SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – There are many bright sides to living in Sarasota including beaches, a booming music scene and thriving art culture. But many confess the main dark side to living there are traffic issues.
City of Sarasota planners said transportation changes are in the works.
During “season” – March through April – an extra million people call the Sarasota area home. One of the most congested areas is St. Armands Circle. A master plan is in the works to cut down on the number of cars on the road.
Peggy Pascal has lived in Sarasota for years.
“I love living here because you have tons of great restaurants within walking distance! But traffic is really horrendous,” she said.
Sarasota snowbird Leslie Laven agrees.
“Traffic is definitely getting worse, a lot worse,” she told us.
Sarasota planners say the best things you can do to help ease traffic are carpool and check traffic before leaving your house.
Jennifer Provot lives on the mainland and works at the Columbia restaurant on St. Armands.
“When we come off the bridge it just gets back up. You can see it. It takes me 15 minutes to get to work and about 45 minutes to get home,” she said. “It takes 30 minutes on my way home just to get off the bridge!”
Transportation planners with Sarasota are on the third phase of its master transportation plan called “Sarasota in Motion.” Sarasota Chief Transportation Planner Colleen McGue says the city is working on many projects now and have more in the works for the future.
“They’re putting concrete as we speak on the Coon Key, a multi-use recreational trail,” she said.
City planners are working on biking, walking and jogging trails with other plans in the works too.
“We’re doing a water feasibility study to see where we can put in water taxi docks,” said McGue.
“That would be amazing, water taxis would be wonderful!” added Laven.
Additional changes being considered by city planners are streetscape projects adding lighting and landscaping, shaded sidewalks with structures and trees, carpooling options like Commute Connectors and adding crossing guards to St. Armands Circle.
“The crossing guards would help move traffic efficiently and make sure pedestrians are safe during peak season from March to the end of April.”
It’s a plan between the two crossings strategically placed entering and exiting St. Armands Circle.
Some locals we spoke with are concerned the crossing guards will slow down traffic and cause more congestion but many are willing to give it a try. The traffic guard test study will take place certain days and times from mid-March to mid-April.
Two public open houses will take place on March 10. At these meetings, you can give your opinion on the current master plan, Sarasota in Motion.
The morning session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will take place at the Bayfront Community Center located at 803 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The evening session will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. That address is 1845 34th Street in Sarasota.
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