Members of the public encouraged to participate, with Sept. 14 the deadline
From May 21 through June 16, the 307 people who participated in a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) survey seeking comments about what the department’s top priorities should be regarding Fruitville Road (State Road 780) put safety first, according to results FDOT recently released.
Two hundred seventy of the participants focused on safety, while slightly fewer than 200 marked “Vehicle speed” as a priority for FDOT attention, and the third largest group focused on “Pedestrian access,” according to an FDOT bar graph.
The answer with the lowest ranking, that graph shows, was “Economic Development.”
The survey is just one facet of FDOT’s Fruitville Road Corridor Vision Plan involving the 6-mile segment between U.S. 301 and Coburn Road, which is just east of Interstate 75, an FDOT news release explains.
With “1” the highest rank in the survey, 117 people marked “Safety” No. 1. In comparison, the survey results note, 53 of the respondents marked “Vehicle speed” No. 1, while another 47 gave that answer a”2.”
In contrast, 14 people gave “Maintenance” a No. 1 rank, and only 16 marked “Economic Development as No. 1.
“Economic Development” won the lowest ranking of the eight priorities listed in the survey, the data say. Its average rank of 3.403 was just below the 3.401 average rank for “Maintenance.”
In regard to preferences for FDOT action on the Fruitville Corridor, 298 responses indicated the desire for better pedestrian access. Of those, the majority called for a detached pathway, while “Large intersections feel unsafe to walk” appeared to garner the second highest number of responses.
“Vehicles move too fast” and “Prefer more shade” appear to have won the next largest shares of respondents’ attention, based on details in the survey data.
Out of the 111 responses putting the emphasis on “Economic development,” the data note, by far, the largest focus was on mixed-use projects.
As the District One staff continues work on the Corridor Vision Plan, FDOT is encouraging public participation in a second online survey, the department has announced. The survey is available in both English and Spanish at this link: www.swflroads.com/sr780/fruitvillevision/.
Information the public shares will help FDOT staff “formulate a Corridor Vision Plan that will outline the potential future transportation improvements” for Fruitville Road, a new FDOT news release adds. The survey will be available to the public through Monday, Sept. 14, the release points out.
During a virtual community meeting FDOT hosted on June 25, Bessie Reina, FDOT’s manager of the project, and consultant Jay Hood of S&ME, talked about the many facets of the corridor. “You don’t just see cars,” Hood pointed out. “You see buildings [and] landscaping,” for examples.
The corridor, he added, has “a greater role in the community than just moving cars.”
The goal with the FDOT plan, Hood continued, is “to envision how this corridor can serve the entire community into the future.”
The District One staff, he noted, has become a leading proponent of the “Complete Streets” approach, which encompasses a wide variety of facets beyond driving — from health and environmental concerns to livability and equality issues, according to a slide Hood and Reina showed the virtual meeting participants. The primary consideration, Hood said, is to reduce fatalities. “You all know that Florida roads are deadly.”
‘The stretch of Fruitville from Beneva Road to Honore Avenue has the highest number of crashes and fatalities,” Reina added. Therefore, that segment needs to be treated differently than other stretches, she said.
And while people often think of Sarasota County as a community of retirees, she continued, people ages 45 to 64 make up the largest demographic along the corridor, comprising 33% of the residents.
Reina pointed out that the corridor is important not only to county residents who use it routinely to get to and from work, but also to visitors and other members of the public who drive it to reach the barrier islands and I-75. Thus, she said, a variety of factors have to be considered for the Corridor Vision Plan.
For results of Survey 1, visit http://www.swflroads.com/sr780/fruitvillevision/images/SR780_Survey_1_results.pdf.