Department of Transportation touts diverging diamond in Sarasota

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014 4:56 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosted a meeting Thursday night to discuss plans for the interchange at University Parkway and I-75. The public hearing is part of an effort to inform the community about the design being considered for the area. It’s called a “diverging diamond,” and this will be the first time it will be used in the state.

"Traffic here can be really bad," says Mark Fasel, one of the thousands of area residents who frequent the retail stores along University and I-75.

"It can be backed up 45 minutes just to get off the interstate 5 miles away,” he says. “And with the new mall coming in, I think that it’s going to be even more intense."

Fasel isn't alone in his fears.

"Going forward it’s going to be a nightmare,” says Sarasota resident Leslie Emery. “They should have put in the road systems way before they allotted the permits for the big mall."

But FDOT say the proposed diverging diamond traffic pattern will help ease congestion.

"This diverging diamond is extremely efficient, it will move traffic," says Robin Stublen, FDOT’s communications specialist. "The design engineers prefer these diverging diamonds because they take up less right-of-way space."

Stublen says that because developments in that area go right up the current interchange, the divergent diamond is the best option. FDOT even has plans to use the design at other Sarasota intersections.

"We'll be working on one at Clark Road, possible one at Fruitville Road, and we think we're going to have a hybrid version of the diverging diamond at Bee Ridge Road," Stublen says.

So far the projects are still in the design phase, and funding has yet to be allotted for construction -- details that have many residents concerned.

"I’m very skeptical; I really am worried about how this is going to work for this area," said resident Leslie Emery.

"We're not paying taxes to have debacles like this in the center of the state,” says Sarasota resident Richard Bottorff. “Hearing that this might be the busiest intersection on 75 in the state of Florida, I do have some future concerns for it."

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  • JRedding posted at 5:14 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    JRedding Posts: 20

    Don't believe anything Tea Party Activist Robin Stublen says. He told ABC News the street lamp posts on Bee Ridge were all the way to the edge of the right of way. He lied, the 72 lamp posts on Bee Ridge are just about in the middle of the sidewalk. As a vision impaired veteran, I can tell you they hurt when you collide with them. Florida is the most dangerous place in America for Pedestrians and bicyclists. Bee Ridge Road is one of the most dangerous roads in America.

  • JRedding posted at 11:20 am on Fri, Jun 27, 2014.

    JRedding Posts: 20

    I travel from Sarasota in the DAV Van to Bay Pines VA Hospital. I have never noticed many problems with traffic on these exits.

    The FDOT sure does like to spend money. I wish they would spend a little money to move the street light posts which obstruct the center of the Bee Ridge Sidewalk.

    I wouldn't take much stock in anything Robin Stublen says. When question by an ABC News Reporter about the street lamp posts in the middle of the sidewalk on Bee Ridge Road he responded to the reporter:

    "In addition to being exempted from the current ADA standards, Stublen says there are other barriers preventing the street lamps from being moved. "Right now we are right up against the edge of the right of way. We have no more room. Literally millions would be required to purchase any additional right away we would need if we were to relocated the street lamp," said Stublen.

    Look at the photo and tell me who you believe.

    Jeff Redding
    Lifetime Member, Blinded Veterans of America


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