“Close the Gaps” is the new rallying cry among Central Florida trail supporters. Last summer the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation toured the middle of the state touting the potential for a 250-mile Heart of Florida Loop, with spurs connecting to the Gulf of Mexico in Pinellas County and to the Atlantic in Brevard County. Volusia, Brevard, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns Counties are also working to complete the 300-mile River-to-Sea Loop.
Locally, cities and counties in the Orlando metro area are working to close gaps as well. Area trail planning started by finding opportunities for useful corridors, such as the West Orange and Cady Way. Today we have 128 miles of existing trails that serve as the basis for a metro area-wide network. The MetroPlan Orlando Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee has adopted a regionally significant trails network to pull them all into a single coherent vision. Another 24 miles of that network will be built over the next five years, and an additional 27 miles are lined up for when more funding becomes available.
Between now and when those future trail segments are completed, Commute Orlando is going to help you Close the Gaps on your own, by showing you good routes and strategies for making the connections along the existing road system. This will be a series; focusing on a single connection for each installment.
In the meantime, here’s the Big Picture; a map of the metro Orlando trail network. This map does not include spurs off of the main trails, though those are also being planned. A couple of trails have some on-street connections planned from the outset, since continuous corridors are not always available.
To explain the map legend: “Existing” is self-evident; “Funded” means funding is allocated during the next five years; “Prioritized” means it is on the MetroPlan Orlando Prioritized Project List and is eligible for state and federal funding when it becomes available, and “Planned” means it is on a local government trail plan, but likely many years off from completion.