The appropriations bill being wrapped up in the Florida Legislature includes $50 million to complete a 275-mile bikeway from St. Petersburg to Titusville. The money’s for the Coast to Coast Connector, filling seven gaps between several existing trails. Imagine what $50 million could do for the planned Ludlam Trail in Miami’s south suburbs.
Several months ago, when the Office of Greenways and Trails aired its priorities around the state, we asked Jim Wood, who headed the agency at the time, why South Florida had fared so poorly as the state built an impressive series of trails upstate over the past 20 years or so. Each of those existing trails, he pointedly said, has had a local champion — generally an elected official — who led the way to show local authorities and lawmakers the value of the proposal. So the Ludlam needs a champion. Will it be you?
By the way, since Florida has a line-item veto there’s no guarantee the Coast-to-Coast Connector will go through until Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill. The project didn’t appear in the budget he submitted to the Legislature.
We signed an agreement with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy today to organize the marking of the new Biscayne-Everglades Greenway linking the Miami area’s two national parks. Working funds for the project will come from a grant by Coca-Cola North America that the conservancy is parceling out to local trail-building efforts around the country. This greenway is a cooperative effort in the best sense. Besides the Everglades and Biscayne national parks, the project involves the Miami-Dade Department of Parks & Recreation, the cities of Homestead and Florida City, and numerous individual advocates. We’ll feature some of those in future articles about the project. Meanwhile, expect to see us calling for your help in a series of workdays to start putting up the greenway signs.
The project has been a dream among South Florida cyclists and hikers for five years or so. You can find a map in the park department’s master plan, and here’s an article about the trail from the National Parks Conservation Association.
UPDATE: Fifty-eight East Coast Greenway signs have been installed along the South Dade Trail (busway path) by maintenance crews from Miami-Dade Transit. We’re acquiring additional signs to mark the northern part of the trail as well as the connecting M-Path.
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The first East Coast Greenway signs in the Miami area were installed August 15 on the South Dade Trail at SW 211th Street, near Southland Mall and the South Dade Government Center. The signs, bearing the Greenway’s double pine tree emblem, were acquired by Green Mobility Network as part of its advocacy for local trail expansion. Initial funding for the signs was provided by a Kodak Grant from The Conservation Fund. A grant from Whole Foods Markets will pay for the rest.
So far the Greenway’s Miami-area sections are the South Dade Trail from Florida City to Dadeland, and the M-Path from there to the Miami River — 31 miles in all. The East Coast Greenway Alliance is working with the City of Miami toward designation of a stretch through Bayfront Park and up to the Venetian Causeway. The greenway is a nearly 3,000-mile path for walkers and bicyclists, extending from Key West to Calais, Maine, on the Canadian border. For ECG information, click here.
Top eight reasons Green Mobility Network is cheering the M-Path Extension:
- It fills a significant gap between the M-Path and the South Dade Trail and will create a continuous 30-mile paved path between Florida City and downtown Miami,
- improves access to two rail transit stations, Dadeland South and Dadeland North (including the Dadeland Station transit-oriented development),
- provides good construction jobs,
- it’s putting federal economic stimulus funds to work,
- will provide clean, healthy and sustainable travel options,
- is part of the downtown Kendall master plan,
- is part of the East Coast Greenway Network,
- is a Rails-to-Trails project, and
- shows that FDOT is a partner in improving conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians.
These offered up by David Henderson, the bicycle-pedestrian coordinator at the Metropolitan Planning Organization. You’re invited to follow and comment on the project’s progress here at Complete the M-Path, our original Facebook advocacy page.