You Can Close the Gaps

“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.

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5 replies
  1. NE2
    NE2 says:

    Minor error (I think): the WOT/Pine Hills connection sidepath along the north side of Clarcona-Ocoee ends at Hiawassee. East of there it’s merely a standard-width sidewalk, as best as I can tell.

    • Mighk
      Mighk says:

      Yes, it is a standard-width sidewalk, and will be for the time-being. There are currently no plans to widen it to shared-use path standards, but that could change with enough public support. I’m no fan of sidepaths, but this one is not so bad from a driveway and cross-street standpoint. And of course one can always use the roadway.

  2. NE2
    NE2 says:

    It’s interesting to compare this to other maps:

    City of Orlando Trail Plan, May 2012
    Orange County Trails Master Plan, August 2012
    Florida Greenways & Trails System Plan, October 2012 (mostly on page 9)

    There seems to be good agreement here between the different levels of government.

    One corridor that’s not prioritized, but looks important to me, is north from downtown Orlando. Whatever’s planned along Denning Drive in Winter Park will link the OUT to Maitland’s signed routes, which go through to Casselberry and the Wirz Trail. Farther west, the Lake Fairview Trail would provide a connection to the Clarcona area and its trails, but continuing north on the Seminole Wekiva involves a jog west on Maitland Boulevard.

    • Mighk
      Mighk says:

      There are no plans to continue the Orlando Urban Trail beyond its current scope. There are no suitable corridors for continuous trails north of there, though there may be some opportunities for short connectors. Keep in mind this particular map is about major recreational trail corridors, not local bicyclist or pedestrian mobility.

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