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Archives for October 24, 2016

Sunday Homes: Privacy and peace – Corpus Christi Caller


Readers react to ideas for redesigning stretch of U.S. 41 – Sarasota Herald

U.S. 41 in the vicinity of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, New College of Florida and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee serves as a gateway into Sarasota and Manatee counties — a first impression for many tourists and business travelers.

It also serves as a vital thoroughfare for local cross-county traffic on a daily basis.

The Florida Department of Transportation is pitching ideas for how to improve safety and appearances on a two-mile stretch of that highway from University Parkway in Sarasota to Tallevast Road in Manatee County.

Those ideas include converting the four-way, signalized intersections at University Parkway, College Drive and Braden Avenue into roundabouts. An ongoing study also calls for narrowing the wider section of the road in Manatee from three lanes in each direction with a center turn lane to two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes and a median with possible landscaping (and including replacement bike lanes and sidewalks).

The Herald-Tribune asked readers what they think of the potential $33 million project. They delivered mixed reactions.

“I live in downtown Sarasota and fairly regularly travel this route north into Bradenton,” Kristina Skepton wrote. “I am pleased there is talk of improving this stretch of road. I am not sure it’s the most pressing need as far as traffic-thoroughfares but it is a good idea. Interested in seeing a drawn plan but, for now, it sounds like a good start.”

“This is one of the most hare-brained proposals I’ve heard of lately,” G. David Thayer stated. “…When vehicles come up U.S. 41 from the downtown Sarasota area and traffic is heavy, it is like a breath of fresh air when they enter the six-lane portion of the road. Suddenly, there is room for all the vehicles and congested traffic quickly smooths out.”

Thayer noted that the FDOT has rejected roundabouts at intersections with less traffic than those on U.S. 41. “Somehow, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing here.”

“No more roundabouts!” Carol and Mike Dorst wrote. “And how can taking away lanes help traffic flow?”

“As a retired driving instructor, I must say that the roundabouts are a terrible idea,” Sandy Levitan said. “I’ve seen seasoned drivers confused by them. Additionally, the juncture of U.S. 41 and University Parkway has The Ringling, the Asolo Theater and the airport nearby, attracting thousands of visitors unfamiliar with the area. A roundabout there would create epic safety hazards.”

“The entrance to our town from the airport has always been a needy project,” Carole Nikla wrote. “Any improvement is welcome and long overdue.”

Nikla hopes the project motivates the Ringling Museum complex to work on beautifying its entrance, which she thinks could use statues and better landscaping.

“It may be time to look at all our properties along this corridor,” Nikla added. “If they all cooperate, perhaps Sarasota will finally have the beautiful north gateway it deserves.”

“The plan to decrease the north-south lanes north of University Parkway sounds like a good idea,” Marlene Lawrence contributed. “There really is no need for six lanes of traffic in that area. However, the roundabout for University and 41 intersection is not a good idea. There is far too much traffic at that intersection to have people circling a roundabout.”

“Sometimes I think Florida only exists to give Dave Barry material for his books,” Steve Warren stated. He regards the proposed road redesign as “a perfect example of why ‘Florida logic’ is an oxymoron.”

He noted that the FDOT says narrowing the highway may cause some drivers to use other routes, such as 15th Street and U.S. 301.

“Yes, we’ll make the road more appealing so businesses will want to locate there. Then we’ll get their potential customers to take another route. That sounds like trying to encourage new businesses to open in a town that’s about to be bypassed by an interstate highway.”

Warren, too, disliked the idea of a roundabout at University Parkway — saying it would be especially confusing for tourists and part-time residents.

Regarding the roundabout at University, James Duffy asked: “Can I have dibs on the southeast corner for grandstand and concession for inevitable circus?”

Jean Richards regards narrowing the highway as “absolutely ludicrous” and “attractive landscaping and wider sidewalks” as unnecessary. “Who is going to be walking down that section of the road? Especially with the heat and humidity in Florida. Everyone is driving in their air-conditioned cars. Maybe they should stop all of this building development. That’s one way of getting cars off the road, not adding more.”

Jacqueline Frascella opposes narrowing the highway and putting a roundabout at University. “Roundabouts are a disaster,” Frascella wrote. “I live at the east end of Bee Ridge Road. We used to have a four-way stop sign. It worked. Just recently, a roundabout was put in place. I’ve been almost hit twice.”

“Something positive needs to be done,” Norm Luppino said of the appearance of U.S. 41. “It’s a very unflattering entranceway into Manatee County.”

“Insane!” Walter Herz wrote. “Why fix a road that works perfectly well now? … Don’t forget the airport traffic. Passengers getting off a plane being forced to contend with a roundabout as their first impression of Sarasota… How about using the $33 million for developing another bridge to Longboat Key?”

“Safety and effectiveness of two-lane roundabouts is questionable and the amount of traffic passing through these intersections is too heavy,” Suzy Hagglund contributed.

“I feel as if $33 million is an exorbitant amount for a two-mile stretch of road,” Claire Boyd stated. “…Do we need this when so many other roads are in more need of improvements?”

Instead of roundabouts, Dave Potenza believes “a much better solution would be to install sensors in the pavement that would speed up and coordinate the timing of the lights at all these intersections.”

“Bicycle-Pedestrian Advocates enthusiastically endorses FDOT’s idea to reconstruct U.S. 41 from University Parkway to Tallevast Road by installing roundabouts… along with installing bike lanes and sidewalks,” Mike Lasche, the organization’s executive director, contributed. “We also agree with the idea of narrowing the highway from three lanes in each direction to two.”

When highways are expanded from two lanes to three, “there is a noticeable increase in riskier behavior as aggressive drivers use higher speeds and all three lanes to get way ahead,” Lasche noted.

“Every day I travel south on 41 and head east on University to work,” Bayshore Gardens resident Britney Guertin wrote. “Unless there is an overwhelming amount of crash statistics to support this project, these changes feel completely unnecessary. I understand wanting to ‘beautify’ the area as it’s often the first impression for folks arriving to the area and leaving SRQ airport but traffic flow is great and surely we can find a much better (and resourceful) way to allocate the approximate $33 million needed.”

“Roundabouts for a small amount of traffic is fine but when you get the amount of traffic that 41 has during rush hour, this is going to cause more congestion and accidents,” William Smith predicted.

“The only point I would like to bring up is the problem of turning south on 41 when you approach from the east on University,” Anne McFarlane noted. “During the season, in the late afternoon, I have sat there as long as 20 minutes to make that turn.”

McFarlane added that “single-lane roundabouts are easy to navigate” but, with two-lane roundabouts, “efficiency goes downhill.”

“Even with the increased growth in this county, I have never seen any consistent traffic congestion on the Route 41 area in question,” Sarasota area resident Leo Latini wrote. “…It would be better to spend these anticipated funds on the serious homeless situation we have in Sarasota-Manatee counties.”

 

Article source: http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20161023/readers-react-to-ideas-for-redesigning-stretch-of-us-41