The City of Sarasota has opened a public survey to gather input from residents about a stretch of Shade Avenue that is included in Sarasota in Motion’s Complete Streets project.
A “complete street” is designed to create safe options for multiple types of transportation; creating more such streets is part of the city's goal of eliminating pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. An individual can bike, walk or drive more safely on these roadways, which are designed for people from age 8 to 80. They are often more beautiful, as well.
The city wants to hear from anyone who regularly uses Shade Avenue. The survey—which should only take between five and 10 minutes to complete—is open through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31.
“We depend heavily on the community to share with us their values and preferences so that way we aren’t building something that they don’t want," says Corinne Arriaga, a transportation planner on the project. "We really encourage everyone to get involved in this."
The survey is open to anyone who walks, bikes, skateboards, drives or lives along Shade Avenue. “If people in high school want to take the survey and tell us they’re walking or skateboarding, how they feel on it, if it’s comfortable—all of it is important for us to know,” says Arriaga.
At a recent public meeting about Shade Avenue that drew roughly 50 people, some members of the public expressed concerns about the removal of trees. City planners confirmed that the trees will be staying. However, invasive trees, such as Australian pines, that are rooted in the right-of-way, will be removed.
“We work with the landscaping department, as well as the city arborist to identify the tree species,” says Alvimarie Corales, chief transportation manager on the project. Other trees will be planted and some of the trees that can be moved may be relocated strategically within the design.
The Shade Avenue project will go through four phases of development. Once the survey closes this Wednesday, planners will analyze the results and work with designers to come up with three proposals to present to the public in the fall. The community will then be able to offer feedback on those designs, just as it did for a similar project on Ringling Boulevard.
The city estimates that the first phase of the the Shade Avenue project will be completed in fall 2023.
The survey will remain open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31. Maps of the project phases and more information can be found on the city’s website. If you’d like to receive meeting agendas, news releases, project updates and more, you can register with your email address.