee County.
  • Rails with Trails project.
  • Preserve rail line for potential future light-rail connection between the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and downtown Sarasota.

4. Shade Avenue complete street

Shade Avenue from Fruitville Road to the south city limit. Potential improvements may include adding bike lanes, wider sidewalks, lighting, drainage, multi-use pathway, undergrounding of utilities and landscaping enhancements.

5. Core route transit improvements

Transit circulators to connect:

  • New College and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
  • St. Armands trolley route
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital
  • Downtown
A map of the core public transit route between downtown and New College and SRQ, downtown and Lido Key and south of downtown.
Courtesy image

Potential features may include trolleys or other large, medium or small vehicles; covered stations; transit vehicle priority; pedestrian crossings; pedestrian access; and multimodal/micromobility hubs at key destinations. Also provide high-frequency service with extended hours of operation.

6. Cocoanut Avenue and Second Street roundabout

A conceptual drawing of a roundabout at Cocoanut Avenue and Second Street.
Courtesy image

Install a new roundabout at the intersection of Cocoanut Avenue and Second Street to improve vehicle flow and pedestrian safety. Potential improvements may include:

  • Landscaped center islands.
  • Public art.
  • Reduced pedestrian crossing distances.
  • Traffic calming.

7. Fruitville Road complete street

Fruitville Road from U.S. 41 to U.S. 301. Potential improvements may include:

  • ADA Improvements.
  • Widen sidewalks.
  • Narrow lane width for safer sidewalks.
  • Improve crossings at Cocoanut, Lemon, Central, and Orange with leading pedestrian intervals at traffic signals.
  • High-visibility pedestrian crosswalk markings.
  • Bike detection at traffic signals.
  • Enhanced bus stops.
  • Develop parallel bikeways along Second Street and Fourth Street.

8. Redesign Main Street

Main Street from U.S. 41 to U.S. 301. Potential treatments may include:

  • Conversion from angled to parallel parking.
  • Widening sidewalks.
  • Landscaping enhancements.
  • Consider pedestrian mall at certain times and locations.

9. Ringling Causeway and Coon Key bridges

From U.S. 41 to Washington Drive. State Road 789 corridor bridges enhanced with dedicated lanes for walking, biking and transit vehicles

10. Boulevard of the Arts complete street

Rendering of the Boulevard of the Arts complete street concept.
Courtesy image

From Waterfront to Orange Avenue, proposed improvements may include:

  • Intersection improvements.
  • Streetscape improvements.
  • Reduced pedestrian crossing distance.
  • Wider sidewalks.
  • Separated bike lanes.
  • Undergrounding of utilities.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Latest News