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City Hall
1565 First Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2015
Contact: Jan Thornburg, Sr. Communications 941-954-2613




Sarasota, FL: To help alleviate increased seasonal traffic congestion in busy downtown Sarasota, the current traffic signal configuration at Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue will be replaced with new equipment which will sense the presence of vehicles and change the light accordingly.  The removal and installation of the traffic lights will occur overnight on Tuesday, April 7, with the new signals becoming operational immediately on Wednesday, April 8. 


Drivers are strongly encouraged to be alert and watch for traffic changes.



With the new configuration, the left turn signal will be incorporated into the traffic signal overhead, making it a five section head, offering drivers various options, including a protected green left arrow as well as a standard green light to yield to oncoming traffic.  It will be similar to the traffic signal one block north at Orange Avenue and Main Street.  The current system at Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard only allows protected left turns, so drivers must wait for the signal to cycle through before they can proceed, even if there is no oncoming traffic.


“Right now, cars stack up past the left turn lane at the Ringling/Orange intersection and that causes gridlock for those drivers trying to go straight thru,” said City Engineer Alex Davis Shaw.  “With the new all-in-one signal head system, drivers no longer will sit at the light when there isn’t oncoming traffic.  They’ll be able to yield on green and then make their left turn. We anticipate that will help traffic flow significantly.”


Currently, the left turn signal is a separate piece of equipment, on a separate span wire away from the traffic signal head.  That configuration was implemented in 2012 to facilitate traffic flow during the construction of roundabouts on Ringling Boulevard at Palm Avenue and Pineapple Avenue.


While a future roundabout is planned at the Ringling Boulevard/Orange Avenue intersection in 2017, it was determined that with recent increased seasonal traffic, it would be beneficial to modify the traffic signals now prior to the roundabout construction.   


To help ease traffic congestion on U.S. 41, the Florida Department of Transportation added a thru lane and a dedicated right turn lane at the Fruitville Road intersection at the request of the City earlier this month.

For more information contact Alex Davis Shaw, City Engineer:  941-365-2200 ext. 4181.                                             




About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by Google as a Digital Capital in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida's Suncoast with 53,000 year round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at


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City Hall 1565 1st Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 365-2200