Could traffic cost our region quality?

Could traffic cost our region quality?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Could snowbird-season traffic woes cause residents and visitors to question the Gulf Coast region’s barrier islands as vacation and second-home destinations? That was the sentiment of Longboat Key’s town manager during an April audience with a bicounty transportation planning board, according to this Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, headlined “Island traffic jams jeopardize area’s reputation.”

The paper paraphrased Town Manager Dave Bullock: “If the Sarasota-Manatee area cannot better manage traffic during the next tourism season, he told a transportation planning board Monday, its reputation as a tourist and retirement destination will be in jeopardy.”

While work commute times for the wider four-county Gulf Coast region remain below state and national averages, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data, getting around also continues to be car-focused and Sarasota County registers a higher rate of bicycle injuries than the surrounding region and state. Couple those trends with seasonal population influx and robust overall population growth, and this certainly seems an issue to watch.

You can view more quality-of-life indicators for Sarasota and Manatee counties here.