Ringling Boulevard redesign proposed to offer better protection for bicyclists and better connection to Legacy Trail’s North Extension

Public encouraged to take survey about the project

This is a concept for the redesign of Ringling Boulevard between U.S. 301 and School Avenue. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

As a new project that will “reimagine the Ringling Boulevard corridor” is in the planning stages, leaders of the City of Sarasota are asking members of the public for comments on it, City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Oct. 16 newsletter.

“The Ringling Trail will create continuous, safe, protected bicycle lanes heading both east and west on Ringling from Pineapple Avenue all the way to Lime Avenue,” Barwin explained. Creating that corridor “would help connect our neighborhoods and our vibrant downtown with the Legacy Trail Extension,” he pointed out.

The North Extension of The Legacy Trail will run from Culverhouse Nature Park on Palmer Ranch to Payne Park and Fruitville Road, Barwin added. County staff also is working on a connector from Venice to North Port, as Venice is where the Trail originates.

Adding bike lanes on Ringling Boulevard would make it easier for Sarasotans to bicycle to The Legacy Trail, and the project would improve safety for Trail users “to get downtown for their commutes to work or to enjoy our shopping, dining, cultural and natural amenities,” Barwin added. The initiative also would be a facet of a broader regional trail network, stretching someday from Naples to St. Petersburg, Barwin wrote.

“Bicycling has become more popular than ever, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Barwin continued.

“New accommodations on Ringling would fit the changing needs of our community,” Barwin pointed out. “We’ve studied this corridor and found that car traffic there has actually decreased over time, and that Ringling has more capacity than it would ever need even if traffic were increasing,” he noted. “This finding presents an opportunity to redesign and improve the road so it is safe for all modes of travel while maintaining the traffic flow of cars well into the future.”

Barwin added, “As with all our City projects, we’re engaging with the public …” He asked that individuals take the city’s online survey, which will be available through Nov. 15. It may be found at ringlingtrailsurvey.metroquest.com. “[L]et us know your preferences on travel options and possible designs,” Barwin wrote.

“You can also visit the Transportation Planning page on the City’s website to watch a quick introductory video, view the concept plan and learn more about the project. We look forward to your survey responses!” he concluded the newsletter item.