The border-to-border Greenway focuses local connections
Two calls to me one after the other show how advocates look to the long span of the Florida East Coast Greenway (FLGreenway.org) to advance local objectives.
Eau Gallie Arts District Connection
Carl Kaiserman called from Eau Gallie, a district of Melbourne in lower Brevard County. Carl is part of the Eau Gallie Arts District Main Street association. He saw how a loop trail off the coastal route could benefit downtown commerce while also providing a bulb-out diversion for long-distance cyclists otherwise on their way along Highway A1A.
He called with the idea of getting a bike-ped lane west across the Eau Gallie Causeway from Indian Harbour Beach to historic downtown Eau Gallie, along US 1 to restored downtown Melbourne, and back across Melbourne Causeway (US 192) to Indialantic on the barrier island, which carries the Greenway between the mainland and beach.
For Carl, long-distance cyclists promise the impacts of train travelers 150 years ago, whose stops helped support outpost economies, the same as passing cyclists today support the locally resourceful economies in the midst of urban places that they favor.
Martin County Connection
The other call came from Thom Detloff, a member of the Martin County BPAC (Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee). Thom questioned why the Greenway doesn’t always follow the coastal route preferred by road cyclists and by Adventure Cycling Association.
Thom raised the philosophical question that drives the Alliance in Florida and elsewhere. Simply put, the Alliance seeks to link together local and regional north-south sections of trail wherever coastal counties choose to put sections on the ground.
This satisfies three objectives.
- The Alliance allies with local priorities.
- This typically lets a single trail serve purposes typically advanced at the local level for safe routes to school and for local commutes while also diversifying local experiences for long-distance cyclists.
- The Florida East Coast Greenway gets connected faster than it would otherwise, and gets us to that critical 51-percent objective, when completion becomes a downhill impetus instead of an up-hill challenge. Thirty percent complete today, the Greenway also becomes more attractive to decision making as, with each passing year, more and more cyclists and health advocates get elected to public office. By the time our trail reaches the magical 51, the wind will be at our backs. If folks then want more trail along barrier islands, they’ll make that happen. After all, Florida has both its US Highway 1 and its Florida Highway A1A.
Worth a high-five, both Cart and Thom have now joined our Florida Alliance Committee. How about you?
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