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A Proposal by Jim Rucquoi

January 1, 2001

this version was updated May 20, 2002

a completely revised & updated version has been prepared and will soon be uploaded

in conjunction with this work's appearance at the 16th National Trails Symposium, Nov 11-13, 2002




IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP MAKE THIS HAPPEN I'D LOVE TO TALK TO YOU.

DROP ME A LINE AT RUCQUOI@CFL.RR.COM


 




OUTLINE
 

Overview

Discussion

Route

Implementation

Resources

About the Author

CR-427 Addendum




ONE MAN'S DREAM

 
Think of it! A paved, off-road, through-access trail for all non-motorized traffic, including cyclists, roller bladers and pedestrians, connecting Greater Orlando to nearby New Smyrna Beach!

In five sections totaling just over 42 miles Bike-To-Beach . . .
 

  • follows the safest shortest practicable cycling path
  • to the nearest desirable Atlantic coast
  • from Orlando's northern suburbs
  • within an easy day outing one-way for most cyclists


Less than half the distance of the bikeway requires immediate new construction. The longest and primary leg is State Road 415 running NE out of Sanford. Principal feeders are:

  • Seminole County Road 427 running NE out of Altamonte Springs to Sanford, and
  • State Road 44 running E into New Smyrna Beach.
go to . . .



DISCUSSION

 
New off-road bike trails are a fact of life at last, like the West Orange  (Rail-To-) Trail between Winter Garden and Apopka which now extends for nineteen prized back-country miles: what a ride!
 
 



For longer treks, where great destinations propel the pedaling instead of leisurely loops, bikers must rely on occasional road rallies like the annual week-long Bike Florida. Meantime the most compelling destination imaginable roars full-time in our own front yard less than a day's pedal away. If only there were a safe, reliable, enjoyable way of getting there  . . .

In this cyclist's view desirable Atlantic beaches beckon closest from New Smyrna Beach, which a) isn't overrun by tourist traffic (as is often the slightly closer Titusville), b) has already well established bicycle routes, and c) which, at its southern extremity along A1A, offers easy access to the unparalleled beaches of the separate & remote northern end of Canaveral National Seashore.

The route's already in place, and has already enchanted me in several trips over the past few years. It has the area's longest continuous on-road bikeable stretch to the ocean: 17.5 miles of newly resurfaced 2-lane blacktop in open-country with marked paved shoulders.
 
 



The proposal envisions starting immediately with what's available then adding successive off-road legs as increasing bike traffic warrants. Thus the trail itself generates the trail, an approach currently favored by the Florida Office of Greenways & Trails which discourages the alternative of putting off trail-building until an ideal route can be achieved.

The plan calls for simultaneous approaches to building off-road bikeways (Phase I) and on-road bikelanes (Phase II) with a delayed off-road Phase III linking up the remaining off-road portions.

The main artery of the route is Volusia County's SR-415, running NE from the St John's River bridge north of Sanford to the intersection with SR-44. Two other roads serve as principal feeders: Seminole County's CR-427 at the southwestern end and SR-44 at the northeastern end. SR-44 was recently broadened in large part to a divided 4-lane speedway. With its wide, graded right-of-way alongside, that stretch would seem to be the perfect candidate for the route's first off-road bikeway.
At the southwestern end of the route, CR-427 is just now undergoing widening construction in a 6-phase project due to be completed in late 2002. The CR-427 feeder is critical to Bike To Beach as it represents a rare connection of northern suburbs with the ocean; for an Orlando cyclist it's about the only way out! Sections of CR-427 are rated 52/193 and 73/193 in the current Metropolitan Orlando Bicycle Plan, ranking CR-427 overall as a second-tier priority route for biking purposes. But Seminole County officials state that construction plans already approved & underway do not include provisions for on-road bike lanes much less separate bike paths.

Still, the present need is great enough, the projected incremental expense for the immediate future so minimal relatively speaking, and the current ground-breaking so curiously coincidental that added pressure on Seminole County officials to include at least marked paved shoulders for the full length of CR-427 at this time is amply indicated. (See below, CR-427 Addendum)



Two alternatives to the proposed route have been considered for Bike To Beach: SR-50 due east to Titusville and CR-426/SR-46 SE to Mims.

Orlando's venerable straight-line connector to the ocean, the 4-6 lane SR-50, runs for 36.4 miles due east, some 5.9 miles fewer than the proposed route, measured from respective SR-436 starting points to causeway bridges. Once out of congested metro Orlando it's a pleasant enough open road with four-foot paved & marked shoulders. But it has a number of major drawbacks: a) most of its length is divided, four-lane highway whose speed limit increases to 65 mph at the Brevard County line over the St John's River bridge making it very risky for on-road cyclists; b) it's congested at both ends with especially heavy truck traffic. But principally, c), its destination is the far less desirable Titusville with its NASA-generated, much less bicycle-friendly tourist traffic.

Another possible route to the beach runs NE along CR-426 from SR-436 to Geneva, thence SE along SR-46 into Mims. Whereas the CR-426 portion goes well enough, with paved, marked shoulders, SR-46 is completely unsuitable: for most of its 27.8-mile length it is an aging, raised 2-lane venue with narrow right-of-way, no shoulders of any kind, and steep gully drop-offs on both sides.


The present generation of Florida outdoor enthusiasts, including yours truly, enjoys the fruits of many dreams & labors of people close to us in time & circumstances, for Florida's recreational history is surely a work-in-progress, not much older here than the liberating advent of air conditioning, when attention could be diverted to something other than just hanging on. Thus the fruits of our own out-of-doors plantings are bound to enrich generations close behind us. How rewarding to have a hand in donating such a heritage!  Bike To Beach promises to leave behind a gift worthy of Orlando's son's & daughters for a long time to come.

go to top of discussion, or . . .


THE ROUTE

1. CR-427 (Longwood Ave)

A.   From the intersection with SR-436 to the intersection with rr-tracks, for 1.2 miles in Altamonte Springs

Two-lane, no paved shoulders but expandable on both sides along broad right-of-way. Intermittent sidewalk on northbound side.

Overall, Seminole County Road-427 Road Widening Project (CR-427/RWP) expands road to 4 lanes, scheduled opening 2002. 

Asking for off-road bikeway for entire length of CR-427 from intersec with SR-436. (See CR-427 Addendum)

go to . . .

B.   From intersection with rr-tracks to intersection with SR-434 (@ Eckerd's), for 1.4 miles.

Phase VI south section is now completed,
without bikelanes.

C.   From the intersection of SR-434 to the intersection of US 17-92, for 3.6 miles in Longwood.

Phases III & IV are now completed, without bikelanes.

D.   From the intersection with US 17-92 to end of CR-427 at the SR-417 overpass,  for 3.6 miles.

Under construction; Phases V & VI are scheduled for completion in 2002, without bikelanes.

We strongly advise cyclists  detour on CR-427A just to the north on 17-92 which rejoins the route just south of the SR-46 intersection along SR-425 (below). During construction this section of CR-427 is nearly impassable for bikes.

Once re-opened, find convenience stores on both sides of CR-427 just north of the SR-417 intersection. The southbound one makes for an especially good rest-stop, with outside tables.

 

2. Sanford Section

A.   SR-425 (Sanford Ave) beginning at the SR-417 overpass to the intersection with SR-46, for 1.6 miles

Moderate-to-heavy traffic. The southern end is newly paved, 4-lane undivided & divided. There are improved sidewalks on both sides. 

Asking for marked on-road bikelane on both or either side for now

go to . . . 

B.   SR-425 to CR-415 (Celery Avenue) from the intersection of SR-425/SR-46 to the intersection of SR-425/CR-415, for 1.0 mile.

Light traffic, 35-mph, broad 2-lane suburban with no marked shoulders. 

Asking City of Sanford for marked street bikelanes on both or either side for now

C.   CR-415 to SR-415, from the intersection of SR-425/ CR-415 to end the end of CR-415 at SR-415 just south of the St. John's River Bridge, for 3.3 miles

Light-moderate traffic, 45 mph, 2-lane blacktop in fair condition, no shoulders. But a beautiful open country ride. 

Asking for an off-road bikeway.

The heavy-trafficked SR-46 which runs parallel just to the south is not considered a viabble alternative, though the newly approved Lake Mary Boulevard extension might be, running from Sanford Airport and linking up with SR-415 at SR-46. It is scheduled for on-road bike lanes.

3. SR-415

From the intersection of  CR-415/SR-415 at the St John's River Bridge (right)to the intersection of  SR-415/SR-44 at the Citgo/Handy Stop, for 17.5 miles

Light-to-moderate traffic, 55 mph, just re-paved & widened 2-lane blacktop with recently widened bridges, save for a rough short section between the St John's Bridge and Osteen, after which the road has 4-ft paved shoulders in both directions which make for pleasant biking, and there are broad right-of-ways for future off-road expansion. 

This is the single artery already suitable for bikes connecting Greater Orlando with the ocean (Discussion)and as such is considered Bike-To-Beach's backbone.

It's a fine ride in broad open country, something our 
Harley brothers have already discovered, which is why the route is not as wholeheartedly recommended during  Bike-Week  --so-called ( ! )

Make your first rest-stop at Osteen about a mile north of the bridge, where the Subway /convenience store just north of town has a few tables inside.. 

Lake Ashby County Park is just off the Alamana turnoff loop about 2/3rds of the way up on SR-415. But unless you have a mountain bike beware: the park's access road is a grueling 1-2 miles of soft sand. Closer off that same fine paved loop and about a mile in from the 415 turnoff find Lake Ashby Boat Ramp(right)for a bucolic picnic stop.

The Citgo/Handy Stop at the SR-415/44 intersection is another good rest-stop, with indoor & outdoor tables

There is talk about widening SR-415 to four lanes but plans have yet to be announced. This is one green-lover who hopes it never happens: where do we go next???

Asking for designated bikelanes on SR-415's roadway for now.

go to . . . 







 

4. SR-44 (new)

From the intersection of SR-415/SR-44 to the end of SR-44's improved blacktop at the I-95 overpass,  for 4.9 miles.

Light-to-moderate traffic. This road was recently widened from 2-lane to divided high-speed 4-lane, with a 55 mph limit, not limited access. It's a smooth blacktop and there are 4-ft paved shoulders both ways. But because of its interstate-like feel this leg very much needs an off-road bikeway.

That is easily envisioned (left); was it in the plan all along? Alongside both east- and westbound lanes there are elevated, graded grass tracks set off from the main road by deep drainage ditches. These tracks are approx 10-ft wide, run for the entire 5-mile length of the improved section, and appear to await only paving to fulfill their obvious potential as first-class off-road bikeways. 

Until that happens an alternative to SR-44 is the small, two-lane Volusia CR-4118 running just north of and parallel to SR-44. Stay on SR-415 past the intersection and take your first right turn. Bike Florida/Odessey 2001used this road on its westbound New Smyrna Beach-Deland leg. A quieter ride than SR-44 to be sure but you'll pay for it in extra miles to the beach.

go to . . . 

5. New Smyrna Beach Section


A.   SR-44, from I-95's overpass to the intersection with Jungle Road, for 1.9 miles.

This is the old, divided 4-lane concrete stretch with rough 4-ft shoulders and no separate grass track for a future bikeway.

Asking for repaved & marked bikelanes on the roadway for now.
 

B.   SR-44 in New Smyrna Beach, from the intersection of Jungle Road to the Saxon Intercoastal Causeway Bridge, for 2.3 miles.

Again the old road, with moderate-to-heavy urban traffic and without shoulders of any kind so you may have to take to the sidewalks. 

The new causeway bridge has a separate bikeway on the westbound side but there are car-width shoulders on both sides. 

A mile or so east of the bridge you'll be linking up with southbound A1A on a double-wide sidewalk, but there are also ample on-road lanes in the two directions.

To go all the way out to the pristine beaches of Canaveral National Seashorecontinue for about another 10 miles south along A1A  --best done with an overnight; there are a couple of modest mom-&-pop motels just past the Holiday Inn where you meet A1A.

Or take a scenic bypass along the eastern, residential shore of the Intercoastal, a quiet & shady run that will save you some miles out to the National Seashore. Turn right on Saxon Drive at the Eckerd's about a mile east of the causeway bridge. Saxon Drive exits at Bethune Beach about 2 miles north of the Park's entrance.

Asking for paved & designated east- & west-bound bikelanes on the decaying concrete west approach to the bridge.

Total mileage, intersection of SR-427/SR-436, Altamonte Springs
to SaxonCauseway Bridge, New Smyrna Beach
42.3 miles

Phase I construction off-road bikeways
18.0 miles (43%)

Phase II temporary on-road marked bike lanes
24.3 miles (57%)

go to . . . top of Bike-To-Beach Route, or
 


IMPLEMENTATION

Where to start? A priority-based plan to initiate action . . .

Phase I For Off-Road Bikeway Construction

CR-427 feeder (Seminole County)

CR-415 connector (Seminole County)

SR-44 feeder (improved section) (State)
 

Phase II For Temporary On-Road Bikelanes

SR-425 connector (State & City of Sanford)

SR-415 main artery (State)

SR-44 feeder (urban unimproved section) (State & City of New Smyrna Beach)
 

Phase III For Remaining Off-Road Bikeway Construction

linking up Phase II sections with already completed Bikeway sections from Phase I

RESOURCES

Bike Florida
TJ Juskiewicz, Executive Director, 407 343-1992, flagcpfs@aol.com

Central Florida Bicycle Advocates
Mark Spain, Chairman, markhspain@earthlink.net

City of Altamonte Springs
Mayor Russell Hauck, 407 257-4653, hauck@sysresgrp.com

City of Orlando
Mayor Glenda E. Hood, 407 246-2221, ghood@ci.orlando.fl.us
Fred Kittinger, Chief of Staff, 407 246-3190
Dee Dee Turner, Personal Assistant, 407 246-2221

City of New Smyrna Beach:
Commissioner Oretha W. Bell
Commissioner James W. Hathaway, jhathaway@ucnsb.net
Commissioner JoAnn O'Bannon, jobannon@ucnsb.net
Vice-Mayor William D. Rogers, brogers@ucnsb.net
Mayor James L. Vandergrifft, vandergrifft@ucnsb.net
Thomas A. Harowski, Director, Department of Development Services, 904 424-2132, tharowski@ucnsb.net
Frank Roberts, City Manager, froberts@ucnsb.net

City of Sanford:
Mayor Brady Lessard, 407 330-5607, lessardb@ci.sanford.fl.us
Commissioner Whitey Eckstein, District Four, 407 330-5607, ecksteiw@ci.sanford.fl.us
Commissioner Randy Jones, District Three, 407 330-5607, jonesr@ci.sanford.fl.us

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council:
Randy Morris, Chairman, 407 623-1075, dmerkt@co.seminole.fl.us
Sandra Glenn, Executive Director, sglen@ecfrpc.org
Jennifer Domerchie, Trails & Greenways, jenifer@ecfrpc.org

Florida Bicycle Association
Tina Russo, President, 813 968-2157, tarusso@aol.com
Laura Hallam, Executive Director, laura@floridabicycle.org

Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways & Trails
Lindsey Benedict, Planner, Planning & Technical Assistance, 877 822-5208, lindsey.benedict@dep.state.fl.us

Florida Department of Transportation:
Community Traffic Safety Team, District 5
Barry Wall, Coordinator, 904 943-5024, barry.wall@dot.state.fl.us
Pedestrian/Bicycle Program, District 5
Jane Madsen, Director, 386 943-5459, jane.madsen@dot.state.fl.us
Program Development Office
Ron Hutchinson, Manager, ron.hutchinson@dot.state.fl.us

Florida Freewheelers
Niles Anderson, President, 407 788-2453, redonetoo@aol.com

Florida Greenways & Trails Council (members as of 6/7/01)
Bob Ballard, Dep Sec'y, Land & Recreation, FL Dept of Envir Protect, 850 488-7454, bob.g.ballard@dep.state.fl.us
Brian Barnett, Asst Dir, Office of Environ Svcs, Fish & Wildlife Cons Comm, 850 488-6661
Jorge A. Borrelli, Winter Park, 407 678-0888, jorge@borrelliarch.com
Janice Browning, FL Dept of Community Affairs, 850 922-2207
Ken Bryan, Director, Rails To Trails Conservancy, 850 942-2379, rtcken@transact.org
Margaret S. Dyer, The Dyer Group, 813 671-2017
Mark Gluckman, Develop Advisory Svcs Inc, 352 463-9020
C. Leroy Irwin, FL Dept of Transportation, 850 922-7201
Alvin B. Jackson, Jr, Lake County Dep County Mgr, 352 343-9449
Marsha Kearney, Forest Supervisor, USDA Forest Svc, 850 942-9300
Helen Koehler, Chair, Rec Priorities Committee, 352 486-7040, blackprong@aol.com
R. Douglas Leonard, Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 941 534-7130, dleonard@cfrpc.org
Ed McAdams, 941 748-4501 X-5249
Dr Janet Snyder Matthews, Dir, Div of Hist Res, FL Dept of State, 850 488-1480
J. Sherwin Odum, Foley Timber & Land Company, 850 838-2213
Ruth Stanbridge, Indian River Board of County Comm, 561 567-8000 X-490
Sylvia Tatum, 904 782-3690
Noah Valenstein, Chair, 850 402-5426
John C. Waldron, Div of Forestry, FL Dept of Ag & Cons Svcs, 850 414-9852
Michael S. Weiner, Weiner & Aronson, PA, 561 265-2666 X-104
Grey Wilson, 407 644-2614
Debbie Parrish, Council Staff Director, 850 488-3701, deborah.parrish@dep.state.fl.us

Florida State Senator Locke Burt (R), District 16,
Chariman, Volusia County Delegation
850 487-5033, burt.locke.web@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Senator D. Lee Constantine (R), District 9,
(portions of Orange & Seminole Counties)
407 331-9675/850 487-5050, constantine.lee.web@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Senator Anna Cowin (R)
Chairperson, Seminole County Delegation
352 315-9335, cowin.anna.web@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Senator Jim Sebesta (R)
Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Transportation
850 487-5223, sebesta.jim.web@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Senator Daniel Webster (R), District 12
(SE Volusia and portions of Seminole and Orange Counties)
850 487-5047, webster.daniel.web@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Representative Joyce Cusak (D), District 26 (Deland)
904 943-7900, cusak.joyce@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Representative Tom Feeney (R), District 33
(portions of Orange, Seminole, Volusia Counties)
850 488-1450, feeney.tom@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Represetative Suzanne M. Kosmas (D), District 28
(New Smyrna Beach)
904 427-4466/850 488-6653, kosmas.suzanne@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Representative David J. Mealor (R), District 34
(portions of Orange & Seminole Counties)
407 328-3718, mealor.david@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Representative Gary Siplin (D), District 39
(portions of Orange County)
407 297-2071, siplin.gary@leg.state.fl.us

Florida State Representative Allen Trovillion (R), District 36
Chairman, Orange County Delegation
407 623-13555/850 488-0660, trovillion.allen@leg.state.fl.us

Florida Trail Association

MetroPlan Orlando
Dick Van Der Weide, Seminole County Commissioner and Chairman, Metroplan of Orlando, jlott@metroplanorlando.com
Mighk Wilson, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, 407 481-5672 ext 318, mwilson@metroplanorlando.com
--author of Cycling Into A New Century: The Metroplan Orlando Bicycle Transportation Plan

Rails To Trails Conservancy of Florida
Ken Bryan, Director, 850 942-2379, rtcken@transact.org
Blaine Coulter, Coordinator, 850 942-2379, rtcblaine@transact.org

Sanford-Seminole Chamber of Commerce
Ron Rose, Director, 407 322-2212, info@sanfordchamber.com

Seminole County Commissioner Carlton D. Henley, District Four (Casselberry)
407 665-7201, gwalker@co.seminole.fl.us

Seminole County Commissioner Daryl G. McLain, District Five (Sanford)
407 665-7209, ahatch@co.seminole.fl.us

Seminole County Commissioner Randall C. Morris, District Two (Longwood, Lake Mary)
407 665-7205, dmerkt@co.seminole.fl.us

Seminole County:
Heather Ells, Engineering Division, 407 665-5657
Ginger Hoke, Growth Management, 407 665-7395, ghoke@co.seminole.fl.us
Steve Krug, Principal Coordinator CR-427, 407 665-2345, skrug@co.seminole.fl.us
Mike Lichtenheld, Lead Technician, Engineering/Special Projects, mlichtenheld@co.seminole.fl.us

Seminole County Trails & Greenways Advisory Committee
Tim Donihi, Chairman, 407-665-2095 via Ginger Hoke, liaison

Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce
Margaret T. Roberts, President, 904 423-3512, admin@sevchamber.com

Volusia County Council Representative Ann McFall, District Five
407 574-4437, amcfall@co.volusia.fl.us

Volusia County Council Representative At-Large Patricia Northey
904 789-7200, pnorthey@co.volusia.fl.us

Volusia County Council Representative Jim Ward, District Two
904 322-5171, jeward@co.volusia.fl.us

Volusia County:
Ray Pennebaker, County Manager904 736-5920, pennebaker@co.volusia.fl.us
Jamie Seaman, Director of Growth & Resource Management, 386 423-3367, jseaman@co.volusia.fl.us
Jean Parlow, Planner, 386 736-5953, jparlow@co.volusia.fl.us
Tom Scofield, AICP, Planner II, 904 736-5959, tscofield@co.volusia.fl.us

US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Bicycle & Ped Program

 go to . . . top of resources or


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Iíve been a bike enthusiast for as long as I can remember, at least as far back as my first red & white baloon-tire Schwinn and the metallic blue cannonball that succeeded it, first derailleur anyone had seen over here which Dad acquired for me in Belgium, a blazing three-speed model. That one I pushed the roughly five hundred miles from New York up the Connecticut River valley to Quebec before hanging up my bike at sixteen for successive, presumably more rewarding lifetimes in the Navy, Mad Ave, Academe, and Art. It took arriving at my sixth decade to rediscover the pure pleasures of the quiet open road. And the inviting roadscapes of Central Florida, most often alongside my venturesome partner; Adele and I have been steadily pedaling these deeply satisfying backroads & rails-to-trails over our graced decade together. More recently weíve discovered the grand adventures of the annual  Bike Florida event. (See my video clip of Bike Florida/Springs Training 2000).

My bent is writing & photography (See my homepage)and I want to give something back. Is there something you could do too to help the dream come true of jumping on your bike and making for the ocean? For me meantime maybe  Bike To Beach,besides providing much enjoyment to favorite beaches during its preparation, can be a return for some of these pleasures, including the endless --if not always perfectly contiguous-- miles of Central Florida trails passing happily under my wheels.

Jim Rucquoi
June 11, 2001

go to . . .

 


CR-427 ADDENDUM
 

h e r m i t a g e    p r e s s


May 14, 2002
Mark Lichtenheld, Lead Technician
Engineering/Special Projects
Seminole County Public Works Department
1101 East First Street, Sanford, Florida 32771

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your letter way back in March following up our phone conversations, with that large-scale county map you sent generously annotated showing Seminoleís trail plans. Iíve been busy, only just now getting back around to Bike-To-Beach but I can tell you the project is never far from my mind, an idea which remains, I believe, attractive & viable as ever, as a safe open-country amble to the ocean for Orlando cyclists. I want to take some time to update you on the progress of Bike-To-Beach, with particular attention to the critical southern leg of the route through Seminole County.

To recap, in the sixteen months since introducing the idea on the Web Iíve had many conversations & presentations with interested parties, among them Central Florida Bicycle Advocates, Bike Florida, Florida Bicycle Association, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Florida Office of Greenways & Trails, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy of Florida, and your own County Commissioner Randy Morris. Though many have encouraged me in these efforts, most notably the Office of Greenways & Trails and Bike Florida, I can't report unqualified success; itís hard to say exactly what, if anything, has been accomplished over these months since itís clear a project of this scale invloves many parties, crosses many boundaries, and impacts many longrange plans.

The good news still comes down to this: on-road portions continue to be mostly in place; overall theyíve even been improved. The backbone of the route, SR-415 running southwest-northeast across Volusia County, is newly repaved with broad marked shoulders. Lately I was alarmed to hear about Seminoleís probes into widening that rare stretch of rural treasure into yet another 4-lane speedway. Where, Iím wondering, do we go next? That aside for the present, all that remains to complete the linkup for a first-class on-road bikeway to the ocean is improvement of a small urban portion of SR-44 to the causeway in New Smyrna Beach proper ---and those bikelanes on your own Seminole leg.

In our talks you stressed the merits of using your Seminole-Wekiva Trail versus CR-427 as originally proposed in Bike-To-Beach. Iím encouraged to hear youíre opening another link in that ambitious rails-to-trail project and most certainly do look forward to including it one day on my own list of must-rides. But I have to admit that, after reviewing it carefully once again as a possible southern anchor of the Bike-To-Beach route I come away with the same conclusion as when originally considering your trail plans at the projectís onset: Seminole-Wekiva Trail very much falls short for these purposes. Hereís why÷

 a) In a 43-mile route such as Bike-To-Beach a main concern is directness (see my annotated version of your own webmap, attached). Thatís because riders of broad levels of experience need to be assured of making their ocean destination within an easy dayís ride, with prudent allowance certainly for rest stops along the way --which doesnít however include much margin for detours;

 b) By way of contrast, as stated in your trails website, Seminole Countyís understandable & legitimate concern in planning Seminole-Wekiva Trail is for connecting parks (3) and schools (2) and your nature preserve. As far as optimum route planning is concerned it seems to me, it comes down to a simple matter of which Ďaís are to connect with which Ďbís; in the case of Bike-To-Beach, a & b just happen to be a little farther apart and unrelated to your particular a's & b's.

 c) Seminole-Wekiva Trail remains in any case far from complete despite the opening you announced of the latest new section connecting SR-436 with SR-434, amounting to just over 2 miles of the total 14-projected. Given the relaxed piecework nature of trailbuilding, and notwithstanding the current roadbuilding on the Longwood Avenue alternative, Iíll continue to take my chances for the foreseeable future with CR-427 to get me to the coast ďwhile surfís still upĒ;

 d) Using Seminole-Wekiva Trail, once in place, would involve, as you show it, a west-east connection along the very un(bike)friendly SR-46 to reach SR-415. From its overall constriction and lack of shoulders, its heavy commercial traffic, its old pavement, and, east of town, its steep gully falloffs, SR-46 is nowhere regarded as a viable bike connector in Bike-To-Beach.

Mark, as I stressed online, CR-427 is a key leg in the proposed route: as things stand now and for the foreseeable future it remains the only viable way of cycling out of metro Orlando to nearby Atlantic beaches; you only have to look at a map of the region to see the truth of this. Originally Iíd hoped the County could be persuaded to simply add bikelanes in its current reconstruction of that road. I fail to see why the plan should be snagged at this juncture or why, in particular, bikelanes on CR-427 should unduly stretch County resources. Certainly the new roadway constitutes an ample thorofare; bikelanes have been added to much narrower streets in the area.

As you can see on the updated site (http://biketobeach.tripod.com), Iím including this letter as an FYI Appendix and continuing to recommend that cyclists use CR-427 in Bike-To-Beach with, however, the overdue added notation that during reconstruction of the remaining portion north of US 17-92, cyclists should detour instead on CR-427A just to the north.

I continue to believe that once implemented a bike-friendly CR-427 will add greatly to the overall enjoyment & success of this singularly compelling bikeroute to the ocean.

By copies of this letter Iím alerting interested parties up & down the line; please feel free to further distribute it as you see fit. And to contact me with any questions you still might have. Thanks again, Mark, for your continued interest in helping Bike-To-Beach become the very grand leisure experience for area cyclists it can become.

regards,

Jim Rucquoi (signed)

att/

cc:
Niles Andersen, President, Florida Freewheelers
Lindsey Benedict, Planner, Office of Greenways & Trails, Florida Dept of Environmental Protection
Ken Bryan, Director, Rails To Trails Conservancy of Florida
Tim Donihi, Chairman, Seminole County Trails & Greenways Advisory Committee
Wiley Dykes, Sr, Member, Seminole County Trails & Greenways Advisory Committee
Laura Hallam, Executive Director, Florida Bicycle Association
Carlton D. Henley, Seminole County Commissioner, District 4  (Longwood)
Ginger Hoke, Head Planner, Seminole County Greenways & Trails
TJ Juskiewicz, Executive Director, Bike Florida
Jerry Mathews, Project Manager, CR-427, Seminole County Roads
Daryl G. McLain, Seminole County Commissioner, District 5  (Sanford)
Randall C. Morris, Chairman, East Central Florida Regional Planning  Council
Tina Russo, President, Florida Bicycle Association
Mark Spain, Chairman, Central Florida Bicycle Advocates
Dick Van Der Weide, Seminole County Commissioner and Chairman, Metroplan of Orlando
Mighk Wilson, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, Metroplan of Orlando