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15th Street East & 301 Boulevard East Project Development & Environment Study

Project Overview

Project Overview

Manatee County has designated 15th Street East / 301 Boulevard East from Tallevast Road to US 41 as a Complete Streets corridor, so the proposed improvements must adhere to Complete Streets principles and practices. The proposed action involves widening the existing two-lane undivided principal arterial roadway to three lanes, as well as various multimodal enhancements such as bicycle lanes, sidewalk improvements and gap completions and transit (bus) facility improvements.

 

Roundabouts are proposed in the design year 2040 at five intersections where roundabouts perform acceptably (Tallevast Road, Whitfield Avenue, 57th Avenue East, 51st Avenue East, and 49th Avenue East) and traffic signals in the design year 2040 at 63rd Avenue East, 53rd Avenue East (SR 70), 9th Street East, and 44th Avenue East.

 

The study limits of the project extend along 15th Street East from south of the intersection with Tallevast Road to the intersection with 51st Avenue East and along 301 Boulevard East from the intersection with 51st Avenue East to south of the intersection with US 41. The total project length is approximately 4.7 miles.

 

Consistency with Transportation Plan Goals and Objectives

 

The project is identified as a financially feasible transportation improvement project in the Sarasota / Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) adopted December 14, 2015. The project is also included in MPO’s Fiscal Year 2015/2016 – 2019/2020 Transportation Improvement Program adopted on June 22, 2015 and amended on December 14, 2015. The MPO currently ranks this project as #4 in priority in its Project Priorities 2015 adopted on March 23, 2015. The PD&E phase (Work Program Item Segment No. 431350-1) and the design phase (Work Program Item Segment No. 431350-2) for the project are included in the approved FDOT Fiscal Year 2015/2016 – 2018/2019 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Currently, right of way acquisition and construction are not funded in the approved STIP.

 

Need for Project

 

As the first Complete Streets project for Manatee County, the purpose of this project is to provide safer travel conditions for all users of the facility and to improve and enhance mobility and accessibility for multiple modes of transportation along the corridor.  This project is ranked #4 on the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2015 Project Priorities List, adopted March 23, 2015.  The needs for the project are based on the following primary criteria:

 

Primary Criteria

 

Safety: Increase Vehicular, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

 

The crash data collected within the project limits showed 888 crashes for the five-year study period from 2009 through 2013. These 888 crashes involved 7 fatalities, 342 injury crashes causing 577 injuries, and 539 property damage only crashes. All of the fatal crashes occurred at night.  The majority of the crashes were rear-end (46.8%) or angle (25.5%) crashes. Bicycles and pedestrians were involved in 42 of the 888 crashes during the 5-year study period, with 5 of the 7 fatalities involving bicycles and pedestrians.

 

At intersections, actual crash rates exceeded statewide average crash rates for the majority of the major intersections along 15th Street East / 301 Boulevard East, with actual crash rates exceeding statewide average crash rates from 4.8% at Whitfield Avenue to 602.8% at 53rd Avenue East (SR 70).

 

The proposed roundabouts at Tallevast Road, Whitfield Avenue, 57th Avenue East, 51st Avenue East and 49th Avenue East will lower vehicular operating speeds through the intersection. The lower operating speeds and the reduction in the number of conflict points within the roundabout are estimated to reduce severe vehicular crashes 75 to 78 percent over signalized intersections and are estimated to reduce overall crashes 37 to 48 percent over signalized intersections. The lower operating speeds at roundabouts reduce the frequency and severity of bicycle and pedestrian crashes. The splitter islands of the roundabouts allow pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time.

 

Between intersections, actual crash rates exceeded statewide average crash rates for the majority of the roadway segments along 15th Street East / 301 Boulevard East, with actual crash rates exceeding statewide average crash rates from 4.9% (9th Street East to 44th Avenue East) to 135.5% (57th Avenue East to 53rd Avenue East [SR 70]).

 

The installation of a center two-way left-turn lane for the entire length of the project is estimated to reduce the total number of crashes by 20.3%, the number of crashes involving fatalities and/or injuries by 26.1%, and the number of rear end crashes by 38.7%.

 

In addition to addressing safety issues for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users posed by motorized traffic, the project will also improve roadside safety for these non-motorized modes of transportation. Existing steep, open ditches on the shoulders will be filled and replaced with curb and gutter closed drainage systems. Provision of bicycle lanes will reduce conflicts with pedestrians on the new sidewalks. Improved lighting, crosswalks, access management and traffic control will provide a safer environment for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. Transit patronage will be encouraged when safety and accessibility for transit users is improved with enhanced transit amenities.

 

The multimodal enhancements to this corridor will provide safety and mobility improvements. Such improvements are intended to increase safety for all users.

 

 

Modal Interrelationships: Improve and Enhance Mobility and Accessibility for Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Transit Users

 

The existing facility is a two-lane undivided roadway with open ditches and flush shoulders with 0 to 9 feet of shoulder pavement.  Heavy bicycle and pedestrian use was observed along this segment of 15th Street East / 301 Boulevard East during site visits for the project. There is a current lack of safe and continuous non-motorized traffic accommodations and multimodal linkages along the corridor.  Existing sidewalks, where present, are intermittent, unconnected, in disrepair, and not in compliance with current ADA standards.  There are no pedestrian mid-block crossings. There are no existing bicycle lanes or shared use paths.  There is no street lighting along the corridor. Existing bus stops lack ADA-compliant bus pads and sidewalk connections to the bus stops.  There are no bus bays.

 

The key improvements of this project will include multimodal enhancements intended to support the bicycle, pedestrian and transit use of 15th Street East / 301 Boulevard East with safe facilities that are ADA-compliant.

 

 

 

 

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