South county open houses on draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

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Sarasota County will hold open-house-style meetings this month -- one in North Port and one in Englewood -- on the draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The plan provides a framework to promote and encourage safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian travel within the county, as guided by the Comprehensive Plan.

Interested persons can come anytime during the two-hour open houses. Attendees will have the opportunity to view the draft plan and maps identifying existing facilities and high-priority areas for improvements, and to ask questions and provide comments.

The 5-7 p.m. meetings will be held at the following dates and locations:

Monday, Jan. 28, Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 West Price Blvd., North Port

Tuesday, Jan. 29, Englewood Sports Complex, 1300 S. River Road, Englewood

Additional open houses will be scheduled in February.

The draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan identifies a vision, mission and purpose for a bicycle and pedestrian network. It recognizes key partnerships and ongoing efforts to increase the safety and education of bicyclists and pedestrians. It includes facility design types and graphics, points out existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities and recommended connections, and identifies opportunities and deficiencies in the network for improvements. The plan is an essential tool for the county to use when applying for grant funds from state, federal and nonprofit organizations.

In addition to the open houses, the county has extended through Feb. 28, 2013 the opportunity for public input and comments on the draft plan via the county's wiki site. A link to the wiki can be found online at the Sarasota County website, www.scgov.net, keyword Pedestrian.

After the wiki is closed and the open houses are held, county staff will prepare a summary report for the commission on the citizen feedback and present the draft plan to the Sarasota County Commission in spring 2013.

For additional information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000, or email bikepedplan@scgov.net.