Change Seeping into Sarasota Downtown’s Character


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, December 26th, 2016 – A new flavor is being injected into the character of downtown Sarasota besides the dramatic change in its skyline courtesy of ongoing major property development projects in and around the city center.

The Downtown Improvement District (DID), after installing flower baskets in August on light poles in some major city streets, is now working on three gateway signs at three key entry points to the city’s core. These “Downtown Sarasota” signs are targeted as arch installations in three intersections: Main Street/U.S. 301; Main Street/U.S. 41; and Lemon Avenue/Fruitville Road. New roundabouts are also being considered for the latter two intersections.

Last year, a roundabout was constructed at the Main Street/Orange Avenue junction. This new road feature provides an added perk for many Sarasota condos for sale along the Orange Avenue corridor, such as Kanaya, Citrus Square, and the new projects, Courtyard at Citrus and Orange Club.

The Orange Avenue/Main Street roundabout came as the fourth constructed within the downtown area since 2010. The first was built at Five Points, one at Ringling Avenue/Palm Avenue followed next, and another rose at Ringling Avenue/Pineapple Avenue.

More Roundabouts in the Pipeline

Change Seeping into Sarasota Downtown’s Character

Plans were also set in motion last year for two roundabouts at the U.S. 41 intersections on 10th and 14th streets. These moves also include major improvements on the landscaping and installation of decorative lighting in the half-mile segments between the two roundabouts.

The roundabouts and their accompanying landscaping are so designed to slow and calm the local vehicular traffic. Notably, this area is the domain of attractively priced Sarasota condos for sale at the Broadway Promenade where pricing of available two-bedroom units typically start at the $200s.

Area officials envision these road projects as a focal gateway point that will spruce up this less-developed stretch of the North Trail. All told, 16 roundabouts costing over $42 million are programmed for Sarasota roads up to 2023.

Circulator Eyed for Better Mobility

Meanwhile, downtown on-demand rides could also start as early as January next year via a circulator system that the DID is finalizing with a Charleston, SC-based transportation company, the Gotcha Group. It will operate the fleet of vehicles free of charge to riders.

Under this system expected to improve downtown pedestrian mobility, the city would fund the circulator vehicles for two years. On the third year, advertisement displays on the vehicles would fund and sustain the local circulator service of the Gotcha Group. This company primarily focuses on providing free rides on college campuses.

Parking Meters

Change Seeping into Sarasota Downtown’s Character

Next year, parking meters are poised for a comeback in some downtown streets after being dismantled in 2012 due to local residents and merchants’ protests. In September this year, the city commission voted to restore the devices after a new report concluded that paid street parking is the only way to sustain Sarasota’s parking department.

Set for installation are 468 parking meters on Palm Avenue, Main Street and part of Ringling Boulevard. Rates for six minutes will be 10 cents and 25 cents for 15 minutes. The first two hours would cost $2 and $1 charged for each additional hour, fees that will certainly create an added imprint on downtown Sarasota’s character.