City of Sarasota's plans to ease traffic downtown as city grows

7:56 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
Isabel Mascarenas Video Stories
More Isabel Mascareñas Stories

Sarasota, Florida - In real estate, we're seeing a reverse migration from the suburbs to downtown... and downtown Sarasota is one example. But with the new growth comes new challenges, such as an increase in traffic flow.

If it's not being built there are signs indicating it will be. Downtown Sarasota's growth is on the way up, way up.

"We are planning our next evolution here, really fine-tuning the connectivity between our neighborhoods, shopping district and promote healthy living," says Tom Barwin, Sarasota City Manager

Barwin estimates about 500 residential units including condominiums, townhomes and apartments, plus about another 500 hotel rooms are going up in the next two years.

Barwin says, "We need to get a handle on how we are going to move people around."

Barwin says the answer is in the use of impact fees money developers pay when pulling a permit, money used for widening roads and intersections to meet the added traffic but city officials say there's a problem. "Our citizens don't want to see wider streets anymore," says Barwin.

City officials have asked to opt out of Sarasota County's impact fees system to give the city more flexibility in using those dollars to help meet the city's growing urban needs.

Barwin says, "Whether they can be used for wider sidewalks, pedestrian amenities, enhancing public transportation. City officials would also like to see some bike paths extended into the City of Sarasota such as the county's Legacy Trail.

"There's no proposal to increase tax fees, just have greater flexibility," says Barwin.

"You're seeing a reverse migration of citizens all over the country," says Richard Habersham, a New York visitor who says he's been visiting Sarasota every year since 2000.

Habersham says, "You can see there's a lot more foot traffic, a lot more people walking, it's for the good health of the citizens, and health of the city makes it more vibrant."

Sarasota County Commissioners say they will need more information from the city on opting out of the county's impact fees system. County commissioners have given city officials until June to provide it.

You may also like... 

Weird Florida: A look back at some of the strangest stories of the year

Miracle Baby: Tampa toddler has 5-organ transplant

Broke Bad: Contest winner busted in synthetic drug ring

Here kitty, kitty: Lion escapes enclosure at Pasco sanctuary

Fake Cop: Man arrested 3 times for impersonating officer

Animal tragedy: Girl's miniature horse attacked by dogs

#ShortYellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights

Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children

Popular photo galleries:

Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers

Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos 

Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant

Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV ***warning graphic***

Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole

Popular Databases:

Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here

Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here

Isabel Mascarenas

Most Watched Videos