FDOT cites citizen requests and its own traffic analysis in a letter to the County Commission
The speed limit on Clark Road from Interstate 75 to about 2,000 feet east of Proctor Road will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has notified Sarasota County staff.
The change will extend the stretch with an existing 45-mph speed limit to encompass just under 7 miles, an FDOT memo says.
The erection of new signage is “anticipated to occur sometime within the next month,” Carolyn Eastwood, the county’s transportation manager, wrote in a June 7 email to Chief County Engineer Isaac Brownman.
A June 8 letter to the County Commission from Ryan Keith Slater, an engineer with FDOT’s Traffic Services Program, indicated the speed limit reduction would come “no sooner than 14 days from the date of this notice,” in accord with a Florida State Statute.
Additionally, Eastwood noted in her email, “FDOT had a meeting with residents from the Red Hawk subdivision to review [its] plans for roundabouts at Clark/Proctor as well as Clark/Bee Ridge Extension.”
State transportation staff planned a session with residents of the Serenoa subdivision on June 8, she added, “and will continue to not only discuss the roundabouts but the upcoming speed limit reduction in their area.”
A June 8 memo from Slater to L.K. Nandam, the District One operations engineer who oversees Sarasota County matters for the department, explains that the Traffic Operations Office had received “several requests from concerned citizens asking for a speed limit reduction on State Road 72/Clark Road in the vicinity of the intersection with Ibis Street because of the park and school bus stop in this area.”
The park he referenced is Twin Lakes Park, which is owned by Sarasota County. It is located at 6700 Clark Road.
The memo explains that that section of Clark Road “varies from a two-lane undivided highway to a six-lane divided highway.” It adds that the 2015 annual average daily traffic count on the road segment at the focus of the requests ranged from 1,700 to 44,000.
Further, the memo showed observed speeds on the road segment ranging from 45 mph to 60 mph. The latter speed was recorded on a segment of Clark Road from Milepost 21.813 to Milepost 30.591 (from 4.55 miles west of Sidell Road to the DeSoto County line), the memo noted, which encompasses 8.778 miles; the speed limit on that segment is posted at 60 mph, the memo added.
The documented speed on a stretch of less than 1 mile — from Milepost 5.333 to Milepost 6.304 — was 55 mph, the memo pointed out.
FDOT staff conducted the vehicle speed studies at five locations along Clark Road on Jan. 14, 2014, the memo notes. “Due to the level of roadside development and traffic volumes along this segment,” the memo continues, “there is a high potential of conflicts between vehicles.”
Officially, the FDOT memo says, the 45-mph speed limit will be in effect from Milepost 0.000 to Milepost 6.925, which is from State Road 45/U.S. 41 to 850 feet west of Churchill Downs Road.