SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Anyone who’s visited St. Armands Circle recently has probably noticed a few changes.
Visitors now have to pay to park in several of the spaces that were once free and the Florida Department of Transportation just installed seven of eight new speed humps to slow drivers down.
FDOT staff said they are confident this new addition will save lives.
“I feel fine, it doesn’t feel that unsafe," said Baylie Bishop.
Compared to Texas, Baylie and her mom, Marla, said crossing the street through the circle is a walk in the park.
“In Texas, half the time they don’t even stop for pedestrian walkways," Marla Bishop laughed. “So, it’s probably better here, than it is there,” added Baylie.
But for locals who have been here long enough to get a feel for the flow of traffic, these new speed humps are a necessary addition.
“I love the speed bumps," said Bob Taylor, who’s lived in Sarasota for several years. "A lot of people don’t like them because they have to slow down, well isn’t that amazing? That’s the whole point. The whole point is to make people slow down and let the pedestrians walk around the circle.”
FDOT said they’re actually speed humps, which are intentionally wider and more gentle than a speed bump but still reduce a car’s speed to 15 to 20 miles per hour.
“The speed humps are very well received because having been here that long, I’ve seen a few near misses, as far as pedestrians go," said Blake Jones, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker in St. Armands Circle.
But the humps are only temporary. FDOT staff said they’ll stay for one year while engineers determine the feasibility of installing permanent, raised crosswalks for pedestrians.
According to FDOT, it’s a potential solution to a problem the City of Sarasota and St. Armands Circle Association asked them to address in this highly traveled area.
“Particularly as they approach St. Armands, it’s not obvious that there are pedestrian crosswalks," added Jones. "So sometimes it takes a little bit more advance notification before you get there.”
Installation for the eighth speed hump was delayed due to weather. FDOT said in total, the cost was about $40,000.