Florida has some work to do. When it comes to creating
walkable, bikeable environments, the Sunshine State is consistently rated one of the most
dangerous places in America for anyone outside of a car.
But things are starting to change, thanks in part to
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) more than 20 years of advocacy and
coalition building in Florida, and a dedicated community of local planners and
advocates. This month, work began on a multi-use pathway alongside the Courtney
Campbell Causeway, passing over Old Tampa Bay and connecting Clearwater in
Pinellas County with Tampa in Hillsborough County.
"In the not too distant future, this will be a spectacular
stretch of trail that will build on the international draw of the area," says
RTC's Florida State Director Ken Bryan. "Seeing this important project move
forward is also evidence of the strong local support for the region's growing
This four-mile section, including a half-mile bridge
portion, is a critical link in a developing network. Replacing a connection
that was lost with the closure of the old Gandy Bridge Trail in 2008, the trail
alongside the Courtney Campbell Causeway will provide a link to the extensive
Pinellas Trail network to the west, and the growing network of non-motorized pathways
around Tampa to the east.
When RTC launched a campaign in 2009 to urge the Florida
Department of Transportation to make better use of federal funding dedicated
for walking and biking infrastructure, a Courtney Campbell Causeway trail became
the 'poster child' for the huge public improvements these funds could make.
Just a few years later, that advocacy effort has paid off,
with a partnership of local agencies tapping into federal Transportation Enhancements
(TE) funding, much to the delight of not only bikers and walkers in the area
but also local business owners, public health officials, tourism agencies and
elected officials. According to Tampa
Bay online, an association representing Tampa's Westshore Business District
is supportive of the trails' benefit to area hotels and office workers.
The trail will also make a more accessible feature of the natural
setting which draws many thousands of visitors each year.
Images courtesy Florida DOT
We are very excited about this regional trail! The views will be spectacular, and provide a direct bike/ped route from Tampa to Clearwater. Can't wait!
this regional trail is a combination of 4 projects totaling 8 miles across the bay and could not have been done without the help of the RTC and Florida DOT and the MPOs - also the local governments are working their parts so this is a fully colaborated program
We, here in Tampa Bay, enthusiastically applaude all the partipants who have created, designed, are currently building, supporting and those who will be using The Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail connecting to our Pinellas Trail (celebrating its 22nd Anniversary on December 1st, 2012). We welcome the continued support for this project by our federal, state and local officials to complete this "connection" to our Florida Trails System. The success of The Pinellas Trail is founded on the ongoing "public-private partnership" recognizing the many benefits our Trail offers our residents and visitors throughout the year! We welcome donations for our Pinellas Trail amenities, "Trees For The Trail Fund" and to support our volunteer/auxiliary ranger program. Check out www,pinellastrails.org
We, in Tampa Bay, enthusiastically applaude the plans for the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail and its connection to The Pinellas Trail! Many thanks to the creation, design, construction, support and cooperation of our federal, state, regional and local officials. We are looking forward to this "additional link" to our West Central Florida Trail System. Pinellas Trails, Inc. continues to raise funds for our Trail amenities, "Trees For The Trail Fund" and our auxiliary/ranger program c/o P.O. Box 356, Clearwater, FL 33758-0356 or call 727-480-3515.
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