Rollerblades on Overpasses

by Roger Normand

Well that’s odd I thought as I approached.  Both walking down the Legacy Trail 41 overpass in stocking feet, carrying their rollerblades.  “Did you EACH blow a wheel on the trail” I asked with a big grin while thinking what’s the chance of that.  As if reading my mind, Andrew replied also smiling “no equipment malfunction, just a surface design issue.”  Ann chipped in “We are rollerblading a marathon distance 26.2 miles on the Legacy Trail.  We are post grad students from Manatee County, and love “blading on this trail because of the scenery and smooth surface.”  Andrew picked up “but ‘blading down this overpass is like coming down a series of ski jumps.  We’d rather not be successively airborne and out of control.”  “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that.  I think they were designed to act like speed bumps for cyclist, I offered.   But some low slung racing trikes bottom out on these terraces.”  Note to FDOT: with overpasses under design for Clark and Bee Ridge intersections on the trail, is there a better design approach that doesn’t compromise low trikes and rollerbladers?

Giving Challenge 2022

It’s April!! The exciting 2022 Giving Challenge will be here this month. Mark your calendars for April 26-27, noon to noon! This 24-hour giving event will connect the Friends of The Legacy Trail with passionate donors and community members to support the new, longer, improved Legacy Trail and all it brings to Sarasota County. The trail is enjoyed by full-time and seasonal residents; local, national, and international visitors; bicyclists and walkers, families and singles, old and young, totaling nearly 525,000 users in the last 12 months!

On April 26, start donating your gifts of $25-$100 at noon, and they will be matched by The Patterson Foundation dollar for dollar. Additionally, we have received two anonymous Challenge Grants that will each match the first $1,000 received. These three match opportunities will make your $100 donation worth $400!!!

#BeTheOne to help Friends of The Legacy Trail continue to strengthen and enhance this local asset that brings great value to the Sarasota County area!

You can donate securely online during the Giving Challenge at www.givingchallenge.org and search for Friends of The Legacy Trail! Participate in #GivingChallenge22 and support Friends of The Legacy Trail along with other area non-profit organizations!

The Trail is Open!

The Entire Legacy Trail
Is Now Open!

With the ribbon-cutting ceremony on 3/3/22 the final segment of The Legacy Trail North Extension was officially opened. You can now travel on the trail from Venice to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. (Map)

The drone video below, provided by FLT business member Brett Koppes, shows the route of the final segment that was completed. Thank you Brett for all of the amazing drone videos of the trail extension project.

Inspiration on an E-Trike

by Roger Normand

At first glance, he looked as though he was wearing a tall walking boot perched on the end of one foot.  Perhaps a broken foot, atop a mass of duct tape.  Yet here he was riding confidently on his e-trike on a sunny but cool February day along the Legacy Trail.  

We chatted.  Richard explained he configured his e-trike to mitigate chronic Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, an extremely painful condition caused by misfiring nerve endings.  He pointed to his left foot in the boot.  “Vibrations trigger intense pain.  It’s worse on my left foot, so I wear a boot propped up on additional padding.  I’ve also got padding under my right foot.  I love riding on the trail in part because it has a very smooth surface.”  

He then proceeded to show me some wildlife pictures he’s taken along the trail.  “I’m a nature photographer.  I have an instagram account – backyard_birder_indiana – with my pics to showcase the beauty of birds and help raise money and awareness for CRPS research.”  He said he’s been riding the trail from Venice for many years.  “I used to be a multi sport athlete.  Not anymore,” he said with just a tinge of regret.  “This really helps me keep a positive attitude about life.  I LOVE riding on the trail with the sun and wind on your face.  ”  

Best wishes, Richard, and thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring others.

Final Segment of the North Legacy Trail Extension Opening March 3

Segment 3 Opening Celebration!
Thursday, March 3, 9 a.m.
in Payne Park

Join us for the ribbon cutting celebration of the opening of the final segment of the North Legacy Trail Extension. The ceremonies will be held in Payne Park in downtown Sarasota starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday March 3. Parking is available at 2185 Wood Street. Or better yet, ride your bike!

Want a preview? Check out this new drone video of Segment 3 provided by FLT business member Brett Koppes. Thank you Brett for all of the amazing drone videos of the trail extension project.

The last segment of The Legacy Trail extension, shown in green above, will officially open on Thursday March 3. This segment extends from Bahia Vista St. to Payne Park and Fruitville Road.

New Sponsorship Program for Trail Amenities

Want to support the trail and be recognized with your name, or your business name, on one of the trail amenities. Sarasota County, in cooperation with Friends of The Legacy Trail, has just launched a new program that allows you to sponsor many types of trail amenities, including stop stations, shelters, benches, playgrounds, and more.  Check out this brochure for more details and sponsorship rates.

Info Table on the Trail Saturdays (weather Permitting)

The Info Tables Are Taking a Break for the Summer. See you in the Fall!

The seasonal Friends of The Legacy Trail information table is moving from its usual Bay Street location to the Ashton Street trailhead on the Legacy Trail at 4301 Ashton Street, about a block west of McIntosh Road. The table is open on most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Parking is available at the trailhead and at the 360 Church on the east side of the Legacy Trail. We’ve just received a fresh batch of caps and t-shirts for sale. You’ll also find information on trail development, FLT memberships, FLT’s square foot campaign, and more. Stop by and see us!

Safety Improved at Legacy Trail Road Crossings

Sarasota County, as of 2/9/22, has made a change to the HAWK signal light sequence that significantly improves safety at intersections using this type of signal. This change was recommended by FLT and is supported by recommendations of the National Association of City Traffic Officials (NACTO).

Previously, vehicles were informed they could proceed cautiously with a flashing red light while trail users were still viewing a countdown of time remaining to cross the intersection. This was contrary to typical intersections, where countdown timers convey to pedestrians or cyclists that they have the right of way. Given the speed of cyclists, a cyclists could believe he had plenty of time to cross, while a driver believed they could go forward.

Based largely on recommendations and research performed by FLT, the county has now changed these signals to “maintain the solid red indication for motorists throughout the full bicycle clearance interval”, as recommended by the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. With this change, these intersections become consistent with typical intersections, where pedestrians or cyclists have the right of way during the full countdown.

This change currently affects the crossings at Sawyer Loop Rd., Proctor Rd., and Webber St. When Section 3 of the Trail opens on March 3rd, the signal at Bahia Vista St. will also include this modification. Crossing signals at Beneva Rd. and Tuttle Ave. will be standard red lights.

We wish to thank the Sarasota County commissioners and staff for following through with this recommendation. This change will make the Legacy Trail safer for all.

Safety Issues at Legacy Trail Road Crossings

Update: Sarasota County officials are now (2/7/22) saying that the HAWK light sequence will be modified to implement the change recommended by FLT and NACTO. The changeover is expected to occur by Wednesday of this week. Thank you Sarasota County for making the Trail safer, and thank you to all of the trail supporters who have made your voices heard.

The citizens of Sarasota County have just invested approximately $70 million to build the North Trail Extension, whose primary purpose is to provide a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrian traffic. That safety is now substantially decreased by the configuration of the HAWK signals at Legacy Trail road crossings.

FLT has been recommending for some time that the county make a change to the light sequence at HAWK signals at Legacy Trail intersections to improve the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists. As of now, nothing has been done.

As described in our recent letter to the county commissioners, the problem arises because in one phase of the light sequence ( as currently programmed ) vehicles are informed they can proceed cautiously with a flashing red light while trail users are still viewing a countdown of time remaining to cross the intersection. This is contrary to typical intersections, where countdown timers convey to pedestrians or cyclists that they have the right of way. Given the speed of cyclists, a cyclists may believe he has plenty of time to cross, while a driver believes they can go forward.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials ( NACTO ) has identified this as a problem with HAWK signals on bicycle trails. In the current NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide they specifically address HAWK signals and recommend that HAWK beacons “should maintain the solid red indication for motorists throughout the full bicycle clearance interval.” Thus, there is a simple solution to the problem: change the flashing red light to a solid red light.

The county’s response to our letter continues to say that they are looking into the issue, as they have been saying for months. This is unsatisfactory. We urge the county to do the right thing and change these signals now.

If you support this effort, please express your thoughts by writing to your county commissioners.  Their email addresses can be found here.

Friends of The Legacy Trail