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Prevent another tragedy on US 41 in front of the USFSM campus

This petition had 1,035 supporters

On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, I’m writing to ask for your assistance with our institution’s request to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the authorization to install and activate a traffic signal at the campus entrance driveway located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34243.

The Student Body and University leaders have worked diligently with our State Legislators as well as continuing to try working with the Florida Department of Transportation to resolve the traffic safety issues at our campus on U.S. 41/ Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Since construction began on the current USFSM campus buildings there have been seven documented crashes near all three of our entrances to campus. Recently a pedestrian was hit while crossing the highway near our northern entrance. The severe nature of these accidents demonstrates the daily safety concern of students, faculty, staff and visitors when entering and exiting our campus.

Currently, the local mass transit system does not provide regular service on campus because there is no traffic signal for them to safely access our main entrance driveway. The students have to cross a dangerous seven lane highway just to catch the northbound bus without a crosswalk or median island to protect them from on-coming traffic.

The FDOT has concluded that according to traffic studies the current traffic count does not meet specific warrants for a signalized intersection, under the Uniform System, thereby requiring an administrative waiver. 

However, I would like to respectfully point out that although college and university students differ characteristically from K-12 students, the dangers they are exposed to are the same.  If anything, college students tend to drive on and off campus more frequently because of class scheduling.  Dual-enrolled students from local high schools, though not a portion of the population on our campus at this time, will soon attend our university classes.  The nature of these university class schedules and public events make traffic counts and peak periods imperfect measurements as the FDOT typically applies them. 

Furthermore, the University and the Manatee County government signed a Campus Development Agreement (CDA) specifying the signalized intersection to be located at the main entrance drive.   The entrance drive was constructed in 2006 in accordance with the approved CDA.  The State of Florida paid $469,618.00 in 2005 as concurrency fees to Manatee County in support of the signalized intersection for the University.

In conclusion, the students, faculty, staff and alumni would be thankful for any assistance you can provide as we desperately seek to install a traffic signal, median, and crosswalk, which we have dedicated funds to support, to stem the tide of accidents, injuries, and even deaths affecting our area.

We respectfully request your assistance with the Florida Department of Transportation to authorize the installation and activation of a traffic signal at our campus entrance driveway to U.S. 41/Tamiami Trail located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34243.

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