Is a Roundabout in Siesta’s Future?

May 28, 2020  —

The Siesta Key Transportation Study Phase 1 was recently presented at a Sarasota  Board of County Commissioners meeting.  The purpose of the transportation plan is to improve the traffic operation and circulation to/from the Key.

The draft plan, previously posted on this web site containing 12 projects, has been expanded to 18.  These include roundabouts at several problematic Key intersections to improve safety. The County requested that SKA reconsider the use of roundabouts on Siesta in  light of changes, including a new type of pedestrian crossing system.    These systems are installed at the new roundabouts on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota .  You can watch  a demonstration video of this new type of pedestrian focused system.  This system might be modified to specific needs of a “three-legged” roundabout with single lanes which could be installed at the Midnight Pass/Beach Roads intersection.

Intersection of Midnight Pass and Beach Roads on Siesta Key

Midnight Pass/Beach Roads Intersection (google.maps photo)

Midnight Pass/Beach Roads Intersection
A Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Midnight Pass resurfacing project includes improvements for the Midnight Pass/Beach Roads intersection and is scheduled for 2022. SKA initiated a remote meeting using ZOOM technology to allow FDOT and County Engineering Staffs,  SK Chamber and Condo Council officers, and SKA Directors to exchange ideas about this intersection . The two right turn lanes with YIELD signs at this intersection are problematic.   Two alternatives for eliminating these lanes are proposed.  Plan A is to redesign the T-intersection, eliminate the Yield lanes, and put in timed pedestrian crossings.  Plan B would reconfigure the intersection into a roundabout and again insert timed pedestrian crossings. EMS, Fire & Rescue staff will also be consulted regarding impact to the new Fire Station #13.

Beach Traffic may Impede Left Turn
A roundabout inserts one problem for travelers moving south on Midnight Pass Road who wish to  continue south at the Beach Road intersection.  During periods of high beach attendance, it would be extremely difficult to enter the roundabout since traffic is frequently backed up to the south bridge at Stickney Point.

Roundabout Benefits
A roundabout signals reduced traffic speed and improves pedestrian safety.  A roundabout also indicates changes in a traffic pattern such as high pedestrian use at the public beach area.  The roundabout can be designed to add aesthetic dimension to the intersection .

This unique area will be discussed further. The goal is for this intersection to have optimal function for Siesta Key.  See Siesta Key Transportation Plan Phase 1