Longboat Key, Florida | December 12th, 2017 – The official activities of Longboat Key Town Commissioner Jack Daly would most likely be among those tracked by local folks onward this 2018. This seems so because Jack sits on a steering committee on top of a study seeking solutions to the overlapping issue of island and mainland traffic, a concern that bugs every one of us.
Early this December, Longboat Key hosted a public information workshop on this study. Ahead of the workshop, Jack shared in advance some of the proposed traffic solutions put forward under this study that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hopes to complete by next fall.
One of the early suggestions which should be of particular interest to islanders are the two water shuttles eyed as alternative Sarasota transit options. One is a Sarasota City‒Island route and the other is a route which would link Sarasota, Bird Key, Lido Key, St. Armand’s Circle and South Lido Key Beach.
Town Commissioner Daly said the study is “on the right track” and though the series of options put forward are not big-ticket items, these add up to the solutions to vehicular traffic in the long range.
As early as 2018, we could see a water shuttle providing some initial relief to the congestion in the region’s streets and highways. The Sarasota Bradenton Ferry has already secured permits from the cities of Sarasota, Bradenton and Bradenton Beach to operate a water shuttle service with a 149-person capacity starting next year. Similar permitting with Palmetto are also being finalized, recent reports say.
Initial Ferry Routes Set
The proposed local and express routes of the ferry company and their trip durations look encouraging for sight-seers as well as commuters. One route, for instance, is set from 10th Street in Sarasota near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center to Bridge Street Pier, Bradenton Beach. This trip is expected to take about 34 minutes.
From Bradenton Beach, this ferry sails to Riverwalk in Bradenton in an anticipated 28-minute trip. A planned Sarasota‒Bradenton ferry express route is expected to be covered in 1 hour and 4 minutes. The average price for a ferry ticket is estimated at around $12.50 per passenger and $15 for individual roundtrip. The ferry operations, for added convenience, is also being coordinated with rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber.
Ahead of its maiden voyage, the Sarasota Bradenton Ferry is currently running a survey asking locals and visitors why and how frequent they would take the ferry. This survey can be accessed at sarasotabradentonferry.com, a new website that the Sarasota Bradenton Ferry rolled out to promote its services.
The ferry’s marine operations director, Capt. Sherman Baldwin, said his company will soon be working with the U.S. Coast Guard and local conservation groups to ensure the most environment-friendly and the safest use of local waterways for transportation. Baldwin also assured that future ferry passengers can depend on their schedule and have a comfortable trip onboard.
How about an Aerial Gondola?
An alternative mainland‒island transport idea presented preparatory to the FDOT workshop in Longboat Key should likewise resonate well among some residents. This early proposal under Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study involves the operation of an aerial ropeway or tramway to help ease the flow of traffic from the mainland Sarasota to parts of the keys. This unique proposal of an aerial gondola would have stops in Sarasota, Bird Key and St. Armands Circle.
With these developments brewing in the region, we could expect excitement in our market territory to build up moving forward in 2018 and beyond. Come to us whether you’re a residential seller or buyer; our Judy Kepecz-Hays team can serve as your friendly and resourceful partner in engaging the market.