Frequent crashes at curve on Siesta Key prompt calls for safety upgrades

Along Siesta Drive nearing La Paloma and Higel Avenue, shattered glass and a few car parts litter the roadway and grass – signs of cars ending up where they shouldn't be.

"It's a constant problem. Since we owned the house, it's happened at least 30 times, that we know of," said Sean Lindsey, who has seen numerous vehicles crash into the park, traffic signs and even the cement wall outside his home. "It's happened three times in the last week."

Luckily, the recent crashes have only involved objects that can be replaced. Sean doesn't want it to get worse.

"There could be a head-on collision if we are walking our dog or I’m out for a run or I’m walking my son. Any of the neighbors. People walk through here all the time. There’s a sidewalk right there. People, this is a neighborhood where people are always walking on and commuting. The traffic around here there could be some crazy accidents," he said.

A joint traffic study in 2017 between the Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office resulted in the speed limit around the curve being dropped from 40 to 25. Yet, residents say they continue to see problems. 

The group called Make Siesta Drive Safer was formed in 2019 and they are again working toward a solution.

"I would just hear stories from different neighbors like cars ending up on rooftops, cars crashing through privacy walls," said Dee Reams in 2019.

Sean said little has changed since that time. Back in 2019, there had been four fatal accidents within two years. 

The Florida Department of Transportation installed several flashing lights on both sides of the road to warn drivers to slow down to 25mph before the turn. There is also an electronic speed radar sign for both directions of traffic that flashes the words "Slow Down" if it detects a vehicle going over the speed limit. 

FDOT has also installed arrow signs to warn drivers where the curve is and how to best navigate it.

The Florida Department of Transportation in a statement said, "safety is always one of our top priorities, we also have resurfacing of this road prioritized in our five-year plan."

Meanwhile, a driver hit the signs and brought them down just a short time ago.

"There’s a lot of opportunity here, you can save a lot of lives potentially, and save a lot of injuries from happening. This had gotten ridiculous at this point," he said.

The Sarasota Police Department said a second study was conducted between September and October of this year, at Siesta Dr. and Camino Real, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour.

The study revealed that 36,047 vehicles traveled through the area at an average speed of 32.6mph and 85% were traveling at 40mph; 31,532 were at or under the speed limit.