Sometimes it is the small choices that can have the greatest impact to the traveling public. Case in point: The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in response to a pedestrian safety issue on U.S. 301 in Sarasota, has come up with a simple fix that will have a direct and immediate positive impact on general mobility safety in the corridor.
In a $582,000 project proposal that will also include a crosswalk, improved drainage, and updated curb ramps between Mound and Main streets, the Florida Department of Transportation is proposing a raised median for the section of U.S. 301 that runs from Fruitville Road and 10th Street.
According to ABC 7 Sarasota, Sarasota Police have reported 10 vehicle-pedestrian crashes there since 2014, five of which were last year, and three of which occurred at night. The cause is sourced to pedestrians having to cross the four lanes of traffic with no crosswalk, and often stopping in a middle turn lane that serves both directions of traffic.
The improvement project will feature wider areas across from a pair of popular convenience storefronts (7/11 and Popeye’s Chicken) for pedestrians to wait, and just one opening on 7th Street for turning, which Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director Dave Hutchinson said can ultimately improve traffic.
"It's one of our high crash locations, and it's a hot-spot for safety emphasis," said Hutchinson. "Eliminating some of those turning-movement conflicts can reduce crashes."
FDOT will held a public hearing about its plans this week, in order to generate awareness and feedback.