Article by: Erika Jackson
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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) – The Florida Department of Transportation is getting ready to start several construction projects in Manatee County. It’s looking to add five roundabouts along 15th Street East from Tallevast Road to U.S. 41, and plans to add another roundabout at 15th Street’s intersection with Martin Luther King Junior Avenue.
FDOT considered adding new left turn lanes on Martin Luther King Junior Avenue onto 15th Street but found adding a roundabout would “best meet the needs of the intersection.” Construction is set to begin in March, with a projected completion date of January 2019.
“It’s not fun having two on the same road, but its okay,” said Bradenton resident Kim Brown of the two new roundabouts near her home.
Brown could be considered an expert at maneuvering roundabout, since two have opened near her home in the last six months. She’s seen other drivers struggle to traverse those roundabouts along 38th Avenue East at 27th Street and 30th Street. She wonders if drivers will have the same problem once another roundabout is completed at MLK Avenue and 15th Street East.
“I know you’re supposed to wait for the cars in the circle, but i’m not sure if everybody knows that,” joked Brown.
“I don’t think we’re going to have that many parking spots during construction so they’ll have to park all the way on the other side,” said Isha Bhatt, who owns a business on 15th Street East.
Bhatt worries about construction causing other issues on the road, and blocking customers from entering her business.
“I have all kinds of customers: pedestrians, car riders, and bike riders,” explained Bhatt. “I think the construction with hurt the vendors, the delivery trucks. They’ll have to park all the way on the other side.”
The intersection has been the site of 12 crashes in the last five years, but none of them were fatal. Bhatt doesn’t think a roundabout is the answer to the intersection’s problems, and suggests another idea that will hold drivers responsible while driving carelessly around pedestrians.
“[A] camera would help us a lot. If we had a very good camera on both sides so people would make sure before they cross the road and everything,” said Bhatt.
FDOT does not install cameras at intersections. According to FDOT spokesperson Robin Stublen, cameras are for “traffic control and do not take photographs.”