We recently discovered that the City of Sarasota is quietly trying to build support for a plan to shrink Fruitville road from 4 lanes down to 2.
Watch the video below for a detailed overview of the arguments for and against the project.
The changes would affect Fruitville road from Orange ave through to US 41. The plan also calls for 3 new traffic circles at Lemon, Central, and Cocoanut.
The project was first proposed back in 2015. Here is a link to the original document outlining the plan.
This is an ambitious and controversial project. It's also not something we've heard much about it in the news.
Actually if I had not stumbled into a Rosemary District Association meeting a few weeks ago, this would not be on the radar at all. That means that most of the work on this project has been done quietly and outside of any real public scrutiny.
Being curious and interested in the growth of our community, I wanted to learn more about the project. To get the full scoop, I invited Daniel Ohrenstein (deputy city engineer) as well as Mike Lasche (vocal critic of the plan) for an impromptu presentation/interview.
I've cut the interviews into a short overview video (posted at the top of this page) and included the full interviews (below) for anyone who wants to take a deep dive.
Feel free to bookmark this page as we will continue to post updates as we learn more about the progress of this project.
Full interview with Dan Ohrenstein, the deputy city engineer.
Full interview with Mike Lasche, a vocal critic of the plan.
Explore the city of Sarasota website about this project by clicking here - On this page you can dive into the various slide prepared for each community group along with technical documentation and other supporting content about the project.
Interesting to note is that there is a huge gap from 2017-2019, with only a few presentations listed in between. You might think this means that there was no work being done on this project, but there have been presentations taking place throughout the community for the last year. One has to wonder why so much of this process is taking place behind the scenes while the public as a whole remains in the dark.
Explore the different renderings from Hoyt Architects here
Related headlines -
Here are a few local headlines about the project.
- Herald Tribune - Only one candidate endorses Fruitville ‘road diet’ plan
- Observer - Controversial Fruitville Road plans resurface
- Observer - City plans downtown streetscape, park improvements
- Sarasota News Leader - Fruitville Road Streetscape Project to be focus of March 1 meeting
Please share this post with a friend to help spread the work about this initiative. This is not the type of decision which should be made in a vacuum.