Strategic trail connections can make biking easier than driving

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about the importance of connector trails.

There are 2 trails near my home that make strategic connections to destinations. One is the Mead Garden trail (which used to be part of my commute to Maitland), the other is Cady Way.

I use the Mead Garden trail whenever I go to Winter Park or Maitland. Using it to get to downtown Winter Park actually makes an easier route than any I could use by car. By car, I would have to drive out to 17-92 or endure the horrible bricks on Lake Sue & Lakeview (they are intolerably rough even for a car driver), and then I would still have to hunt down a parking space and walk from wherever I parked to my destination. Here’s what the route options looks like (blue is by bike, red are by car):


View larger map

The other great advantage is lack of traffic. Even at rush hour, I might encounter 1/2 dozen cars between my house and Winter Park. Tuesday night, I went up there for a gathering of friends at rush hour, I forgot it was even rush hour. There were a bunch of cars queuing at Bumby and Corrine, but a motorist stopped short of Cole and waved me to come in front of him. I think I was passed by 4 cars the entire trip.

The Cady Way trail is a regular part of my routes. I use it to get to Publix, the bank, my massage therapist, and other destinations in Baldwin Park. It’s a slightly longer way to get to Baldwin Park than by car, but when you add in a traffic light, stop signs and time to park the car, there is very little difference in time. And going by bike is just way more pleasant with the lake and the birds and all. One afternoon, I even got a white ibis escort!

I also use Cady Way to get to Best Buy and the Colonial Promenade. Those destinations are much quicker for me to access by bike than by car because of Cady Way. At rush hour, other than crossing Maguire, I have very little exposure to traffic. If I were to try to go to one of these destinations by car, I’d be sitting in a traffic jam.

Here’s that route (blue is by bike, red is by car):


View larger map

Even though Cady Way isn’t thought of as a connector trail, the fact that it intersects a lot of low-volume streets allows it to serve this purpose in Orlando. It would be nice if it had similar connectivity/access out past 436.

Are you using trails to access important destinations? Let us know what trails you’re using and how.

Shortly, I will be posting a collaborative map where you can indicate easements you’ve noticed and other potential for short connector trails to increase access to destinations via pleasant streets.

12 replies
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    “Are you using trails to access important destinations?”

    No.

    “Let us know what trails you’re using and how.”

    No and no.

    I tried using them, but you know why I don’t anymore. I hate dodging pedestrians and skaters.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      the presence of peds and skaters depends on the time of day, or day of the week. I rarely see anyone on Mead Garden trail and sometimes pass a few cyclists on Cady Way

  2. LisaB
    LisaB says:

    My children and I routinely use the Cross Seminole Trail in Tuskawilla to access the Winter Springs Town Center (Publix, Tijuana Flats, drycleaners and Saturday farmers market) and Winter Springs High School. We also cycle to events held at school and the Central Winds Park (Scottish Highland Games, Fourth of July fireworks) so we don’t have to deal with traffic/parking.

    If we take the trail in the opposite direction, we’re able to access downtown Oviedo and our favorite Sunday breakfast joint, the Town House restaurant. The kids also use the trail when riding their bikes to friends’ houses. Because the trail intersects several cross streets in Tuskawilla, it’s a fast and easy way for them to travel the ‘hood from our home.

    Trails are also part of my 23-mile commute to work (my office is located at Lee Vista Center near Orlando International Airport). I work my way through various subdivisions to the Cross Seminole Trail at Tuskawilla Rd. Eventually I pick up the Cady Way trail and ride it to the Fashion Square Mall trailhead. From there I pick up Maguire and work my way to OIA via Crystal Lake, Michigan and Semoran. Here’s a link to that route: http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/fl/winter%20springs/442127018020951999

  3. Angie
    Angie says:

    We use the Cady Way trail regularly. It takes us to so many of our destinations that I couldn’t even list them all! It makes up a large part of Jesse’s commute and also takes us to our library, a number of shopping destinations, as well as most of the way downtown.

    When I commute to work, I use the Little Econ trail to get out to UCF.

    Can’t wait to see the map!

  4. alexcopeland
    alexcopeland says:

    The only trail that I use daily is the Kiwannee trail. It’s a short little connection that starts next to the skating rink in Casselberry and ends on oxford next to my daughter’s elementary school. I take her too and from school on the xtracycle via this trail. Its very scenic and pleasant. I almost never encounter skaters and other pedestrians but when I do have folks in the way I simply ring the bell and get a friendly step aside and a “hello!” in return.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Alex,
      I used to use that one to get to David’s World when I lived in that area. I understand they’re soon making a proper connection with Wilshire (replacing the bollard obstacle course that’s there now).

      • alexcopeland
        alexcopeland says:

        Yeah, I actually had to dodge a few yellow vested surveyors there last week. I’m not sure why they didn’t make that connection better from the start. Seems like a no brainer.

  5. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    I use Cady Way Trail for about 3/4 of my commute from home into Downtown Orlando. While I know several other ways to get from here to there, the Trail makes it o-so-easy. It’s the reason I started commuting in the first place …

    Eric, really? I know you like to ride slow, so I assumed that pedestrians and skaters would not be a problem to you. Even dogs on leashes shouldn’t be a problem unless you are flying ……

    I’m not seeing any more morning traffic on the trail, but afternoon traffic has picked up considerably with the nicer weather. It will be like this for another 2 months before the heat of summer drives most people inside …..

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      “Eric, really? I know you like to ride slow, so I assumed that pedestrians and skaters would not be a problem to you. Even dogs on leashes shouldn’t be a problem unless you are flying ……”

      Maybe it is better now. The few times I tried it a few years ago, seemed like I had to stop abruptly several times for pedestrians, dog walkers, inline skaters, etc.

      I have and use a bell, but it didn’t make a difference.

  6. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    I’d also like to comment that whatever City Dept. is in charge of the trails (is it Parks and Rec?) is doing a good job with Cady Way Trail keeping it nice and clean. Many mornings on my commute I pass Maintenance crews out mowing and blowing the trail clean; today I passed a tree- trimming crew working overhead on trees near WPHS that overhang the trail.

    • malisa
      malisa says:

      andrewp – the cady way crosses three governments – city of orlando, winter park, and orange county so we have a tri-party agreement that pays a contractor to do the maintenance and it is overseen by the parks and rec departments. i will be sure to pass on your compliments to our parks division manager, its nice to hear the good comments : ) thanks!

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