Category Archives: Trail News

Update on The Legacy Trail Bridge over Laurel Road

The following update is an extract from a November 8, 2016 letter to the Sarasota County Commissioners from:
     Thomas A. Harmer, County Administrator
     Isaac R. Brownman, Director, and
     Carolyn M. Eastwood, Transportation Logistics & Programs Manager

ANALYSIS/NEXT STEPS:

The primary purpose of the Legacy Trail Pedestrian Bridge over Laurel Road is to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety for trail users by eliminating the crossing and constructing an overpass (bridge). The design of the bridge conflicts with four (4) Sarasota County water/wastewater utility lines, including an 18-inch force main, a 6-inch force main, a 10-inch water main, and a 30-inch water main.

Design for the relocation of the four (4) county utility lines has started.  Relocation work for the utility lines along the north side of Laurel Road is anticipated to start in January 2017 and be completed by August 2017. During the relocation effort, trail use will be maintained via a trail detour, however there may be intermittent temporary closures during portions of the work.

FDOT’s letting date for the overall project construction is expected in June 2017. During the bridge construction trail use will also be maintained via a trail detour along with some intermittent temporary closures during portions of the bridge work. 

OJT Park Cleanup – Part 2

by Mark Malkasian

Update:  The next OJT cleanup is scheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 8:30 AM – Noon.

It’s been over six months since our first rounds of landscaping work at Osprey Junction Trailhead Park and overgrowth again threatens to obscure views of the main building that has been nicely re-painted by the County since we last worked the site.

ojt-1038x577Now that the humidity has moderated this is a call for volunteers for renewal of the “Cut, Rake, Haul & Manicure” effort at our planned Visitor Center. We’re happy to have as our guide, Megan Donoghue our Parks & Rec. Specialist, who has been stocking up on tools and equipment to better arm us for the effort. You are certainly free to bring your favorite landscaping implement and we’ll throw in the camaraderie to make it a fun morning on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 8:30 to Noon.

ojt5Suggested personal items are sunscreen, work gloves and protective clothing.  Water, coffee and snacks will be provided. The proposed Visitor Center will be open for viewing and any suggestions for its transformation will be welcome.  So come by, grab a tool and join in for a rewarding morning of giveback to what we hope will be a key feature of the Trail experience. Osprey Junction Trailhead
is at the east end of Bay Street in Osprey next to The Legacy Trail just north of Oscar Scherer State Park. Please contact Mark Malkasian via our contact form or at 941-445- 2890 to confirm participation or if you have questions.

Bike Repair Stations Coming to the Trail!

repair-station-1Sarasota County will be installing four bike repair stations on the Legacy Trail and more at other locations in the county. The four proposed locations on the Trail are: Osprey Junction Trailhead, Venice Train Depot, Laurel Park and Central Sarasota Parkway. Installation will begin in November. 

The stations are the Bike Fixation Deluxe Public Work Stands.  They provide a full complement of repair tools and a bicycle pump with both Schrader and Presta valve connectors.  As shown in the picture above, there a two ways of supporting your bike while working on it.

repair-station-3Special thanks to Patrick Lui, County Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator, for initiating and making this idea happen.  Also, thanks to Megan Donoghue, Parks Department, who will be assembling and installing the stations.

The new stations for Sarasota County have arrived and one was on display at the recent Florida Neighborhood Conference held in Venice on October 13:

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The last two photos were provided by Darryl Lang.  Previous images were from the Bike Fixation web site.

Updates from The Trail – A New Way to Give Back

megan_donoghue-3

 

by Megan Donoghue,
County Parks Department

A New Way to Give Back –

With summer in full swing, it’s hard to imagine that before we know it, people will be back in flocks to come enjoy the beautiful Sunshine State.   The Friends of the Legacy Trail do a phenomenal job at increasing awareness and improving the user experience on the Trail.  Volunteer Ambassador Patrols keep the Trail safe and in shape by being that extra set of eyes. Volunteer Surrey Riders get more people out on the trail experiencing something that they may not have been able to otherwise. And each and every week, The Friends of the Legacy Trail volunteers can be found at an informational table spreading the word and awareness of this precious public resource.

But there are other ways you can give back! The next few months, I will be working on planning a few Volunteer Work Parties for Trail Stewards who want to get outside and get their hands dirty.  A typical project will last 3-4 hours and may include trail maintenance such as clearing vegetation, invasive species removal, placing mulch, cleaning signs, and keeping the Trail in tip-top shape!

How to get involved:

The two existing roles that will be a part of this type of work are:

  • PLEG: Trail Steward [Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources\Legacy Trail]
  • POSP: Grounds Steward [Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources\Osprey Junction Trailhead]

If you haven’t registered as a Sarasota County Volunteer, click here to get started!

If you are currently a registered volunteer, when you signed up you selected an “assignment.”  Majority of the current volunteers are assigned as “Ambassador Patrols.”  But you can be assigned to more than one role! Log into your volunteer profile, and click to sign up for an additional role. This will enable me to see who is interested in this type of volunteer work for outreach purposes, and provides you an avenue to log your hours so we know all of the incredible work you do on the Trail!

We hope to see you on the Trail!

Megan Donoghue is a Parks and Recreation Specialist with the County Parks Department and is a member of the FLT Board of Directors.

A Riddle by Bruce Dillon

What is 20 miles long and destined to grow?
Has 240,000 arms and 240,000 legs on it every year?

Takes people to and from work, and to and from play?
Creates jobs?
Fills restaurant seats and hotel rooms?
Sells Houses and Condos?

Keeps you physically fit?
Raises property values?

Makes friends out of strangers?
Has a dedicated volunteer support group offering a variety of
opportunities?

Is supported by over 900 dues paying members?
Is open every day of the year with no admission fee!
And makes Sarasota County one of the best places ANYWHERE to live, work, visit, play and more!

Hint:

legacy-trail-sign-2

Myakkahatchee Creek Bridge Groundbreaking

The official groundbreaking for the new  Myakkahatchee Creek bridge was held on beautiful Friday May 6, 2016 at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port.  This bridge will be a key link in the North Port Connector Trail that will eventually connect The Legacy Trail with North Port.  The North Port Connector Trail and the location of the new bridge are shown here.

Here is the County video from the event:

and here is a short video about the new bridge:

Section of Legacy Trail Closed Apr. 18 – 22

Announcement:  Sections of Legacy Trail Will
Be Closed for Utilities Work

Mon. April 18 thru Friday, April 22

The Legacy Trail will be closed at the North Creek Bridge area located at the yellow mile marker LT-7.55 (approximately 6/10 of a mile north of Osprey Junction Trailhead Park and 1 mile south of Central Sarasota Parkway) from Monday, April 18 through Friday, April 22. The trail will reopen Saturday, April 23.

A utilities contractor will be connecting a water main for future community development. The project will require work in a limited space near the bridge with large equipment such as a back hoe, trucks, drilling equipment and sections of pipe.  The force main pipe is located approximately 50’ under the edge of the trail and will require removal of a cross section of Trail. The project should take 4 days.

Fortunately, the new Honore extension will be opening just in time to provide a nice detour.  We’ve all been wanting to try out this new section of Honore, so here’s your chance! The suggested route uses bike lanes on Laurel Road, Honore, and Central Sarasota Parkway to get around the construction area.  This route is shown in yellow in the map below:

Note:  There were some unexpected delays, and Honore may not be open for the first part of the week when The Legacy Trail is closed.

County Back In Conductor Seat For Trail Extension

by Roger Normand

After some 9 months of “nothing new to report,” the month of February brought a fresh wave of rejuvenating good news to extend The Legacy Trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.

The best news was that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) was terminating efforts to acquire the rail corridor from its owner, CSX Railroad, and returning that process back to Sarasota County.

FDOT efforts, begun last spring, were seen by many as a mixed blessing.  It began with word from CSX, not FDOT, that they were ceasing talks with the County amid discussions with FDOT acquiring 100 miles of rail corridor across the state, including The Legacy Trail extension.  FDOT later released a brief statement that their interest was to create multi-modal corridors – typically an urban corridor optimized for short and medium trips using transit lines (light rail, express bus) with an adjacent pedestrian and bicycling path.  Such corridors have been successfully used in a handful of states, according to Rails to Trails Conservancy.  It was considered but not recommended in the March 2015 County commissioned feasibility study to extend The Legacy Trail.

That FDOT has much deeper pockets to acquire the trail and finance construction than the County was viewed by many as a major potential benefit. However, despite periodic requests for updates, FDOT was never forthcoming about their plans.  Would The Legacy Trail extension be tied to time consuming conflicts at other locations?  Spring turned to summer, which begat fall, then winter.  Still no word from FDOT.  

Extension advocates were jubilant when the Sarasota County Commissioners unanimously accepted the Feasibility Study on April 1, 2015, and directed the County Executive to begin discussions with CSX and pursue an independent appraisal of the rail corridor.  All that momentum was surely slipping away behind closed doors in Tallahasee.

Fortunately, the County Commissioners shared the same concerns, prompting one Commissioner to meet with the FDOT Secretary in Tallahassee in early February.  Shortly afterwards, the County confirmed that FDOT “will be terminating their negotiations to acquire the right of way” from CSX.  “That shifts the next steps/negotiations back to Sarasota County for the portion that we are seeking.”

It remains unclear what progress, if any, FDOT made in acquiring any unused rail corridors from CSX. 

The County is now back in the conductors seat for the trail extension.   Hoorah!  The County reaffirmed they and partner The Trust for Public Land would promptly restart discussions with CSX.  Thank you to the County Commissioners for interceding and getting the extension back on track!

Featured photo courtesy of Sarasota County staff.

Tripadvisor Gives The Legacy Trail It’s Certificate of Excellence

by Andrea Seager

Very quietly, without much fanfare, The Legacy Trail has become one of Sarasota’s most important tourist attractions. TripAdvisor.com, one of the world’s largest and most influential travel websites with 375 million monthly visitors has awarded a Certificate of Excellence to Sarasota County’s multi-use Legacy Trail.

Enjoyed by over 120,000 people per year, the trail has been reviewed 335 times with the vast majority of TripAdvisor members granting four or five stars to the 10.6 mile paved path that starts at The Venice Train Depot. Travelers from as far away as Moscow, Jerusalem and London extol the virtues of the flat, easy terrain. Andre D. from Concord, New Hampshire’s comments are typical: “We rented bikes at Real Bikes in Venice right next to the trail. Very reasonable and nice bikes. The trail is fantastic. We had a great ride 20 miles up and back. Plenty of places to rest and get shade. Enjoyable for all levels. Excellent construction of the trail.”

The Friends of The Legacy Trail website includes maps showing parking areas, rest stops, bicycle rentals and a wealth of other information about the Trail. If you haven’t explored it yet, now might be the perfect time to check out Sarasota’s “excellent” Legacy Trail!