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 August 17, 2016

Published by: Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation
Advocating for and educating the public about Florida's emerging system of greenways and trails
Where the River Meets the Sea
Connecting the St. John's River-to-Sea Loop Trail

Trails are connectors. Of people to places, past to present.  Look no further than the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Trail (SJR2C) emerging on Florida’s east coast.
Connecting St. Augustine to Titusville and the St. Johns River to the Atlantic Ocean via the
A1A Scenic Byway, the SJR2C is a 250+ mile loop around Flagler and Volusia counties. The SJR2C is poised to become a safe, convenient travel option for two wheels or two feet – with proximity to the DeBary SunRail station and with three overlapping trails: Coast to Coast Trail, Heart of Florida Loop, and East Coast Greenway Trail.
The good news is partial completion hasn’t stopped locals and visitors from exploring and experiencing authentic Florida.  Picture endless ocean panoramas, untouched rural countryside, and native flora and fauna.  The route is bursting with destinations and landscapes that beg you off of your bike - whether it’s a museum of Florida memorabilia, picture-perfect sunset, or restaurant whose tables offer built-in pancake griddles for your cooking pleasure.
For these reasons and more, The Florida Greenways & Trails Council recommended the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop as a top funding priority for the SUN Trail program. This means approximately a third of the $25 million annual SUN Trail funding will be dedicated to closing the gaps in the SJR2C.
Connect with the SJR2C trail experience. Visit
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SUN Trail: Top 10 Things You Need to Know
It’s a big deal, Florida trail lovers. Here’s what you need to know about the state’s new SUN Trail program:
  1. SUN Trail, the Florida Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail program, is one funding source for the development of the statewide system of connected, paved trails (think traveling from the Panhandle to Key West without a plane, train, or automobile).
  2. $25 million of the state budget is allocated annually to develop the SUN Trail Network, thanks to the 2015 Florida Legislature.
  3. To be eligible for funding, trails have to be a component of the SUN Trail Network which is aligned with the Florida Greenways & Trails System (FGTS).
  4. Up to $50 million will be available in the first year of SUN Trail funding (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017).
  5. Florida’s Coast to Coast Trail is the top regional trail system funding priority. The St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop is the second.  Both were selected for priority funding by the Florida Greenways and Trail Council.
  6. Individual trails are also eligible for SUN Trail funding, and applications are under review now by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
  7. Selection criteria for funding includes safety, importance to the region or state, public support, connectivity, environmental enhancement or preservation, and construction readiness.
  8. FDOT is expected to announce the first round of SUN Trail projects selected for funding no later than September.  Some projects may be subject to legislative budget commission approval.  Once approved, they will be programmed into the Five Year Work Plan and funds will be available.
  9. SUN Trail funding does not include amenities associated with trail projects such as bike racks, benches, landscaping or signage, nor does it include trail maintenance or operation.
  10. SUN Trail is a huge win for the state of Florida, and you can expect these trails to benefit the economy, health and safety of communities throughout the entire state for years to come.
Unifying a World-Class Destination


A rendering of a potential Coast to Coast trail intersection with the new design overlay.
250 continuous miles. 20 local trails. 1 extraordinary experience.

Yes, we’re talking about the
Florida Coast to Coast Trail.  From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, the C2C will be a world-class destination where you can jump off your bike to shop or dine right next to the trail, or walk for miles through a forest with not a soul in sight.
The challenge lies in connecting the twenty established local trails throughout nine counties into one unique trail experience with global appeal.  That’s why the C2C Leadership Team,
Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) and East Central Florida Regional Planning Council secured a Florida Department of Economic Opportunity grant to study trail opportunities and create a unifying theme for the C2C.  Their Design Overlay Report, approved at the June 2016 C2C Leadership Team meeting, identifies a brand for the C2C including a new logo (above left) that can be used throughout the 250-mile corridor to enhance the trail user’s experience. 
Recommendations for wayfinding signage, design standards, landscaping and amenities such as trailheads, restrooms, art and lighting are also included in the report as a guide for both existing trail segments and new construction.  In July 2016, a major regional alliance, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee and Central Florida MPO Alliance, approved a resolution in support of the findings. 

To build on this momentum, the TBRPC secured another grant for a complementing study.  This time, they will be establishing a marketing toolbox, implementation guide for managers, official C2C website and new economic impact analysis.  Stay tuned for C2C updates!
In The News
SUN Trail-oriented Development: Capitalizing on Florida’s newest attraction
Orlando Business Journal, August 4
A whirring, clicking swarm is headed to Central Florida, and business owners and developers would do well to prepare for it.  Excited bicyclists are getting ready to take advantage of Florida’s newly constructed pedestrian and bicycle trails, which will bring the Orlando area new business opportunities. A new style of development, known as “trail-oriented development,” takes advantage of new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to cater to those interested in incorporating a more active lifestyle into their everyday routines. That population is large and growing. According to the U.S. Census, bicycling is now the country’s fastest-growing method of commuting. Considering the SUN Trail program’s ultimate goal of creating a network of regional super trails crisscrossing Florida, developers and business owners can get a head start on the competition by planning now for the bicycle enthusiasts flocking to Florida’s newest amenity.
A wise investment in Florida trails can transform our lives
Orlando Sentinel, June 27
It’s trails’ role as change agent that gets government to invest in them. Trails are good for getting people out of cars for short travel. As the most recent (2010) National Household Survey of the League of American Bicyclists shows, half of all trips are three miles or less and 72 percent are driven. Private cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs account for 60 percent of trips a mile or less. Accordingly, we either keep adding road lanes that cost a Central Florida average of $13 million a mile or build trails that cost only a tenth of that. Even a small portion of these savings could supply the amenities to induce many more people to bike where they’re going. That’s why the 2014 Legislature authorized $125 million for a network of cycling and walking trails comparable to a road system across county lines. We are right to keep investing in trails because they drive our hopes.
Trails in Volusia, Flagler to leap forward with state grant
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, June 8
For supporters and local officials looking forward to completion of the 150-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop trail, news that it landed a top spot in a state grant program and would be eligible for tens of millions in construction money is like switching suddenly from a tricycle to a 24-speed road bike. “It’s a windfall for Volusia County and the other coalition members,” said Tim Baylie, Volusia County’s director of parks, recreation and culture. “We’re doing cartwheels that we finally got this funding.” Over the life of the state Department of Transportation’s SUN Trails program, Baylie figures it could mean an estimated benefit to Volusia County of about $65 million.
Where we stand: Ease traffic with auto alternatives
Orlando Sentinel, June 4
The popularity of recreational biking is well documented. Bike trails criss-cross Central Florida and the Coast to Coast Connector that will link St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast with Titusville on the Atlantic side of the state is nearing completion. Even when biking is used solely for commuting or errands, it still has important side benefits. It provides exercise, relieves road congestion and has a positive impact on air pollution. There is no going back on mass transit in Central Florida. Road projects are nearly at their limit to ease congestion between growing suburbs and urban employment centers. And quality of life issues are important to new employers and residents.
Florida cycling, walking trails blossom
Orlando Sentinel, April 9
Progress in building trails for cycling and walking in Florida has been sporadic and sometimes nonexistent for years. But now with $25 million rolling into a state program every year, trail activity has blossomed so that wish-list maps depicting state-crossing and multicounty-loop routes stand to become reality even within this decade. As Florida assembles segments to complete the nearly 250 miles of its Coast to Coast Connector from the Atlantic Ocean past Orlando to Tampa Bay, an even more adventurous route inked on state planners’ mapping appears increasingly doable. Though no schedule has been set, bike riders and hikers one day be able to trek more than 800 miles from Pensacola to Key West, with the choice of hugging either Florida’s west or east coast.
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