Jul 28, 2014
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Sarasota Officials To Pursue Myrtle Street Improvements

Sarasota city and county commissioners agreed to figure out a way to fund a $3 million project to add sidewalks to Myrtle Street from Washington Boulevard to Tamiami Trail.

Sarasota Officials To Pursue Myrtle Street Improvements Sarasota Officials To Pursue Myrtle Street Improvements Sarasota Officials To Pursue Myrtle Street Improvements Sarasota Officials To Pursue Myrtle Street Improvements

Improvements to Sarasota's Myrtle Street will now be a top unfunded transportation priority of both Sarasota city and county.

The jurisdictions will pursue a $3 million facelift that includes a sidewalk on the south side of the road and other features after Sarasota city and county commissioners agreed Tuesday at a joint session to pursue the project.

The selection, known as Option 1B, is also slated to include a closed draining system, and a stormwater management facility to avoid paying for right-of-way acquisition along the road, according to county documents. It was one of six proposed Myrtle Street options.

Both commissions voted unanimously to pursue the option and to identify funding as soon as possible.

The improvements will take place from Washington Boulevard to Tamiami Trail. 

The project will not include bike lanes and lighting, as was proposed in Options 3A and 3B, which would have cost $8.1 million and $6.9 million respectively, according to county documents. The various options included an choices of closed or open drainage and sidewalks on one side or both sides of the street.

That stretch of north Sarasota is seeing somewhat of a revitalization in the Myrtle corridor where the opened Sept. 2 off of Myrtle at 1845 34th St., and a in 2012 at Tamiami Trail.

The Taylor Center is also hosting mentoring students from , City Commissioner Willie Charles Shaw said, who represents Newtown and parts of north Sarasota.

Because of the additional pedestrians, safety is key, he said. County Commission Vice Chairwoman Carolyn Mason agreed.

"I'm concerned at (U.S.) 301 and Myrtle because I see folks crossing back and forth to Robert Taylor from the park," she said. "That's a pretty dangerous crossing there."

Crosswalks will also be examined for safety and ADA improvements, added Jim Harriott, executive director of Sarasota County Public Works.

In addition to the sidewalks project, the county and city are working together to improve the U.S. 301 and Myrtle intersection by extending the existing eastbound left turn lane and building a eastbound to southbound right turn lane, Harriott said.

That cost is an estimated $337,000, excluding the price of acquiring the right of way, which the city owns.

"We're hoping for a very good price," Harriott said.

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