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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Turtle lighting becomes request for all-inclusive study

A discussion by the Bradenton Beach Corridor Management Entity at its March 16 meeting of turtle-friendly street lights along State Road 789 (Gulf Drive) turned into a request to ask the city commission to fund an all-encompassing engineering study of a host of issues.

CME member Bill Shearon said the priority is to determine where the city plans to install sidewalks along Gulf Drive, then have the lights follow that path.

Bob Herrington of the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization suggested the CME first needs to see an inventory of where sidewalks are already located on Gulf Drive and determine where more are needed.

Herrington also noted that the Florida Department of Transportation plans to resurface Gulf Drive in the next one to two years, and the DOT in the past has installed shelter pads for bus/trolley stops during other resurfacing projects in the MPO jurisdiction.

This might be a good time to get an engineer's study done on the sidewalks and trolley stop locations, he said, because grant applications for any MPO funds for sidewalks and lights are due by June 7, 2004.

Good idea, said chairperson Judy Giovanelli, and let's include traffic calming areas and handicap-accessible trolley stops in the study.

Funding for the engineer's report must be approved by the city commission, but there is $8,000 left in the capital street-improvements budget that has not been used, noted Public Works Director Dottie Poindexter.

"And my guess is this study will only cost about $5,000," she added.

That's because Wilson-Miller, the city's engineering firm, already has plenty of data from the recently completed bike-path study and report.

The CME voted to have Giovanelli present a formal request to the city commission to fund an engineering study along S.R. 789 for a "comprehensive pedestrian and safety enhancement plan" to include sidewalk locations and upgrades; landscaping, handicap accessibility, trolley shelter locations, turtle-friendly street-lighting locations, and traffic- calming locations and suggestions.

The study should be completed by May 10, 2004, Giovanelli said.

Mayor John Chappie said he would present the request at the commission's first meeting in April.