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 February 10, 2015


THE C2C CONNECTOR
Published by: Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation
A Citizens Support Organization of the Office of Greenways & Trails
 
Trails = Strong People. Strong Economy. Strong Communities.
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A group of cyclists get a healthy boost
from their trail ride.













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Enjoying the view and fresh air from
the A. Max Brewer Bridge.




 
By Brian Smith
Former Pinellas County Planning Director and MPO Director, and FGTF Board Member
 
Why are good trails important? Realtors will tell you that proximity to a trail is a key factor in home sales. Employers say that locating near trails is a quality of life issue and helps attract and retain top-level workers. Cities cite it increases tax revenues in their communities. And, businesses report, on average, that one-quarter of their gross revenue is a direct result because of their proximity to the trail. The economic benefits are clear. But, what about the health benefits? Where do we begin…
 
Active Living Research reported that people who live near trails are 50% more likely to be physically active. And, a National Park Service study compared people who live sedentary lifestyles to those who exercise and found exercisers filed 14% fewer healthcare claims and spent 30% fewer days in the hospital. That’s one of the reasons why the
Winter Park Health Foundation and the Space Coast Health Foundation are strong supporters of the Coast to Coast as it provides accessible, widely-available, low-cost opportunities to meet the physical needs of most residents and visitors.
 
The Florida Greenway & Trails Foundation is grateful for their generous support and partnership in helping shape our region’s conversation about the health benefits of trails. We all agree that: Trails = Strong People. Strong Economy. Strong Communities. And, by working together we will achieve all three in no time.

Are your sneakers ready? The C2C awaits…

20 trails, 1 voice
Connecting local trails for a sun-sational experience
Each of the 20 local trails along the C2C route has its own character and charm. The question is how to preserve this charm as the trail becomes part of the 250-mile Coast to Coast Connector from St. Petersburg to Titusville? More than 30 leaders from C2C MPOs and TPOs, city and county governments, FDOT, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways and Trails, Bike/Walk Central Florida, and Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation discussed hiring a consultant to conduct workshops with C2C stakeholders and establish trail design standards that will ensure a unified, sun-sational experience from coast to coast.

The C2C team met in January in downtown Winter Garden to dive deeper into discussions started at the
C2C Summit. Tackling topics like funding, trailheads, safety and signage, this team is expected to meet once a quarter. They will provide guidance for Florida’s first long-distance, regional trail, and set the precedent for future long-distance trail efforts around the state.

Want more C2C? OGT just released the first
C2C status report, which covers the history of the trail’s beginnings, a county-by-county look at existing and planned trail segments, and next steps for stakeholders. This report is expected to be updated every 6 months, and will be available on OGT’s website and in future C2C newsletters. Stay tuned for C2C status updates!
 
Gap by Gap: Space Coast
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Click on the map of the
Space Gap to enlarge.
Map provided by OGT




C2C fans, local elected officials, transportation planners, and health foundation leaders participated in the Space Coast Tour and Trek on November 21, 2014 with the Space Coast TPO. Activities included hiking a portion of the unpaved gap and touring the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Rocket launches. Pristine beaches. A national wildlife refuge. The C2C Space Coast Gap has spectacular beauty and once-in-a-lifetime experiences packed into 14 miles from Titusville to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Space Coast Gap will connect the East Central Florida Regional Rail Trail in Volusia County and the A. Max Brewer Bridge in Brevard County with a new Space Coast trail that will end (or begin) with a dip in the ocean.

Designing and building the east coast terminus of the C2C has its challenges but will be worth the wait. The Space Coast TPO and Florida Department of Transportation must meet guidelines and gain approval from multiple federal agencies in order to build the trail through the Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and NASA/Kennedy Space Center. The Space Coast Trail is funded for an environmental impact study to assess the proposed off-road alignment that will both delight trail users and protect the natural environment.

"It will be the only place in the world where you can ride a bicycle through two national treasures and see rockets launched into space," says Leigh Holt, Multi Modal Program Manager with the Space Coast TPO.
Welcome new DOT and DEP Secretaries
Please join the Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation in welcoming the new Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, Jim Boxold, and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Jon Steverson.

Jim Boxold was appointed Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation by Governor Rick Scott in December 2014. Boxold served as FDOT Chief of Staff since July 2013. Previously, he was the Director of Cabinet of Affairs for the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture from 2003-2013, and as Deputy Director of Cabinet Affairs for Governor Jeb Bush from 2001-2002.
 
Jon Steverson was appointed Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by Governor Scott in December 2014. Steverson served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District since 2012. Prior to that, he served at DEP from 2011 to 2012 as Special Counsel on Policy and Legislative Affairs and acting Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration.
 
The Foundation looks forward to working with both new secretaries.
 
C2C In The News
C2C trail an example of what government does right
Orlando Sentinel, December 12, 2014
For me, the takeaway wasn’t just how the C2C could become a bucket-list addition for adventure seekers, but how it could also be a shining example of how government is supposed to work. It doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, the players deserve recognition. For decades, cities and counties have toiled away, building sections of the trail for local recreation. Now the state is stepping in to fill the gaps and transform local trails into a statewide amenity that will attract worldwide attention. Tourists will be able to cap off a trip to the Magic Kingdom with a look at the real Florida. Or maybe it will be the other way around. Regardless, the effort is worth celebrating.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-cross-florida-trail-beth-kassab-20141212-column.html
 
Coast to Coast: Bicycling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico
Orlando Sentinel, December 2014
An interactive website that includes 3 articles, C2C map, video and photo gallery by Kevin Spear.
Pedaling across Florida is doable – and epic. My own journey went from a wild Atlantic beach and surfers at Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville to an urban brunch scene not far from the Gulf of Mexico in downtown St. Petersburg. With frequent stops for notes and photos, it took nearly a week to navigate current parts and future pieces of the Coast to Coast Connector, a 250-mile-plus journey. Though several years from completion, it already offers a lot of sublime, a few warts and way more adventure than a windshield reveals. The C2C will connect with its users viscerally, commercially, environmentally, and, after a quarter-million pedal strokes or so, leave an adventurer thinking: “Good on me. I saw Florida!”
http://interactive.orlandosentinel.com/coast-to-coast/index.html
 
Health on wheels: Forging new paths
Creative Loafing Tampa Bay – Political Animal, January 8, 2015
A stretch of concrete paths in Pinellas and Pasco counties marks the beginning of a project that would link Florida’s two coasts by pedestrian trail. A $75 million state-level undertaking, the Coast-to-Coast Connector would comprise 250 miles of trail, much of which already exists. Nearly 200 of the trail’s 250 miles are in place, save for a 30-mile stretch near Withlacoochee State Forest. The remaining gaps mostly lie between county lines. When the route is finished, a cyclist could reasonably make it across the state in under a week, traveling 40 or so miles a day and staying at inns along the way.  Supporters say it’ll be an obvious tourism draw when it opens (slated for 2020).
http://cltampa.com/politicalanimal/archives/2015/01/08/health-on-wheels-forging-new-paths#.VMJ92EfF8lJ
 
FDOT announces proposed five-year road program
Daily Commercial, December 14, 2014
In Sumter County, FDOT has begun a feasibility study to evaluate proposed alignments costing $350,000 to look at the South Sumter Connector Trail, spanning 19.5 miles. There is $5 million allocated for the design portion of the trail, but another $5 million remains needed, according to FDOT documents. The South Lake Trail is another project related to Coast to Coast. It is 9.4 miles long and the FDOT has separated it into three projects, the documents state. Right of way and construction of the trail are not funded.
http://www.dailycommercial.com/news/article_27b4283b-b646-5534-958b-33a2033fb39c.html
 
Florida by bike
Florida Trend, October 28, 2014
There are more than 50 paved bike/pedestrian trails throughout Florida, most on former rail lines. Most notably, a push is under way to fill in the gaps between the existing trails in mid-Florida and make it possible, within five years, to bike or walk on a paved trail from downtown St. Petersburg on the Gulf coast all the way across central Florida to Titusville on the Atlantic Ocean. That’s 275 miles of dedicated trail – not bike lanes added to surface roads.
http://www.floridatrend.com/article/17756/florida-by-bike
 
As trails link up, time to hit the road!
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, October 29, 2014
The Coast-to-Coast Connector will span 250 miles from Cape Canaveral to St. Petersburg and will be huge draw for bicycle travelers nationwide, growing in use as each piece of the puzzle snaps into place.  Planners say 69 miles more of Central Florida trails need to be funded, planned, constructed and connected.  Once current construction finishes, we’ll be 73 percent there.
http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20141028/COLUMNS/141029385/1040?p=1&tc=pg
 
Amanda Day: Orlando roads need to be more bike, walker friendly
Orlando Sentinel, January 12, 2015
The Coast to Coast Connector is a huge win not only for Central Florida but also for the entire state. It’s one thing to close the gaps and put the concrete down, but the cities and counties need to devote the time and resources for the upkeep of these trails and there are questions about communication and the signage.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-cfb-talking-with-amanda-day-20150108-story.html
 
Sneak peak of the C2C from Maitland to St. Pete
Bike/Walk Central Florida blog, November 25, 2014
By Nanci Adler. My husband, Don, and I just couldn’t wait for the Coast-to-Coast Connector to be completed. Already contemplating a four-day bike trip in Florida, we decided to use as much of the Connector route as possible to cycle from our home in Maitland to Saint Petersburg. We knew it would entail some meandering and muddling through the unconnected sections, but, as experienced cycle tourists, we figured we were up to the task.
http://bikewalkcentralflorida.org/2014/11/25/sneak-peak-c2c-maitland-st-pete/
 
Florida Face to Face – Senator Andy Gardiner, Senate Republican President-Designate
The Florida Channel, September 10, 2014
Senator Gardiner discusses his preparations and priorities for becoming the next leader of the Florida Senate. At 8:00, Senator Gardiner starts discussing Florida’s bike trails, and from 9:30-12:00, he specifically discusses the Coast to Coast initiative as well as Amendment 1 legislation.
http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/senator-andy-gardiner-senate-president-designate/
 
Lara Bradburn’s Coast to Coast bike trail route will help Brooksville
Tampa Bay Times, October 30, 2014
…put yourself in the cycling shoes of a tourist who wants to tackle all or a portion of the Coast to Coast Connector, which will run between St. Petersburg and Titusville.  Would you like to ride parallel to speeding traffic along a truck route and through the SR 50/U.S. 41 intersection, one of the scariest for cyclists in the county?  Or would you rather cut a mile or so from this journey and ride east along Jefferson Street, turn southwest through Tom Varn Park, skirt the Quarry Golf Course and cruise down an oak-canopied street to the historic train station at the head of the Good Neighbor Trail, which is, by the way, just a few blocks south of downtown?
http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/lara-bradburns-coast-to-coast-bike-trail-route-will-help-brooksville/2204401
 
South Lake named ‘Biker Friendly Community’
Daily Commercial, November 23, 2014
Shannon Hidalgo, chair of the chamber’s Sports and Tourism Committee, said she hopes the designation will keep the focus on trails in south Lake as the state works toward completion of a Coast-to-Coast connector – a trail linking the east and west coasts of Florida, and passing through south Lake.
http://www.dailycommercial.com/news/article_fb49610f-44c2-5c32-97d6-e041d844efca.html
 
Transportation board backs two bike trails through city of Brooksville
Tampa Bay Times, December 11, 2014
A regional transportation planning board has agreed to support not one but two routes to fill a gap in the Hernando County portion of the proposed statewide Coast to Coast Connector bicycle trail. The gap is between the Suncoast Trail and the partly built Good Neighbor Trail, which eventually will run from downtown Brooksville to the Withlacoochee State Trail, about 9 miles to the east.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/transportation-board-backs-two-bike-trails-through-city-of-brooksville/2209850
For more information, email:
Coast2CoastConnector@gmail.com
 

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