‘Crossing guards’ expected to be back March 13 at two locations on St. Armands Circle

Goal is to make the shopping destination safer for pedestrians, Sarasota city manager says

A ‘pedestrian manager’ stands ready to help visitors and residents waiting to use a crosswalk on St. Armands Circle. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Just before mid-March, “crossing guards” will be back in place on St. Armands Circle, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin announced in his Feb. 7 newsletter.

“In response to a request from the merchants and stakeholders on St. Armands Circle and in an effort to make this popular attraction even safer for our residents and visitors,” Barwin wrote, city staff “is moving forward with employing ‘pedestrian managers’ … at two of the Circle’s busiest areas during peak days and times.”

Barwin noted that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) “first tested the concept in 2016” on St Armands.

The two locations chosen for the stationing of the pedestrian managers this year are as follows, Barwin noted: the John Ringling Boulevard approach to the Circle; and the area of North Boulevard of the Presidents where traffic proceeds toward Longboat Key.

A map shows the John Ringling Boulevard approach to St. Armands from the east, as well as the North Boulevard of the Presidents approach to Longboat Key. Image from Google Maps

The managers are expected to begin work on March 13, Barwin added, and they will be present Wednesday through Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., through Easter, Barwin added.

Easter is April 12.

“City staff worked closely with the Florida Department of Transportation to develop guidelines and best practices for these important positions, and with the Town of Longboat Key, which is sharing the cost with the City and FDOT,” Barwin explained.

“As we continue to see an influx in regional traffic, and visitors from all around the world are drawn to the outstanding shopping and dining options in St. Armands,” he added, “the pedestrian managers will help everyone continue to have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Circle.”