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Old 01-18-2018, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Venice, FL
9,612 posts, read 2,703,447 times
Reputation: 5861

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Compared to some places, this area's traffic is mostly manageable. However, the trend here is worsening with the never ending growth (guilty...I was not born here). The major thoroughfares are already a nuisance Dec-March. Waiting, and doing nothing, may have unintended consequences later as all the remaining land will be totally consumed.

Sarasota City/County Government, and their influencers, have demonstrated that they will not take any significant steps to allow "attainable" housing where it's needed most. That Horse is dead.

So, we have a sizeable workforce that has to commute from outside the area to where the labor is needed, and they are doing so daily, and nearly all of them are doing so alone in their cars.

We need to move large numbers of workers in & out of the core areas efficiently, with less vehicles.

Getting Americans to totally give up their cars altogether anytime soon seems unlikely, so focusing upon a more attainable solution for the near term is more logical.

We already have SCAT/school busses capable of moving a lot more people than they move today. Just go to where they park the busses, and you'll see a sea of idle resources.

I suggest we find parking areas outside the core areas for the workforce to park their cars...free. Preferably open spaces already owned/leased/controlled by City, County, State, & Federal government entities. If none exist, lease them. SRQ airport might be the North 41 commuter lot for instance. The struggling Westfield Mall could be the South 41 commuter lot (new car dealers are already parking inventory there). I know there's some open space left at Clark/I-75.

Use the underutilized busses to move the workforce along 41, Univ Pkwy, Bee Ridge, Fruitville, Clark, within designated express lane/s. Make them "express busses" by minimizing the stops to move the most people the longest distance in less time they spend otherwise. So, it wouldn't be a solution for everyone, just to the bulk of the workforce.

If we can save the workforce time/money, while utilizing publicly owned/leased resources at a higher rate than they are used now, it might just make a noticeable difference.

I realize money would need to be spent on the designated bus lanes, and remote parking lot improvements, but I cannot think of a solution that's totally free, and serves everyone. Can you?

Syncing the traffic lights is a low-cost idea, and could serve most people, but I don't see that as having the degree of impact we'll need long-term. Affordable flying cars are long-term.

Rail projects cost too much and are huge money losers just about everywhere they are deployed.

How to pay for it? Is there enough space anywhere along any roads or easements for dedicated bus express lanes? Is there space for all the commuter lots that would be needed? I don't have all the answers, I'm just starting a brainstorming session for those of us that would like to help solve the problem, and not just complain and blame.

If you have a better idea, please share. It should save the workforce time & money, and remove a significant number of cars from our key thoroughfares in the core areas. It would be great if it were mostly achievable short-term, and not cause huge tax increases.

If you don't have any proposed ideas/solutions, and just want to criticise, please start another thread. Negativity is not conducive to problem-solving.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 10,095,472 times
Reputation: 6624
You can blame all traffic/area growth problems with the construction of I-75
Before I-75, there was a single lane dirt road that went from U.S.301 east to nowhere in the boonies. There was no intersecting Cattlemen or Honore. When I-75 opened, it was paved as a single lane road. Lakewood Ranch did not exist until developers applied for a CDD permit. Manatee and Sarasota decided that the road, especially around an extension of Cattlemen Rd would be a great place for shopping malls. The road was renamed University Parkway.
Both Bee Ridge Rd and Cattlemen Rd were single lane roads. The intersection was controlled by a stop sign, surrounded by woods and cattle pastures.
When a person in the cattle or orange grove, golf course business decides to throw in the towel and sell their land, the land gets cut up into 50x100 lots.
Nothing anyone suggests to reduce traffic problems will work [and roundabouts is NOT the solution] short of stopping the issuing of building permits. [and that's not going to happen]
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Venice, FL
9,612 posts, read 2,703,447 times
Reputation: 5861
Well, thanks for providing us the history of the problem, but there's no way to undo the past (I-75). There's no way to stop landowners from selling to developers. The battle against developers from increasing population density is mostly a losing proposition.

Did you read in today's newspaper where down in Venice, the neighborhoods of Waterford and Sawgrass, plus the Central Venice Coalition, are fighting the losing battle with a developer over density.

So, we have Hundreds of residents against 1 person...a developer. We all know who is going to win, because its happened Thousands of times already. That's precisely how we got into this mess. Local Government forcing high population density down all of our throats.

You see, local Government already has your money, so you no longer count. What it wants/needs is MORE money, and that is how the Developer's keep winning. Realistically, I don't see this ever stopping.

So, do we try to fix that problem, and/or the trafic problem? They go hand in hand, but we need to start somewhere.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:19 AM
 
3,217 posts, read 2,157,589 times
Reputation: 12057
I’ve lived in two other states where the same thing has happened. In one, they developed until the farms were gone. With the other, they built until the only land left was on the mountains and it took deep pockets to build there. It doesn’t end until development is no longer attractive to the developers.

Zoning boards many times will have people with vested interests on them and if not that, the developers haved sued and won when towns have tried to stop them. Petitions and involvement by concerned group did get the density of some projects downsized. I think the developers purposely upped their numbers to end up with the numbers they actually wanted.

The traffic problems here are exacerbated by the influx of snowbirds and tourists, making it different from other states have I lived in. I don’t see anything changing until the problem with traffic becomes so bad that buying a home or being a tourist will no longer be attractive and the developers move on when the market disappears.

I have a friend on Cape Cod that brings a cooler for grocery shopping in the summer. There is no getting home quickly during summer season there and she’s accepted the ridiculous time it takes. It’s life in a tourist area. I knew what we were getting into when we moved here. Tourist areas come with a price.

I don’t have an answer to the problem because I don’t believe there is one while there is still land to be developed and people that want to move here. There is no shutting the door once you move here.

If mass transit becomes a viable solution, this area will have become too large and may no longer be the reason people moved here. People seeking a laid-back small town feel will move out, some are already. Those wanting more amenities and conveniences, not necessarily community or nature, will move in.

I believe I’m being realistic and not negative. People who move here like the space and their cars. If they wanted to use mass transit, the would not live here, they would be in an area that offers that.

From your user name it sounds like you are a family. Otherwise I would suspect you are a snowbird that wants the working people out of their way when they are here.

Last edited by jean_ji; 01-19-2018 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Southwest Florida
4,807 posts, read 12,880,832 times
Reputation: 2152
Google "Saratopia" & watch the episodes ~ https://youtu.be/ZzrlfP9xb1Q
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Venice, FL
9,612 posts, read 2,703,447 times
Reputation: 5861
jean_ji said:
"I would suspect you are a snowbird that wants the working people out of their way when they are here."

I've read this a few times and am having difficulty understanding. Can you re-phrase for me please?

I'm not a snowbird. I'm a full time Florida resident (again) since June 30th 2017.

Many posters have commented that there's no affordable housing in Sarasota, so the workers have to commute from points afar. That adds a lot of traffic to what is already here. Since we cant solve the affordable housing problem, I was trying to focus upon the traffic problem.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:34 PM
 
3,217 posts, read 2,157,589 times
Reputation: 12057
Quote:
Originally Posted by beach43ofus View Post
jean_ji said:
"I would suspect you are a snowbird that wants the working people out of their way when they are here."

I've read this a few times and am having difficulty understanding. Can you re-phrase for me please?

I'm not a snowbird. I'm a full time Florida resident (again) since June 30th 2017.

Many posters have commented that there's no affordable housing in Sarasota, so the workers have to commute from points afar. That adds a lot of traffic to what is already here. Since we cant solve the affordable housing problem, I was trying to focus upon the traffic problem.
Sarcasm never works online, I apologize.

You are focusing on transit for workers and ignoring the obvious and larger problem: the vast amount of tourists and snowbirds who are an issue for the roads, but also for restaurants, stores, doctors offices, and any type of service during season. It’s hard to schedule or balance anything with a feast or famine situation. Maintaining any schedule of service with the needed amount of employees must be extremely difficult when weather dictates the influx of more or less tourists in season. Try figuring out a bus schedule for a work force that can be very seasonal.

Not only weather, but the ups and the downs of the stock market affect tourists areas. It’s a boom area now, but during the housing bust, it was scary around here with foreclosed homes and help wanted signs were nowhere in sight with reduced tourism.

This area has unique problems not seen in places with stable populations that are not tourist destinations. Easter dictates when many people people leave here in the spring, and since that date changes every year, even that isn’t consistent for schedules.

The usual complaint I read here is the locals complaining about snowbirds and how they should stay off the roads during rush hour in the morning and evening. Your suggestion seemed to be the opposite: figuring out how to get workers off the road, not clogging the roads for the tourists and snowbirds.

It’s a no win situation. If the snowbirds and tourists aren’t on the roads, there will be less workers. This area does seem to be increasing it’s year round population and that may bring about plans that can work with a more stable population.

Not to minimize our problems but to help put this in prospective, here’s an interesting link to an article from 2003, with this quote in the first paragraph:

Today, approximately 3 billion people — about half of the world's population — live within 200 kilometers of a coastline. By 2025, that figure is likely to double.

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Repo...alRegions.aspx

Last edited by jean_ji; 01-19-2018 at 07:09 PM..
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Venice, FL
9,612 posts, read 2,703,447 times
Reputation: 5861
Yeah...nothing anyone can do it about now. We're all going to have to live with it, or leave. We'll just complain to each other about it hoping that will make us feel better. I'll admit that this approach is somewhat effective, for a few hours anyway.

Detroit took this approach for a about 60 years, and voila! No more traffic issues. Property taxes there have fallen to next to nothing. You can buy homes for a few Thousand dollars. No tourists, no crowded beaches, no shortage of low-cost housing, no developers. If we could figure out how to fast forward their process by about 50 years, we'd be on to something.

Maybe we should be offering free express bus service from Sarasota to Detroit from Dec to April. Or, we give all the Michigander snowbirds 20% off everything provided they take 2 extra people back with them come April. Maybe they'll like it so much, they'll never return to SRQ.
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