Traffic Engineering & Operations

Traffic Engineering and Operations review construction plans for new development and new road construction.

We review for consistency with signs, signals, street lighting, road markings and devices placed on, over or next to county maintained streets. We also assist with maintenance responsibilities. Traffic Operations follows the standards set in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

We maintain all existing traffic control devices, review lane closures and maintenance of traffic requests. We conduct traffic counts and analyze crash data within the county.

 

Signal, Signs, and Pavement Markings

Traffic Operations maintains all traffic control devices: signs, signals and their timing, road markings.

Traffic Operations makes adjustments to signal timing to accommodate rush hour, special events, and non-recurring congestion resulting from an accident. The goal of adjusting signal timing is to effectively manage transportation systems to provide the general public with a safe, efficient, and pleasant travel experience.  

 

Requesting a Street Sign

Request for new installation of certain Regulatory Signs require a resolution for example: stop signs, speed limit, no parking, yield, no through trucks.

  • The process for obtaining a sign requiring a resolution is writing a letter to the Traffic Manager.
  • An investigation of the area is made and findings will be brought before the Traffic Advisory Committee.
    • Interested parties are requested to attend.
  • If the Traffic Advisory Committee approves, then a request is forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.
    • After final approval the sign will be installed upon receipt of the resolution.
    • Signs not requiring a resolution may be requested through the Traffic Operations department.
  • If the sign can not be installed a representative from Traffic Operations will call the requesting party.  

Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI)

Construction of Florida's first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) is now underway at Interstate 75 and University Parkway. This innovative design offers a proven solution for improving overall traffic operations and safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

In addition, studies of existing DDIs show a significant reduction of major crashes, an overall reduction in delay times and an increase in overall capacity. The DDI is expected to be operational in September 2017.

In the meantime, Sarasota and Manatee counties are working diligently on the region's traffic capacity improvements to address community members' concerns about congestion.

Sarasota County's plan includes:

  • Construction of a bridge over I-75 on the southern boundaries of Nathan Benderson Park and Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Villages of Lakewood Ranch South.
  • Extension of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard from its current terminus south of University Parkway to Fruitville Road.
  • Construction of Lorraine Road between University Parkway and Fruitville Road.
  • Additional regional transportation improvements.

For more information about FDOT’s DDI project, visit: www.swflroads.com/i75/university/.  

Emergency Pre-Emption of Signals

Sarasota County Traffic Engineering and Operations uses the latest optical equipment to provide emergency pre-emption to the county fire departments. It is Traffic Engineering's policy to use these optical devices on signals.

  • This optical technology detects emergency vehicles using coded strobe light and then communicates this to the traffic controller, which in turn will give additional green time or temporarily change the cycle to allow emergency vehicles to pass through an intersection.
  • Sarasota County installed a traffic signal preemption system for emergency vehicles. This system was installed on the traffic signals located at Bee Ridge and Mauna Loa Blvd., Bee Ridge and the east side I-75 ramps, Bee Ridge and the west side I-75 ramps, Bee Ridge at Cattlemen Road and Cattlemen Road at the Cattleridge driveways.
  • After detecting the approach of an emergency vehicle the pre-emption, system forces all the signal indications in the vehicle’s path to turn green in sufficient time for any automobiles and trucks in the path of the emergency vehicle to clear out of its way before it arrives.

If two emergency vehicles arrive at the same time from different directions, the system prevents the second emergency vehicle from pre-empting the signal system until the first vehicle is safely through the area.

The system called, EPS-II is unique in that it operates off the electronic siren of the emergency vehicle. Subsequent to the initial installation, the county installed an individual system at Honore and Fruitville Road, a location traversed 856 times in 1996 by vehicles from the fire station on 17th. Street. The county is now in the process of installing an individual system at the U.S. Highway 41 By-Pass and Venice Avenue. This is a joint venture with the city of Venice and will benefit fire and ambulance stations located close by.

Public Improvement Districts (PID)

Public Improvement Districts are special assessment Districts established to facilitate neighborhood improvements for street lighting with overhead service by FPL.

  • PID Ordinance, No. 84-45
  • PID Ordinance 2006-030 

Process for Establishing a PID

  • Step 1: Submit a written request to County staff, signed by at least ten (10) property owners in the proposed area by petition.
  • Step 2: Select five (5) volunteers to attend Advisory Steering Committee Meeting(s) (set up by staff) to discuss the proposed District and develop a District plan.
  • Step 3: County staff assists with defining the District and project plan.
  • Step 4: Present the proposed District plan to the community at a Public Meeting. If consensus is reached at Public Meeting, move on to step 5. If consensus is not reached, or revisions are needed, repeat steps 1-4 accordingly.
  • Step 5: Petitioner obtains signatures of at least 67% of property owners from within the proposed District boundary and submits application fee of $1,400.00.
  • Step 6: Staff presents the proposed District plan and petition to the Sarasota County Commission at an advertised Public Hearing for approval.
  • Step 7: Florida Power and Light installs street lights under agreement with the County.
  • Step 8: Property owners in the District are assessed for the lighting project. If approved by the Sarasota County Commission, the District will be established and the project will be constructed by FPL. Property owners from within the District boundary will be assessed annually on their tax notices to fund the expenses of the project. Lighting improvement assessments continue for the existence of the lighting District as an ad valorem tax.    

Non-Maintained Secondary Road (NMSR) Program

The Non-Maintained Secondary Road program is currently suspended until funding is appropriated.

Traffic Operations Data

Sarasota County pavement data is available below, as well as the traffic counts conducted by Sarasota County staff.

  • Pavement View:  For each segment of road, the database provides information such as the functional classification, lane widths, with of right-of-way, condition of pavement, and last repaving date.  To find a segment, type the roadway name and click on 'Search', then select the segment of interest.
  • Traffic Count:  Select the year in which you are interested and click on 'OK'.  This will open up a new window (Excel document) with the traffic count data for roadways collected in that year.

Roundabouts

What is a Roundabout? 

A modern roundabout is a transportation management tool that moves traffic through an intersection without the aid of traffic signals. It involves one-way traffic moving around a circular central island where entering traffic must yield to the traffic already in the roundabout (see more in 'How to Drive in a Roundabout' below).

The objectives of roundabouts are to reduce traffic speeds and reduce the number and severity of crashes, while improving traffic flow. Roundabouts are designed to accommodate all sizes of vehicles. They offer a sensible solution to safety and capacity problems at some intersections, as further described in the 'Why Build Roundabouts' document.

A Roundabout is Not a Traffic Circle

Many people confuse modern roundabouts with traditional traffic circles or rotaries, such as those found in the Northeast. Three basic principles distinguish the modern roundabout from a traffic circle:

  1. Modern roundabouts follow the “yield-at-entry” rule. Approaching vehicles must wait for a gap in the circulating flow before entering the circle. Many traffic circles require circulating vehicles to grant the right of way to entering vehicles. Some traffic circles also use stop signs or signals to control vehicle entry.
  2. Modern roundabouts involve low speeds for entering and circulating traffic. Roundabouts are generally much smaller than traffic circles, which naturally causes drivers to reduce speed within the circle, thus reducing the likelihood of accidents.
  3. Modern roundabouts eliminate other problems associated with traffic circles. In giving priority to entering vehicles, a traffic circle tends to lock up at higher volumes. The operation of a traffic circle is further compromised by the high speed environment in which large gaps are required for proper merging.