Ringling Trail complete street recognized as project of the year in Sarasota

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Florida Construction News staff writer

The Ringling Trail complete street project in Sarasota has been recognized as the project of the year by the American Public Works Association (APWA) Florida Chapter.

Construction transformed Ringling Boulevard into a complete street in December 2022 with enhanced bicycle safety and expanded multimodal and connectivity opportunities between The Legacy Trail, downtown Sarasota and the Bayfront. The Trail extends one mile between Lime and Pineapple avenues and features protected bike lanes for a safer road experience for recreational cyclists and commuters.

The Project of the Year award was given in the category “Transportation: $2 million – $5 million”.

“This is a significant recognition,” said City Engineer Nikesh Patel. “For the Ringling Trail Complete Street to rise to the top and be recognized as Project of the Year is an honor. Congratulations to the entire project team and the community for this successful project.”

APWA judges considered many criteria for the Project of the Year, including community need, commitment to sustainability, accomplishments under adverse conditions, economic challenges and creative use of resources.

“This was the first protected bicycle lane project in the Sarasota-Manatee region, coupled with lane repurposing, and community conversations occurred during the pandemic,” said Assistant City Engineer Dan Ohrenstein. “We embarked on extensive community outreach online which, while challenging, resulted in higher citizen interest and participation than previous Public Works engagement meetings.”

Ringling Boulevard between US 41 and Lime Avenue was identified as a potential complete street in 2019 when the City Commission approved the Multi-Modal Connections Plan.

The $2.7 million Ringling Trail Complete Street project was funded through the Sarasota County Penny Sales Tax, Economic Development Funds, multimodal impact fees and federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

Cost-saving and sustainability measures included conducting construction engineering and inspection services in-house and reallocating concrete parking wheel stops as bicycle lane dividers.

“More cyclists are traveling between The Legacy Trail and downtown core since the protected bike lanes were installed along the Ringling Trail and that’s translating into  economic growth,” said City Manager Marlon Brown. “To have public works professionals from around the state take note and declare it Project of the Year is icing on the cake.”

The APWA Florida Chapter membership includes professionals from the public and private sectors who specialize in engineering and technology, transportation, storm water management, right-of-way issues, fleet services, emergency management and more.

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