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The Seminole Wekiva Trail is a beautiful 14-mile multi-use trail used by bicyclists, joggers, walkers, skateboarders and skaters, including people with disabilities. On any given day, you will encounter any or all of these enthusiasts enjoying the trail, and you’ll also eventually come to an intersection of a roadway that you’ll need to cross. But how do we ensure that these crossings are optimal for the safety and comfort of all trail and road users?
That’s what a team from Seminole County Public Works and Planning, Florida Department of Health, Bike/Walk Central Florida and some Seminole County active residents rode in to review during a recent trail audit. On May 7, the seats of their bikes along the trail became the offices of seven members of a Seminole County trail audit team.
The group was tasked with reviewing trail and roadway signage, striping and signal timing where the trail intersects roads; landscape maintenance so signs can be clearly seen; and visibility from the riders’ and drivers’ perspectives. They noted their observations and submitted recommendations to Seminole County. Some examples of these recommendations at different intersections included:
- Install additional signage to alert drivers of trail crossing
- Plant additional trees on certain sections for shade and cooling
- Add additional in-trail markings
- Relocate pedestrian push buttons at some locations where cyclists can reach from their bikes
- Consider adding “Do not block trail” signs where private driveways emerge
- Consider footrest stops for cyclists near push button signals and road crossings (easier for cyclists to stop there and use signal)
- S.R. 434 & Orange Ave.
- S.R. 436 & Laurel Ave.
- Seminole Wekiva Tr. & Spring Oaks Blvd.
- Seminole Wekiva Tr. & E.E. Williamson Rd.
- Longwood Markham Rd. & Via Bonita St.
- H.E. Thomas Jr. Pkwy. & International Pkwy.
Greater connectivity and mobility: Seminole County Master Trails Master Plan
In addition to being a safe place for everyone to enjoy recreational activities, trails often function as transportation corridors. The Seminole County Board of County Commissioners is updating its Trail Master Plan to add another 100 miles of trails and invest upwards of $90 million over the next 10 to 15 years to address greater connectivity.
“The master plan looks forward another 10 or 15 years and says what are other opportunities we have in this system,” said Richard Durr director of Seminole County Leisure Activities in an interview with Spectrum News 13. “We want to create these connections between neighborhoods and trails, between schools and trails, between businesses and trails. The ultimate goal is to connect the Coast-to-Coast Trail to Seminole County so that anyone can bike from the east to west coast.”
“The audit team hopes that these recommendations will help as Seminole County moves forward with its Master Trails Plan and beyond,” said Bike/Walk Central Florida’s Emily Hanna. “More and more people are using the trails, and we want them to feel safe and comfortable when doing so and crossing the roadways. Seminole County has a great trail system and our focus today was to make it even more comfortable and safe for all users”
The Trail Audit Team
The trail audit team, who got out on their bikes to inspect the trail crossings were:
- Seminole County Public Works: Vasu Persuad
- Seminole County Planning: Jeffrey Hopper
- Florida Department of Health in Seminole County: Amanda Beal
- Seminole County residents and community advocate: Irwin Bellinkoff
- Seminole County residents and community advocate: David Brown
- Bike/Walk Central Florida: Emily Hanna
- Bike/Walk Central Florida: Cody Johnson