Sarasota News Leader

04/18/2014

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A dangerous stretch of Bee Ridge Road will soon be getting a makeover, thanks to the Florida Department of Transportation, which is planning to install a dozen pedestrian refuge islands in the middle of the busy east- west thoroughfare. Just how hazardous is Bee Ridge? Between 2008 and 2012, there were 61 crashes involv- ing pedestrians and bicyclists between U.S. 41 and Dunn Drive (near McIntosh Road), a fig- ure provided by Department of Transportation Communications Specialist Robin Stublen. Of those crashes, 59 resulted in injuries and two resulted in fatalities. And in one particularly dangerous 1.25-mile section of Bee Ridge, between 2010 and 2012, there were 32 bicycle and pedestrian crashes, 23 of which happened in daylight. "That sends up a red flag to us almost imme- diately," Stublen says. To combat the problem, the department has mapped the crashes and developed a plan to strategically install 12 so-called pedestrian ref- uge islands. Stublen says islands are typically up to 60 feet long and 5 feet wide, with open- ings for turn lanes in and out of businesses. The islands — which cost $11,000 each — won't be distributed evenly along the road; they will be concentrated around hot spots. For example, bus stops encourage pedestri- ans to cross the seven-lane road in dangerous A pedestrian refuge island under construction in Chicago. Photo by Josh K, via Flickr DANGEROUS STRETCH OF BEE RIDGE GETTING A MAKEOVER OFFERING REFUGE By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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