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Can Someone Please Do Something About the  Traffic Problem in Downtown Bradenton, Florida?

| Sande Caplin |

A few weeks ago, I was at the corner of US 41 and Cortez Road heading into downtown Bradenton.  What should have taken 10-15 minutes at the very most ended up taking almost 45 minutes to reach my destination on Main Street.  Traffic has become an everyday occurrence heading into and out of downtown Bradenton.  The population of the Sarasota-Manatee area continues to surge!  Read article in the Herald-Tribune.

Downtown Bradenton has great retail shops, excellent restaurants, and many different types of businesses.  However, with the growth of the city, the downtown area has become a magnet for traffic and congestion.

One of the main reasons for the traffic congestion in downtown Bradenton is the lack of alternative routes for motorists. The two bridges that connect downtown Bradenton with the rest of the city, the Green and DeSoto bridges, are the only points of entry and exit. These bridges are the primary link for commuters, tourists, and truck drivers, all of whom rely on the bridges to move through the downtown area. With the limited capacity of the bridges, traffic jams are a common occurrence during rush hour (and other hours), causing long delays and frustration for those caught in the traffic.

Moreover, the traffic lights in downtown Bradenton have not been optimized to handle the traffic flow effectively. The traffic lights are not synchronized, causing significant delays in traffic movement. At times, pedestrians crossing the road can also hinder the flow of traffic, resulting in impatient drivers honking and adding to the chaos of an already congested area.

The two main causes of traffic in downtown Bradenton are the traffic lights and the two bridges that come into the area. Let’s start with the traffic lights. There are several intersections in the downtown area that are notorious for causing delays. For example, the intersection of Manatee Avenue West and 14th Street West is a common spot for traffic jams. The traffic from the bridge and the traffic coming from downtown converge at this point, creating a bottleneck that slows traffic to a crawl.

Another intersection that sees a lot of traffic is the corner of 9th Street West and Manatee Avenue West. This intersection handles traffic from both the Green and DeSoto Bridges, as people travel into and out of the downtown area. The problem is that the lights at this intersection take a long time to change, which creates long wait times and backups.

I contacted an official who works for the City of Bradenton, and we spoke about the traffic issues.  At the request of the official, his/her name is anonymous!

To address the traffic problem in downtown Bradenton, there are several possible solutions that could help alleviate the issue. Firstly, the city could invest in an intelligent transportation system (ITS) with real-time data that would help synchronize the traffic lights in the downtown area. By using smart technology, the system could adjust the timings of the traffic lights according to the traffic flow at different times of the day, ensuring smooth movement of traffic. This would help reduce congestion, improve travel time, and minimize fuel consumption, thus saving money for motorists.

Secondly, the city could also consider introducing more public transportation options, such as a light rail system or a bus rapid transit (BRT) network. These alternatives would offer residents and visitors to downtown Bradenton a quicker, more efficient way to traverse the city, without contributing to the existing traffic congestion. Encouraging the use of public transportation could also help reduce the number of personal vehicles on the road, further reducing congestion and pollution levels.

Thirdly, the city could hire a team of traffic engineering experts to conduct a thorough analysis of the traffic patterns in downtown Bradenton. This would help identify the busiest areas and routes, and the best measures that can be taken to alleviate congestion. Moreover, the team could help in designing an optimal traffic signal system, optimizing the routes and speeds that would best fit the needs of the city’s residents and visitors.

The traffic congestion problem in downtown Bradenton is a growing concern that needs attention. While there is no single solution to address the problem, the city could implement a combination of measures, such as revising the traffic lights,

improving public transportation, hiring traffic engineering experts, and increasing the number of bridges, to alleviate traffic congestion in the downtown area. By doing so, the city can improve travel time, reduce pollution levels, and make the downtown area a more attractive and welcoming place for residents and visitors alike.

Do you agree that there is a traffic issue in downtown Bradenton?  We welcome your comments.  Also, contact your local politicians and decision makers expressing your concerns.

Read- More development coming to downtown.

City of Bradenton
Manatee County Government
Manatee Chamber of Commerce

Photo from Deposit Photos

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