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Summer improvements coming to Downtown and North Sarasota | Business

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Summer improvements coming to Downtown and North Sarasota
Summer improvements coming to Downtown and North Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida -- The City of Sarasota is embarking on two significant improvement projects this summer which are expected to improve walkability downtown, improve landscaping and create a more user friendly travel experience.  One project will occur downtown and the other in North Sarasota in the Bayou Oaks neighborhood.  Both projects will start Monday, July 8, and both are expected to temporarily impact motorists and pedestrians during the construction period.  Upon completion, though, the City anticipates these tandem projects will improve the overall quality of life in Sarasota.

Downtown Enhancements

Enhancements in downtown Sarasota were originally identified more than a decade ago in the City’s Downtown Master Plan 2020.  Then, in 2011, creating a more vibrant downtown became a high priority as a result of a seminar-conference meeting and a review of the 2020 Plan.  The City is excited to collaborate with the Downtown Improvement District to make these long awaited improvements a reality.

Main Street is the primary focus of the project with $1.8 million in improvements at various locations stretching from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points and up to Goodrich Avenue.  Enhancements will include:  installing brick paver sidewalks from Gulfstream Avenue to the Five Points roundabout, creating wider sidewalks with parallel parking on the north side of Main Street from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points (angled parking will remain on the south side of the street), planting additional landscaping, replacing pedestrian light poles, installing brick pavers at selected crosswalks, and adding trash receptacles, and benches.  When finished the urban commercial district will be even more attractive.  On July 15, the City Commission will consider an additional enhancement to the project:  the installation of brick pavers at the four crosswalks at the Main-Palm intersection.  If approved, the intersection will be temporarily closed for approximately three weeks.

As directed by the City Commission, a majority of the work will be completed during the summer, with substantial completion expected by Veterans Day.  The City is asking for the public’s patience throughout the summer and early fall during completion of these public improvements.  In the end, the slight inconvenience will be worth it as a more livable, visitor friendly city is created.  To ensure minimal impact to merchants, shoppers and the general public, City staff and the contractor are coordinating very closely.  The City’s many restaurants, cafes and shops will remain open during this time, so please continue to patronize them.

Old Bradenton Road Improvements 

For years, the City and residents in the Bayou Oaks neighborhood in North Sarasota have wanted to calm traffic along Old Bradenton Road, the main arterial road which bisects their neighborhood from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way to University Parkway.  Now, it’s about to happen, but it will be a complex project.

Not only will Old Bradenton Road be reconfigured into a two-lane divided roadway with a five-foot raised median, landscaping and drip irrigation, roundabouts will be constructed at Myrtle Avenue as well as 47th Street.  The project will be pedestrian and bicycle friendly with sidewalks and bicycle lanes added on both sides of the road.  The bicycle lanes will be green in color, a new concept in bicycle safety and the first of its kind in Sarasota.  Tree mitigation is planned along the right-of-way and will be in accordance with the City’s tree ordinance.  Also, four SCAT bus shelters will be added along Old Bradenton Road, which is a major route for SCAT.

The complex nature of this project revolves around the relocation of a multitude of utilities along the entire path.  City of Sarasota water and sewage lines will be moved as well as Verizon, Comcast and TECO Peoples Gas lines.  City staff has met with all the parties involved and the expectation is for each utility company to have a coordinated plan and work closely with the other utilities to ensure the successful relocation of all these service lines.  Timing and communication will be essential.  Even with the best coordination, though, unexpected events can occur and residents are asked to be patient during this project which is expected to be completed in January 2014.  While Old Bradenton Road will remain open during construction, non-local drivers are strongly encouraged to use alternate routes.

City staff continues to work with the neighborhood association in the desire to officially rename the entire length of the roadway to “Old Bradenton Road”. The association completed the signature requirements and the request will be presented to the Commission in July. After successful completion of the entire process, the new name will appear on all street name signs as part of the project.

Enduring construction can be a challenge which is the reason for advance coordination to ensure any disruptions are kept to a minimum.  Regular updates concerning both projects via the City’s website, direct emails, traditional news media and social media will be provided to the public.  Please sign up to receive email updates by visiting www.SarasotaGov.com and follow the progress on Twitter @CityofSarasota as Sarasota is being made an even more desirable and livable community.