St. Armands

Residents Association

Traffic & Safety

St. Armands Key is a destination in and of itself, as well as a traffic chokepoint:  you must travel through St. Armands to get back and forth between mainland Sarasota and Lido Beach and Longboat Key.

St. Armands is a small island shared by approximately 200 houses, 50 condos, an outdoor, pedestrian shopping district with approximately 150 shops and eateries, a Lutheran church, and a park that hosts various special events.  But, it is also the only direct way to reach Lido and Longboat Keys by vehicle from downtown.  This means that the residents who are out for a walk, the visitors who are shopping and dining and crossing over to the park, and the people attending a church service all have to share the island's roadways with the vehicular traffic from all the residents, visitors, guests, employees, contractors and service providers going to and from Lido and Longboat, which offer beaches, parks, marinas, hotels and clubs as attractions.  

Many consider the roadways through St. Armands to already be broken because the Circle becomes practically impassible certain hours of the day in-season, especially on a good beach day.  There is also the drawbridge to Longboat that has to be raised for sail boats periodically and which can lead to traffic back-ups all the way through the Circle.  These are inconveniences at best and a public safety issue at worst:  pedestrians must exercise extreme caution and emergency vehicles may have difficulty getting through.  

The worst traffic weeks of the year tend to correspond to school vacations:

    • The week between Christmas and New Year 
    • Presidents' Day week (February)
    • St. Patrick's Day week (March)
    • The weeks before and after Easter

Holiday weekend evenings in the summer can also be bad traffic times (e.g. Memorial Day, 4th of July).

General Traffic & Safety News and Information

January 10, 2023

The City experienced what can happen when lanes are closed for people leaving the barrier islands.  It wasn't a remarkable day, and it wasn't a particularly busy time of year, but traffic backed up from downtown to past the Longboat Publix when roundabout construction required the closure of all but one eastbound lane.  There was no forewarning, and apparently people missed flights and medical appointments, and the phones at City Hall and the police department were ringing off the hook with people calling in to complain. 

Observer Article:  Surprise roundabout lane closure outrages Sarasota, Longboat

April 27, 2023

In this Sarasota Magazine article, community leader Jon Thaxton responds to this question:  Can we avoid the same fate as Fort Lauderdale?  His response:

“It’s too late. It already has happened—it just hasn’t been built yet. We have duplicated Fort Lauderdale in our collective comprehensive plans. It’s all approved. The only difference is Fort Lauderdale is largely built and ours is approved and waiting to be built. Get used to it. People complain about the traffic today. You haven’t even seen any traffic compared to what you’re going to see.”

April 4, 2024

City email with police data regarding traffic accidents on St. Armands.

St. Armands Residents Association

P.O. Box 2482, Sarasota, FL  34230

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