Sarasota News Leader

01/31/2014

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firmer when a safety consideration is involved, she added. Commission Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson, who seconded Patterson's Jan. 28 motion, made it plain she is "not anti round- about." In fact, Robinson pointed out, "I love the roundabout near my house at Jacaranda [Boulevard in Venice]. I go through it just about daily." (The Venice project was com- pleted in 2011.) Regarding the Siesta proposal, Robinson con- tinued, "I have severe doubts as to its working when traffic stops, and traffic stops there a lot," especially in February, March and April. Robinson added that it often takes her 30 to 45 minutes to get off the island when she starts to leave the key about 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. (She has children at The Out-of- Door Academy.) "[The roundabout will] be horrible during sea- son, in my opinion," she told her colleagues, "[though] I'm hoping I'm wrong." "I wouldn't rebut you," Patterson responded, "because I just don't know." One question that has continued to bother her, Patterson noted, is the FDOT assertion that the roundabout is needed to make it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross at the Beach Road/Midnight Pass Road intersection, which is near Siesta Public Beach. "When there's not a huge traffic jam," Patterson said, "apparently, people go [through that intersection] pretty fast" when they make a right-hand turn onto the segment of Midnight Pass Road that leads to the northern part of the island. However, she indicated it had been pointed out to her that when FDOT installed the six new pedestrian crossings on Midnight Pass Road in the fall of 2012, one of them was built close to that intersection. That is another rea- son traffic tends to back up there, especially during high season. (A crosswalk is located near the entrance to the Gulf & Bay Club, at 5730 Midnight Pass Road, and the Wells Fargo Bank, at 5810 Midnight Pass Road. It is a short distance east of the intersection.) Nonetheless, Patterson said, "It seems like there would be safer and cheaper solutions [than the roundabout]." "Like the flashing lights" at those new Midnight Pass Road crosswalks, Robinson pointed out, referring to the "wig-wag" lights people acti- vate when they want to walk from one side of that stretch of road to the other. Patterson suggested that the presentation of aerial views of the intersection during an FDOT public meeting, as well as illustrations of the potential roundabout design, might alleviate Siesta residents' concerns. After she finished her comments, Patterson drew a few chuckles when she asked Hines whether the board had voted on her motion. It had not at that point, he replied, adding, however, that he had written down her inten- tions. "I got my note: 'Write a letter.'" Then when Hines called for the vote, no one dissented. % Sarasota News Leader January 31, 2014 Page 50

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