By John Morton
A three-judge panel on Jan. 25 ruled against Siesta Key resident Jim Wallace in his fight against the Florida Department of Transportation plans to activate traffic signals along Stickney Point Road at Avenue B & C.
The stoplights, which are already erected, were a requirement from Sarasota County when it approved in 2018 the Siesta Promenade project at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. That spot will serve as a main entrance into the 24-acre mixed-use development that will feature 414 apartments and/or condominiums, a 130-room hotel, 133,000 square feet of retail space, and 7,000 square feet of office space.
The ruling, which came in Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in Tampa, came after Wallace’s attorneys made oral arguments Jan. 17. It upholds an earlier ruling by an administrative law judge.
Wallace, who lives near the south bridge, has said that an increase in congestion will further hinder the quality of life on Siesta Key. A traffic study he commissioned showed that the Avenue B & C lights will bring traffic to a standstill there every 85 seconds. It is located just a couple block from a light at U.S. 41 and less than a mile from the light at Midnight Pass Road.
Furthermore, the drawbridge along Stickney Point Road is an active on, causing additional backups.
On Feb. 7, Wallace said he was granted an uncontested two-week extension to decide how to move forward. He said he’d be working with his lawyers on a new plan of attack, but declined to offer details.
He did speak of his disappointment in the ruling.
“Everyone on Siesta Key needs to understand that they were denied due process by this decision of the court. It’s a matter in which folks on Siesta Key deserve to have a say. It’s our primary access road.
“But the FDOT is behaving as if this is like any other light on the mainland. And that’s insane.”