SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Suncoast leaders are urging drivers to use caution at roundabouts.
This year, several new roundabouts are being added to US 41 in Sarasota as a part of the city’s Bay Front connectivity plan to make US 41 more walk-able. The city engineer says another purpose of the plan is to also connect the bay front to downtown and the neighborhoods.
In April, two roundabouts on US 41 opened. One is on 10th street and US 41 and the other is on 14th street and US 41. The city is currently constructing a third on Fruitville and US 41. City leaders tell ABC 7 roundabouts are a way to make the roads more safe.
“Because drivers only have to look at traffic from one direction at a time as do pedestrians. Speeds are slower in the intersection,” said the City of Sarasota Engineer, Alex Davis-Shaw.
With changes to the traffic pattern there seems to be a learning curve for several drivers. Sarasota Police Department officers say many people aren’t slowing down or yielding as they’re approaching the roundabouts.
“I think again it may be, it can be any number of things. People don’t travel the route on a consistent basis or for that matter they may not know how to maneuver it properly,” said Sarasota Police Department officer Jason Frank.
The police department reports they have given out more than 40 citations and dozens of warnings since the roundabouts first opened.
"Just because the roundabout may appear open and it's safe for you to pull through, if there is someone inside the roundabout, you yield to them," said Officer Frank.
The City put together several informational videos on how to drive through a roundabout. You can watch those here.
Construction on the US 41 roundabouts on 10th St., 14th St., and Fruitville are expected to wrap up in the fall. Next year construction will begin for a roundabout on Gulf Stream and US 41.
"We want to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely," said Officer Frank.
City leaders want to assure people take precautions, slow down, and assure they’re in the correct lane depending on what way you’re headed before going into the roundabout.
In Manatee County a new roundabout opened this week on State Road 64 and Rye Rd. The Department of Transportation urges people to use caution and be aware of the new traffic pattern.