The US41Momentum Vision

The Sarasota US41 Multimodal Corridor as a grand boulevard from the Airport to the Bayfront and the Ringling Bridge, marketable as the US41 Boulevard linking to the Sarasota Bayfront and the Ringling Bridge­– an iconic continuum remarkably unlike any other City in the USA. 

A US41 Multimodal Corridor through Sarasota with strategically located modern roundabouts:

  • Enhancing the appearance of the roadway and the experience of all users.
  • Reconnecting the Bayfront to Downtown and all of Sarasota.
  • Improving safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Displaying iconic sculptures by Sarasota artists.
  • Encouraging economic development on the North Trail.
  • Joining seamlessly with the downtown mobility network.

To realize the US41Momentum Vision by

  • Compressing FDOT execution calendar by years.
  • Public/Private advance funding.
  • Community Support pressing elected and staff officials.

Sarasota Herald Tribune Guest Column, July 23, 2014:                                                           A Grizzled Old Traffic Engineer Once Said

I heard a grizzled old traffic engineer say a modern roundabout is “the greatest intersection management advance by man since the Stone Age, and it’s done with Stone Age material.” His remark sprung to mind during last week’s FDOT’s final design event for the first modern roundabouts on Sarasota’s US41 at 10th and 14th streets.  Funded by fees and taxes collected for transportation, FDOT plans a 2017 build.  Our US41Momentum team is pressing the FDOT to “compress calendar” to December 2016, in time for beach-bound visitors to the 2017 International Rowing Championships. The FDOT website for it is www.US41roundabouts.com.

These two will be followed by others  along US41 from University Parkway through Orange. With 47th Street expected to be funded next year, there will be eleven modern roundabouts along this corridor reconfigured to be safer, aesthetic, and more mobile for all users, on wheels and on foot. The corridor plan is at www.US41Momentum.com

Some sunny day, you’ll drive from the Airport down North Trail and along the Bayfront without stopping to wait at red lights.  Not waiting, your travel time should be just as fast as it is today, likely quicker outside peak traffic. That’s happening along fifty-eight USA roundabout corridors (Golden, CO, San Diego, CA, Sonoma AZ, Malta NY, others, and Honore Ave). Sarasota’s US41 roundabout “grand boulevard” will stand out from those because ours is urban with two-lane roundabouts.  Even more exceptional with Sarasota as the cultural heart of Florida, the City Public Art Committee and the Sarasota County Arts and Cultural Alliance are planning iconic sculptures as the center verticals, lighted at night.  Nashville and others are at www.SarasotaConnectivity.com.   Picture US41 at University Parkway as the marker for the complex of New College, USF, Asolo, and Ringling Museum.

Letters last week to the Herald Tribune expressed angst about this – accident worry, people here will never get it, and so on.  So why would the City, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the FDOT do this?  Why would that aging engineer say “greatest since”? Stone Age material?  Just dirt, asphalt, and concrete. The design lets you-all run the intersection when you are there – efficient – user managed.  No one at a computer somewhere wrongly guessing how much red time you wait — inefficient – state managed. No taxpayer electric cost.  Ready for hurricane evacuation and emptying Van Wezel parking.

People make mistakes, but the accident is a fender bender not a head-on killer. Modern roundabouts – not older Siesta Drive @ Tuttle “traffic circles’ or Northeast “rotaries” – began appearing in the USA about fifteen years ago.

With time, in a roundabout way, unintended consequences appeared.  What began as a safer round thing in the road made what’s around it blossom:

  • Slowed drivers noticed businesses they sped by before, now with easier access. Merchants  speak at http://goo.gl/IXvvlB,
  • Green centers and landscaped approaches replaced cold empty speed-through signals. Together with less noise and less air pollution, nearby sidewalk cafes were comfortable (Café Americano at Five Points). Businesses put “roundabout” in their name (Roundabout Tavern, Gainesville, FL).  Patricks’ has a “roundabout burger.”
  • New money saved. Less braking/accelerating meant less car maintenance. Driver fuel savings were measured: single-lane roundabout saves 24,000 gallons of fuel a year (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety).
  • Less personal injury and property damage led to lower auto insurance rates in roundabout zip codes (Carmel IN).
  • Property values and city tax base rose near roundabouts (Carmel, IN).
  • Users were everyone. Without impeding traffic flow, slower speed and a mid-crossing “safe harbor” was safer for walkers, bikers, and the physically challenged, with enhanced transit stops. (Clearwater FL).
  • All this worked even better with roundabouts-in-series. The first rounder adjusted driver attitude to a slower speed that was sustained smoothly through the entire corridor.

The US41Momentum team (Ron McCollough, Roger Barry, David Morris, and I) have learned these “unintended” roundabout facets engendered a refreshed vitality and livability everywhere applied.  Knowing so, no matter how grizzled we become, our mission is to encourage the FDOT to apply some private sector velocity to the US41 Multimodal Corridor so you enjoy your “grand boulevard” sooner.

US41 Grand Blvd

Video of presentation to the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board,  August 22, 2013.

Roundabout plan approved for U.S. 41 in Sarasota Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Nov. 24,2014 The roundabouts, to be built in increments, also were designed to encourage more pedestrian traffic. The traffic right now is high-speed, said Rod Warner, with the citizens advocacy group US.41Momentum.

Sarasota News Leader, August 23, 2013 ..click  2013-08-23-Sarasota-News-Leader rbts   Sarasota NewsLeader -Roger Drouin  County Editor —Nothing would set Sarasota apart more than a corridor of large sculptures rising up from the center of roundabouts.  That is what roundabout advocates [US41Momentum] told the city’s Public Art Committee Aug. 14. Large highly visible art situated in 10 planned roundabouts on U.S. 41 — from the North Trail to downtown —would create a “sense. of place.” “There is an opportu­nity in the roundabout centers to display iconic sculptures, each be­coming a landmark. It would validate Sarasota as a cultural center on the coast of Florida.”                              The Public Art Committee liked the concept, voting 5-0 to convey its support to the City Commission and lead discussions in the effort to build momentum for the initiative. On Mon­day, Aug. 19, the city commissioners also sup­ported the project, moving forward the initial concept of center island sculptures as part of the planning process for the new, multi-lane roundabouts on U.S. 41. Sarasota Observer, August 29, 2013  click  Roundabout details gain momentum _Observer 8 29 13 a  … The John Ringling Causeway Bridge and the bayfront are two of the city’s most significant icons. Given that, he said, the road to those destinations should be vibrant — so impressive that it stands as an icon in its own right. Enter the roundabouts.  Or, more specifically, enter a 4-mile multimodal corridor along U.S. 41. The roundabouts, 11 in total, would punctuate the stretch from University Parkway to Orange Avenue, with statues in the center of each roundabout serving as iconic markers. “Sarasota would have these three icons: the Bayfront, the Ringling Bridge and this grand boulevard from the airport,” Warner said. “That would be our new view. Now that would make an impression.”

Sarasota Modern Roundabouts
Red – Existing roundabouts
Green – Funded/prioritized roundabouts
Blue – Proposed roundabouts

US41Momentum recommends a Pedestrian Crossing @ First Street<–> a user-activated pedestrian crossing to/from the Ritz Carlton with mid-crossing safe harbor.

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