For the last week, cars have had access to the new roundabout.
SARASOTA, FLORIDA: A new roundabout in Sarasota has opened after a year and a half of development. The intersection, which is located where the Tamiami Trail connects with Gulf Boulevard, opened to traffic one week ago.
Hundreds of social media comments complained about the uncertainty that a new traffic pattern would cause. The new roundabout drew criticism ranging from "it seems too complicated" to "it's not even a circle."According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the new roundabout is one of around 20 throughout Florida's highway networks.
Aside from the complaints, evidence suggests that roundabouts are a safer alternative than standard intersections.
"Recently, the department has been a great proponent of roundabouts, mostly for their safety benefits," said Steven Davis, the district transportation systems management and operations program engineer. "Federal highway studies have indicated that roundabouts can reduce major injury and mortality collisions by up to 90% compared to a standard traffic signal."
According to FDOT, crashes on roundabouts are often at a lower speed, with impacts occurring at less severe angles. According to FDOT, roundabouts boost traffic throughput by 30-50 percent and eliminate delays caused by stop signs and signals.
From 2016 to 2020, the state transportation agency records 68 collisions at or near the Tamiami/Gulf Boulevard junction. The 2020 data may not be finished because the FDOT Central Office is still completing it.
The new interchange opened to traffic on December 22. You may have already seen it reflected on your phone, depending on the GPS app you use. The FDOT distributes traffic updates to GPS applications. The new roundabout may already be seen on Waze. It will take two to three weeks for the adjustments to appear on Google and Apple maps.
Construction is planned to be finished by the end of the spring of 2023."We're in the home stretch," Davis added. "There is still a lot of signage to be added, and the pavement markings are not in their final form. Drivers are still getting used to the new situation."
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