Great news, Ringling Boulevard has officially been converted to a complete street, providing cyclists with a protected lane from Lime Ave. to Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota.
So what is a complete street? According to Google, a complete street is an approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
At a cost of $2.7 million, the project funding sources included the county penny sales tax, economic development funds, multimodal impact fees and the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The bike lanes are painted bright green to alert bicyclists and e-scooter riders that they are approaching an intersection or potential vehicle-conflict point. The color also serves as a reminder to drivers to remain in their travel lane. The bike lanes are physically protected with six-foot-long bright green concrete wheel stops and four-foot-tall bollards placed between the bike and travel lanes.
This improvement is another piece in the puzzle to improve cycling connectivity in our community. According to Charles Hines, a former Sarasota County commissioner and the director of the Florida Gulf Coast Trail, the next steps are to link the Legacy Trail to the city’s Bobby Jones Golf Course and the county’s 17th Street Park — both under development — and eventually to Nathan Benderson Park, a proposed Interstate 75 flyover into Lakewood Ranch and beyond.
We are excited to see what the future brings in opportunities for connectivity and safety for all cyclists and pedestrians.