Sarasota’s Planning Conundrum

Okay, so this isn’t a “Transit Sarasota” blog, but I couldn’t resist sharing this tale with the greater Miami transit-minded public.

Yesterday, the Herald Tribune reported that Sarasota is still struggling to find a “solution” to the barrier US-41 creates to the city’s waterfront. In short, pedestrians find it difficult to cross the four lane road to reach what is actually a fairly nice waterfront.

Years ago, the planning firm that I work for suggested a “road diet” for this stretch of the road. That is to say, narrowing it from a four lane road to two lane, which would reduce automotive speeds and decrease the distance to the waterfront for pedestrians, thereby improving access for those not driving.

Well, the political and resident will was just not there to take on such a “radical” solution. Rather, the city had the following “sky plaza” drawn up to the tune of $7 million. This was supposed to be a potential solution.

Image courtesy of the Herald-Tribune.

Fortunately, it seems the City came to their senses and have put this ridiculous idea to bed. Nonetheless, they seem to be back at square one.

“What’s different this time is we are going into this understanding that somehow we have to slow the traffic on U.S. 41,” city chief planner Steven Stancel said.

“What is not on the table is reducing the number of traffic lanes,” he added.

So let me clarify. They don’t like the function of this thoroughfare and know that it is too auto-centric. But they refuse to take the necessary measures to solve the problem!

I say, good luck Sarasota.

1 Response to “Sarasota’s Planning Conundrum”

  1. 1 Joe Moraca

    Hey that’s my city you are making fun of ….. but of course I agree with you 100%. It’s a sad mess we have where small loud groups of citizens care more about saving 10 seconds driving somewhere than they do about making Sarasota that much better.

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