First Siesta Village crosswalk lighting demonstration set for June 14

The Siesta Village crosswalk between the Daiquiri Deck and Gilligan's has been called the most dangerous at night, given its poor lighting. Photo by Norman Schimmel

Sarasota County staff has set up one Siesta Village crosswalk lighting demonstration for June 14, with a second tentatively planned for June 18, Ryan Montague in the Mobility/Traffic Office told The Sarasota News Leader June 8.

County Commissioner Nora Patterson has been working with members of three Siesta Key organizations and county staff to set up the demonstrations, before the county spends any money on lighting systems for the crosswalks.

A staff memo this spring had estimated the total cost of proposed bollard lighting for the crosswalks at $42,000. However, during a May 23 discussion, commissioners requested more information before they voted on any lighting system for Siesta Village.

The first demonstration, Montague said, would be conducted at 8 p.m. June 14 with representatives of JAG Lighting Solutions of the Orlando area.

The second one would be with representatives of EvoLucia Lighting of Sarasota. EvoLucia had been recommended to county staff; one of its company representatives, Vice President Craig Hall, is a Siesta Key resident. Hall made a presentation last year to the Siesta Key Association about the company’s custom LED systems.

Montague added that he was working on scheduling a third demonstration with Beacon Products of Bradenton; he hoped that could be scheduled before the end of the month.

During the January meeting of the Siesta Key Village Association, Peter van Roekens, vice president of the Siesta Key Association, had suggested the organizations work with county officials on a way to improve the lighting of crosswalks in Siesta Village. Many of the crosswalks are in dark areas, he said, making it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.

Mark Smith, president of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, also has been involved with the discussions with county officials.

During the June 5 SKVA meeting, van Roekens said Montague had reported to him that Montague had sent requests to three vendors for demonstrations. Van Roekens understood, he said, that the lighting displays would be set up at the crosswalk between the Daiquiri Deck and Gilligan’s on Ocean Boulevard, as that one has been called the darkest in Siesta Village.

Van Roekens added that anyone was welcome to be present for the demonstrations.

At the request of Glenn Cappetta, owner of Sun Ride Pedicabs, van Roekens said he would send an email notice to SKVA and SKA members, to let them know of the date, as he had expected all the demonstrations to be done on one night.

“As someone who uses the crosswalks and other roads a lot,” Cappetta said, he was interested in seeing the results with various types of equipment.

Once the demonstrations have been completed, van Roekens told SKA members at their June 7 meeting, county staff would be able to put together a request for bids with the appropriate scope and specifications.

The County Commission would have to approve the expense, he added.

Reiterating comments he made at that January SKVA meeting, van Roekens said of the crosswalk lighting situation in the Village, “It is very dangerous. It really is.”