The Downtown Master Plan was prepared for the City of Sarasota by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company in conjunction with Cardinal Carlson + Parks, Hall Planning & Engineering, and James Moore. The Master Plan draws upon earlier plans for the downtown, including those of 1986, 1983, and John Nolen’s plan of 1925. This version’s main contribution is an increase in precision, the assignment of priorities, and the provision of tools for implementation - specifically a new zoning code. Since Sarasota is a relatively young city, the Master Plan and zoning code will provide the guidance and discipline needed to bring the city into a period of graceful maturity.
Major themes in the new plan are:
- Connecting the downtown to the bayfront
- A system of walkable streets
- A balanced transportation system
- Walk-to-town neighborhoods
- Civic improvements
- Strategic, pragmatic implementation
To realize the city’s motto, “A city of urban amenities with a small town feeling,” it is necessary to create an urban downtown proper surrounded by small town neighborhoods. The study area of this plan includes the three inner-city neighborhoods, Rosemary, Gillespie Park, and Park East, recognizing that together with the downtown proper they form an integral part of the pedestrian experience and must be conceived of as a single sector.
By designating each of the city’s streets either ‘A,’ pedestrian-oriented, or ‘B,’ auto-oriented, based on what currently exists, the Master Plan provides a guide for future growth. Sarasota will be able to fulfill the potential of its existing street network, creating a cohesive and functional system that facilitates vehicular movement and at the same time creates a viable and pleasant system for pedestrians and bicyclists.