SARASOTA AND MANATEE COUNTIES, FL (WWSB) - We know traffic is one of the biggest concerns in the Suncoast community, but is there a better or smarter way to drive? I-75, U.S. 41 and University Parkway may seem like the fastest ways to get around town, but we wanted to find out what the traffic secrets are in our community.
Traffic is a headache for most Manatee County drivers.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, I-75 is the most traveled road in Manatee County seeing between 78,000 and 133,000 drivers every single day.
Close seconds are I-275, State Road 70, State Road 64, Manatee Ave, 1st Street and parts of U.S. 41 and 301. Each of those crowded streets see between 43,000 and 78,000 drivers every day.
Sgt. Mike Kenyan heads up the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit. He sees the most congestion at the Cortez Road and U.S. 41 intersection, the Bayshore Gardens and U.S. 41 intersection and 57th Street at U.S. 41. These intersections have the most traffic and have the most accidents. Kenyan says U.S. 301, I-75 and Lakewood Ranch Blvd are also very congested.
In downtown Bradenton, LT. Brian Thiers and his team see a lot of issues at 1st Street, 9th Street, 14th Street, Manatee Ave and Cortez Road.
As far as solutions to the congestion, the routes taking drivers to and from the barrier islands, unfortunately, law enforcement says there's no way around the congestion. Same goes for drivers crossing the bridges the stretch across the Manatee River.
But there are some congested streets that you can avoid.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office recommends El Conquistador Parkway as an alternative to 41.
East and west, drivers can take Whitfield Avenue, 60th Avenue West and 17th Street in Palmetto.
North and south, there's 26th Street West, 34th Street West, 75th Street West, Lockwood Ridge Road and Lorraine Road as alternatives.
If you need a little bit of help finding these shortcuts, the Google Maps app and another app called Waze both act a as GPSes. They also have real time data of where accidents are, where construction is happening, and where the congestion is. All you have to do is plug in your destination's address, and automatically the apps will tell you your fastest route. You can also get traffic maps and first alert traffic notifications by downloading the ABC 7 app!
Time of day is important to factor in when driving. According to Bradenton Police, rush hours are between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and then again between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Those are the worst times to be on the road.
Throughout his two years delivering flowers for Suncoast Florists, Joe Goda mastered the ins and outs of Sarasota's streets.
There are certain areas that he purposely avoids: University Parkway around UTC, Siesta Key's Ocean Blvd and Beach Road and Tamiami Trail near downtown Sarasota.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office sees the worst traffic and most accidents at the Cattleman Road and Bee Ridge Road intersection and the U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road intersection.
In the City of Sarasota, it's hard for Sarasota Police Department to narrow down where the worst traffic is.
"The entire city is busy," Sgt. Bruce King says. "We have a lot of congestion."
Fruitville Road and U.S. 41 is probably the busiest intersection in the city, according to King. He says the most accidents happen at the Fruitville Road and U.S. 301 intersection.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, I-75 is the most congested road on the Suncoast, seeing anywhere between 78,000 133,000 vehicles every day.
University Parkway, Fruitville Road, Clark Road, U.S. 301 and U.S. 41 are all close seconds. Each route sees between 43,000 and 78,000 vehicles every single day.
Fortunately there are alternative routes to take to avoid those roads and intersections that are most congested. For the most part, Sarasota's roadways are a grid, so there are several options for traveling north and south or east and west.
Goda has a whole list of his preferred shortcuts. Traveling east and west he prefers Ringling Blvd when going downtown. He also uses Webber and Proctor.
12th Street and 17th Street are also less congested east and west routes.
When traveling north and south, Goda prefers Osprey.
If you're not sure what the fastest routes may be, there's an app for that.
Time of day is also important to consider when trying to avoid traffic. Rush hours between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and then again between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. are the worst times to be on the road.
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