• Lawmakers in Florida agree to $50 million for a 275-mile coast-to-coast trail

    by  • April 24, 2013 • Bicycle Friendly Places, Transportation Trails • 2 Comments

    “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…Make big plans, aim high in hope and work.”  – Daniel H. Burnham US architect & city planner (1846 – 1912)

    sports.Pintrail

     The Cross Bayou Bridge, part of Florida’s Pinellas Trail

    Although not in Governor Rick Scott’s proposed budget, Florida lawmakers agreed last week to authorize $50 million dollars for a 275-mile trail to link Florida’s east and west coasts.

    Let’s take a moment to savor a couple of those numbers:

    275 miles

    50 million dollars

    The 275-mile trail would cross Florida from St. Petersburg to Titusville. The money would be used to purchase land to connect existing trails already in place.

    Pinellas_Trail

    Florida’s Pinellas Trail

     

    The ambitious and visionary improvement proposed by Florida’s lawmakers for next year’s budget is based on Florida’s recent experience with smaller trails.

    Florida’s eight state trails and the Cross Florida Greenway had more than four million visitors, generating an estimated direct economic impact of $95 million a year.

    The Pinellas Trail, which links the Florida cities of St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater and Dunedin, including the great Cross Bayou Bridge (pictured at top of this article), has been a bonanza. Dunedin, a pleasant town with many shops and restaurants and with the Gulf of Mexico just two blocks away, was transformed by the Pinellas Trail. Before the trail, private business occupancy rates were 30 percent. After the trail, they were 95 percent.

    In Delaware, even if we had all the money in the world, we couldn’t build a 275 mile (straight!) trail. But, for our size, we have projects that are at least as awesome, “bicycle highways” connecting our major cities:

    WNJ_Wilm-NCThe Georgetown to Lewes Trail

    Wilmington – Newark Pathway

    Wilmington – New Castle Greenway

    Smyrna to Dover Pathway

    There is no money programmed for construction for any of these projects yet. And, since there is no money for DelDOT’s Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program in the Governor’s current proposed budget, just as in Florida, it will be up to lawmakers in Delaware to show the same vision as Florida’s lawmakers.

    We invite you to register for the May 1 summit and join your neighbors to encourage our elected representatives in Dover to seize the opportunity to fund DelDOT’s Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program; to make Delaware more walkable and bikeable; to improve our quality of life; to make Delaware more attractive to companies considering relocating here; to make it easier and more fun for people to get the daily exercise they need to maintain their health; to spur Delaware tourism; to create jobs; and to build these great bicycle highways.

     

      James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.

     

     

     

     

    RELATED:

    • Fla. lawmakers agree to $50 million for trail (Miami Herald)

    Register for Walkable Bikeable Delaware 2013 Summit

    Program for Walkable Bikeable Delaware 2013 Summit

    • Reason #2: Because to exploit the benefits of bicycling, Delaware needs a low-stress, family-friendly and seamless bikeway network

    • Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program authorization cut to zero in proposed DelDOT capital bill

    • “State Authorized Funding for Bicycling Improvements” Tops 2013 Vote

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    2 Responses to Lawmakers in Florida agree to $50 million for a 275-mile coast-to-coast trail

    1. April 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Still, the roads of Florida leave much to be desired almost forcing cyclists to use trails like this. Still, that’s a great financial commitment!

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