Sarasota News Leader

02/28/2014

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Nothing is more unhealthful than getting run over by an automobile. Yet, it is a safe guess to say at least 100 people per day take that risk by jaywalking across School Avenue to get to the Health Department in down- town Sarasota. While there is a traffic light 100 feet away at Ringling Boulevard with a "push-to-cross" button, most patrons avoid it and almost lit- erally jump into traffic. There is a parking lot adjacent to the build- ing, but several of the spaces house Health Department vehicles, including a reserved spot for the department director. Often, a handicapped person or disabled veteran who might wish to park in the Health Department's lot must instead park across the street in the county lot or even further away in the Payne Park lot. In either case, the next step is jay- walking across School Avenue. So the County Health Department is asking that a crosswalk be installed, and plans are under way to do that. The first steps became visible this week, with orange flags and spray paint on the sidewalks to help engineers and workers understand the geometry involved. Two workers shared their plans, showing the design for the crosswalk directly across from the department's side door. The front door on Ringling Boulevard is seldom used. While the work will be on a city street, the city engineer said, "It's a county project." The cost is estimated to be $100,000, and work is scheduled for this summer, according to county spokesman Curt Preisser. Plans call for flashing lights on the roadway initiated by The Health Department entrance has no handicapped ramp, and people jaywalk with canes and crutches and baby strollers to get to it. Note the missing grass at the curb, worn away by jaywalkers. Photo by Stan Zimmerman A NEW CROSSWALK IN THE WORKS ON SCHOOL AVENUE HAS BEEN DESIGNED FOR HEALTH DEPARTMENT CLIENTS WILL PEOPLE USE IT? By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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