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Trails alert: What’s new in trails?

Piece by piece, Florida trails are coming together to bridge the gaps in our trail system and give commuters and recreational cyclists miles of local, regional and statewide paths to comfortably ride on.  The City of Orlando’s long-awaited completion of the Orlando Urban Trail into the downtown core via Gertrude’s Walk and the Colonial Pedestrian Bridge will bridge the gap from downtown to a regional and ultimately statewide network of trails.

Trails like this are a proven method for increasing ridership and safety for the riders. If we build it, they will come.

Closing the gaps in downtown Orlando trails

The City of Orlando continues to expand its bike trails and route infrastructure and close gaps in connectivity.

One example, is the two block extension of Gertrude’s Walk in the downtown central business district from Washington to Jefferson that opened in May. It provides a safe off-street path from the existing walk. Walkers and cyclists now have a clear path to LYNX Central Station and SunRail.  Gertrude’s Walk will eventually connect to the north with the Orlando Urban Trail and to the south with the Downtown South Main Street District.

 

 

To safely connect Gertrude’s Walk north to the Orlando Urban Trail, work continues on the Colonial Pedestrian Bridge, expected to open this fall. The trail crossing on Concord Street will be part of Colonial Pedestrian Bridge – continuing Gertrude’s Walk. The bridge will enable pedestrian and bicycle traffic to move safely and unimpeded over busy SR50 and the railroad tracks near I-4.

 

And to extend to the south, Orlando has selected a consultant to design the Downtown Connector Trail from Lake Underhill to the Central Business District via Anderson Street. When built, the trail would add an additional two miles to the network with the largest gap left in the Bicycle Beltway.

The City of Orlando is also working together with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and MetroPlan Orlando to close the remaining gaps in the Orlando Urban Trail network by adding 2.5 miles total of trails to the network – one section just north of W. Colonial Dr. on Orange Avenues and another in the South of Downtown Orlando (SODO) Main Street area along Division Avenue.  The Orlando Urban Trail Gap and Extension Grant will pay for the total project cost.

Residents and students in the Metrowest area will also see some benefits for all road users from collaboration between the City of Orlando, FDOT and MetroPlan. The Kirkman Road Resurfacing and Off-Street Trail Project includes 1.9 miles of off-street trail segments along Kirkman Road and Metrowest Blvd. and provides connection to the Valencia College pedestrian path and also Eagle’s Nest Elementary School.

For a map of Orlando trails click here

Connecting the region

The City of Orlando trail segments will ultimately connect with the Shingle Creek Regional Trail, a joint project involving the City of Orlando, Orange County, Osceola County and City of Kissimmee. When completed, it will total 32 miles and be part of a larger trail network that will reach from Kissimmee to Wekiva Springs State Park, including portions of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail. Some segments in Orlando and Kissimmee are already completed but need to be linked; others are under construction or planned.

Eventually, the Shingle Creek Regional Trail will connect the Pine Hills Trail to the West Orange Trail and the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail.  Orange County completed Phase 1 of the Pine Hills Trail from Alhambra Drive to Silver Star Road last fall and broke ground on its phase 1 of the Shingle Creek Trail from Sand Lake Road to Destination Parkway along Shingle Creek.  Completion of phase 1 is expected in December.

Connecting across the state and beyond

As of March, the latest update in the Seminole and Volusia Counties link of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail has been completed. It includes a shared-use lane on the US 17-92 bridge over the St. John’s River that connects Rinehart Trail and Spring-to-Spring Trail.

More sections of the Coast-to-Coast trail are being worked on in Titusville. The Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, Brevard County, City of Titusville, Space Coast Transportation and Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation have been blazing trails in Titusville with the grand opening of the multi-use trails converging in North Brevard in February. Brevard’s newly installed section of the Florida East Central Regional Rail Trail stretches from Canaveral Avenue to the Volusia County line and will connect with 52 miles of rail trail in Volusia County. The regional trail is part of a larger network of trails including the Coast to Coast Trail, the St. Johns River to Sea Loop, and the East Coast Greenway.

To view the full map of the Coast to Coast Trail click here.

For more updates on over 75 trails across Florida click here

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