JORGE BLANCO'S BRAVO! A CITY OF VISIONARIES, ROUNDABOUTS, AND THE ARTS

A look at successful roundabout projects in Sarasota, click on photo to read complete article by Ken Sides, P.E., PTOE / February 22, 2021

C-Squared General Contractors Inc. constructed this roundabout under a $875,914 contract with the city. The Bravo! artwork was purchased for $150,000 using Public Art Funds.

The Bravo! artwork in the roundabout central island comprises three separate 18-ft tall sculptures that were joined during the installation process. The sculptures are made of stainless steel and aerospace aluminum and finished with power-coated paint to withstand the elements.

Design services for the roundabout were provided by Sam Schwartz Engineering in Tampa, Florida, with Greg Trim as lead design engineer. Trim has designed more than 100 modern roundabouts, of which more than 40 have been constructed to date. The Bravo! roundabout was made possible at that time because the design was privately funded by a Sarasota resident who wished to see Sarasota’s downtown roundabout aspirations accelerated.

Vehicular traffic traversed the prior, conventional intersection at 35 mph. By design, the bus-friendly modern roundabout caps all vehicle speeds below 20 mph. The signalized prior intersection was awkward and intimidating for pedestrians, who had to walk a single-stage 90-ft crossing. At the new roundabout, pedestrians walk only 14 ft across one lane of approaching traffic to the roundabout splitter island where they can comfortably wait for a safe gap in the slow-moving exiting traffic before walking the 14-ft second stage of the crossing. Careful design made it possible for the roundabout to fit within the constrained urban setting with no need to purchase right of way.

The Florida DOT provided Local Agency Program funding for construction. The roundabout opened in July 2018 “to rave reviews from residents and users” alike, according to Shaw. The roundabout has proven to solve both traffic congestion and concerns for pedestrian safety. An example of context-sensitive design in an urban setting, it won the 2019 Small Projects Award for Engineering Excellence conferred by the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers.