Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Close the Local Bike Trail Gaps, Too

Typical weekend morning--carrying bikes through a muddy, rocky gap in the Cross-Seminole Trail
Governor Scott's budget is calling for record levels of transportation funding--$8.8 billion.  Certainly a small portion can and should fund the closing of gaps in the Coast to Coast Trail through FDOT. Also important is to fund the closing of frustrating gaps in local bike trails.  The gap in the Cross-Seminole Trail, pictured above, is one example.  To its credit, Seminole County has put closing this gap on the front-burner, where it belongs (before some kid slips, falls, and  injures himself on the rocky path).

The extension of Orange County's Little Econ Greenway from Forsythe Road to the Cady Way Trail should not await funding of millions for a pedestrian bridge over Semoran Boulevard.  Cyclists can use the existing traffic light in the interim.  [UPDATE 1/22/2014--An Audubon Park Elementary School student is in critical condition after being struck in a crosswalk at or near this intersection in the last week. A Glenridge Middle School Student, also in a crosswalk, was killed at or near this intersection last Fall.  It's time to accelerate construction of the pedestrian bridge before another tragedy strikes.]  Completion of the Little Econ to Cady Way gap will provide a continuous bike trail and low traffic on-street route from downtown Orlando via the Orlando Urban Trail and Cady Way Trail to the University of Central Florida.  MetroPlan should add this gap to the appropriate 5 year funding budget.  

Completion of the Orlando Urban Trail to Church Street Station would be a welcome addition, but is awaiting funding for a multimillion dollar pedestrian bridge over Colonial Drive, which may take several years. UPDATE 3/7/14: The Bungalower has reported that FDOT included the construction money for the bridge for 2015/2016.

The cost of accomplishing all this would be miniscule compared to the overall $8.8 billion the State of Florida will spend if the legislature approves the Governor's 2014 funding request.