WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE TRAIL? by Megan Eidel, County Trails Coordinator
busy season, and it’s important to follow basic rules and etiquette on the
trail. Remember, The Legacy Trail is a multi-use trail. We have cyclists,
walkers, roller bladers, parents with strollers, dog walkers and more!
Here are a few of The Legacy Trail’s etiquette policies and rules:
Cyclists, always slow down and announce in a loud voice “On your left” before passing other cyclists or pedestrians.
The speed limit on the trail is 15 mph. This includes the pedestrian overpasses.
Always stop and use crossing signals at road intersections.
Cyclists under 16 must wear a helmet.
we can create a safe and enjoyable experience for ALL Legacy Trail users.
Friends of The Legacy Trail Speakers Bureau is looking for individuals who are
comfortable presenting to a wide variety of groups to spread the word and
excitement about The Legacy Trail. Our
Speakers Bureau was a very big part of our work to promote the Legacy Trail
Extension Referendum by informing Sarasota County Voters about the important
facts related to the project. Although
the Referendum has successfully passed, we continue to receive requests from
community and neighborhood groups, service and business organizations, etc., to
provide speakers to inform their membership about the trail.
We have an important story to tell about our history as well as the ever-changing plans for the newly approved extension and possible connections to the trail. Keeping the public informed as we move forward is very important to our mission and helps us honor the support the voters have shown for The Legacy Trail. We have developed a Power Point presentation that helps tell our story and we will provide the equipment and materials for these events.
Sound interesting? Need a little more information? Let us know! Contact us here. We will work with you to become familiar with the materials and make sure you have all the information you need.
Taking the first visible step to
implement the will of County voters, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners
(BCC) unanimously approved a resolution on January 29, 2019, to seek up to $65
million in new bond funds to finance the extension of the Legacy Trail. County voters overwhelmingly approved the
measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot to extend the trail along the abandoned
rail corridor past Payne Park to Fruitville Road in downtown Sarasota, and
better connect the city of North Port to the Legacy Trail.
Speaking on behalf of all trail users and advocates, Friends of the Legacy Trail Vice President Louis Kosiba thanked the commissioners for their unwavering support at every key decision point over the last six years for extending the Legacy Trail. “Thank you for placing this issue before the voters. Thank you for your support to move the Legacy Trail Project along quickly so that citizens and visitors can enjoy a beautiful linear park which will connect the major cities across our county. I would also like to thank the County’s administrative staff for their dedication and hard work to ensure The Legacy Trail is and will be the premier multi-use trail in Southwest Florida”.
“This is a big deal,” Commission Chairman Charles Hines said. “This is a major step, and I’m very excited we’re moving this forward as quickly as possible.”
The County will seek the bond funds in at least two series. The County must move quickly to the bond market to secure $30.1 million needed by May 30, 2019 to close on the segment of rail corridor from Ashton Road to Fruitville Road. This timing is per the August 2017 purchase contract with the Trust for Public Land, which negotiated the acquisition with CSX Transportation on behalf of the County.
The county plans to initially seek
a total of $35 million in bonds. This
amount includes $2.0 million to better connect the City of North Port to the
Legacy Trail, and $2.9 million to cover the cost of issuing the bond. It
also includes funds to hire a planning and
design firm for the entire rail corridor from Fruitville Road to Culverhouse
Nature Park. The County purchased the
Culverhouse Park to Ashton Road segment in December 2017 under the terms of the
same contract. The County will pursue a
second draw of bond funds to begin actual construction.
This is great news on several
fronts: the new BCC remains committed to extending the Legacy Trail; they are
moving promptly to secure the money to purchase the corridor AND hire
professionals to begin the formal design process; it includes the promised $2
million for the North Port connection, even though no decision has been made on
the actual route and cost.
Meanwhile, the Trust for Public
Land and the County continue with the due diligence review (environmental
assessment, title search, boundary survey, resolution of easements) without any
showstoppers. The due diligence must be
completed by April 30, 2019 to enable settlement on 30 May, 2019.
Join us on Sunday, March 24, 2019 for the annual Tour de Parks Bike event. The ride features distances of 21, 35 and 62 miles, going through 12 scenic parks in Sarasota County. You may get more information and register now from here, or or go directly to Active.com. You can pay online, or download a form and mail it in. The ride will once again have a wonderful breakfast catered by First Watch, snacks at rest stations sponsored by Doctors Hospital and Lunch by Mattison’s. All this and a t-shirt (for the first 650 riders –size restrictions available on line) for $40 (plus Active fee). The prices go up starting February 28, so register early. The ride will begin at the historic Venice Train station. The ride will be held rain or shine.
Final Routes are still being confirmed and will be posted on our website. There will be packet pick-up prior to the event at Real Bikes, Bikes International and Sarasota Bikes. Details will be sent prior to the ride and posted at the link above. Last year we had close to 800 riders. We will have a Bespoke Jersey for sale and will have that information available on the website once the design is complete. If you would like to sponsor a mile marker or see other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Stanley.
We are in need of Volunteers interested in helping us to staff Information Tables. These are held along the trail, at community events such as Farmers Markets, Health Fairs, Craft Shows, Festivals and other locations we feel would provide us an opportunity to speak with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail.
Some will be on a regular schedule and others will be as they come along. Information Tables allow us to honor the strong public support of The Legacy Trail Extension Referendum last fall by providing information about The Legacy Trail as well as regular updates on the plans for the extension project as it moves forward. They also help us to grow our membership base and support fund raising programs we have developed.
FLT Board members work these events with assistance from volunteers when needed. As interest and excitement grows for The Legacy Trail we would like to identify a group of volunteers who would enjoy this type of event and work with them to assure they have the training and information necessary to help us cover all requests. You don’t have to be a full-time resident in Sarasota County, just willing to talk with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail at events that are convenient for you. Can we add your name to this group? If so, please contact us here.
It’s easy to get swept up in the euphoria of the latest extension news. After all, it’s all good news, vision morphing into reality. But there’s much more going on along the existing trail. Let me highlight a few examples this past month.
January 9th marked the grand opening ceremony of the new Legacy Trail Overpass at Laurel Road. County Commissioners Maio, Hines, Moran and Florida Department of Transportation Director John Kubler participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, to the delight of some 50 trail enthusiasts.
Commissioner Maio spoke of his efforts to secure County funds to
relocate major utility lines within the planned footprint of the
overpass. Director Kubler said this was a win-win project, as trail
users can now safely and easily cross the very busy four lane Laurel
Road, while vehicles now have one less red light to contend with. Left
unmentioned: trail users can delight in climbing a second Legacy Trail
“Florida Hill,” along with the SR 41 overpass in Venice!
A new frequent gathering spot for trail users is the intersection at the new Bay Street extension to Honore Avenue. FLT, with financial support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, donated a new $5,900 ADA compliant multi-level water fountain at this intersection. The County installed this already-popular water fountain in January 2019. The fountain is Fido the dog friendly, and can fill tall jugs. Check it out and stay hydrated in style.
Least visible, but no less important, FLT donated and the County installed a second $3,000 passive infrared Eco-counter on the trail. (A third counter is on order.) These new counters are far more reliable, accurate, and far easier to harvest the data than the previous TrafX counters initially installed along the trail eight years ago. We have long believed in the adage that if you don’t count, you don’t count! We want to report a statistically credible number of trail uses. To that end, the number of trail uses for 2018 is 216,000. That’s down four percent from the 225,000 reported in 2017. We attribute this slight decline to the more than yearlong havoc of construction projects at Bay Street and Laurel Road changing trail use patterns, and the effect of the persistent Red Tide reducing tourism.
FLT is an all-volunteer organization. Your contributions – time and money – produce real trail improvements. Thank you. Contact me at here if you’d like to join our cause.
Please join us for our monthly membership meeting. The meeting will be held in the Edson Keith Mansion at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The social time begins at 6:00 and there will be appetizers, desserts and drinks (coffee, sparkling and still water). The meeting begins at 6:30. Our featured speaker will be Becky Alfonso of the Florida Bicycle Association. She will be discussing local, regional, and state trails and how the state is working to link trails together. We will also have a presentation from a new member, William Moss , on riding with a camera. Megan Eidel will give an update on the current Legacy Trail. The meeting should run about 1 hour.
Ribbon Cutting for the Laurel Overpass will be Wednesday January 9 at 3 PM. FLT will have an info table there offering Shirts, Memberships & Square Feet. SRQ County Requests: Please BIKE or WALK to the overpass. There will be NO parking available at Laurel Park. Please be respectful of local businesses — do not park in their lots. Thank You!
The bridge will be temporarily closed for about one hour during the event.
Friends of The Legacy
Trail is a newly registered organization with the Amazon Smile
Foundation! We are now eligible to receive 0.5% of your Amazon Smile
purchases made here: http://smile.amazon.com
No additional cost to you! But donations from Amazon Smile will go directly to FLT!
Amazon Smile is the same as ordering on Amazon.com except you can
select from a list of eligible organizations and designate one to
receive a percentage of your purchase price from Amazon Smile
Foundation. (Amazon does not charge any administrative fees or take any
deduction from the donation amount and there is no cost to the
It’s easy-start shopping! Select Friends of The Legacy Trail!!
Thanks to Joan Attenberg for setting this up for us!