Imagine cycling from Florida’s Space Coast all the way across the peninsula to the Pinellas Trail without ever having to share the road with automobiles. Later this year, a dedicated group of government officials and trail advocates will do just that to draw attention to the Coast to Coast Connector.
The Coast to Coast Connector is a significant effort to provide a safe and continuous multi-use trail from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic through Central Florida. The proposed trail would connect Titusville to St. Petersburg, a distance of 275 miles with approximately 75 percent (over 200 miles) of the corridor already developed and open to the public or funded for completion. The estimated cost to complete the remaining gaps is approximately $42 million.
The Connector will connect communities along its entire length into an outstanding route that will allow residents and visitors to explore Central Florida by bike or foot. The Connector includes two of the state’s most popular trails, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail and the West Orange Trail, both of which have fueled the economic transformation of communities, particularly Dunedin and Winter Garden. This corridor also includes significant portions of the developing 51 mile East Central Regional Rail Trail, the longest single rail-trail corridor ever acquired by the state. The Connector will link all or part of existing multi-use trails, developed and managed by a broad range of communities and agencies.
The Connector is a top priority within the Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan which is being implemented by the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, and is the keystone project within the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation’s “Close the Gaps” Campaign. The Foundation has invited a select group of public officials to ride along the complete route later this fall. The public will be encouraged to participate in the ride along segments.
On July 12, the MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee passed a resolution of support for the Connector.
Image and information courtesy of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation.