In the next two years, bicyclists and pedestrians in Gainesville will have a new option for off-road commuting.
Through funding from the Florida Department of Transportation announced Oct. 11, a multi-use trail near Tower Road will be constructed in late 2017 or early 2018, said Chris Dawson, the senior transportation planner for Alachua County Growth Management.
The trail will be part of an intrastate trail system, the Shared Use Nonmotorized Trail, which FDOT officials hope will give nonmotorists a contiguous series of multi-use trails through Florida. A second trail, near Archer Road, is planned to begin construction in 2020, Dawson said.
“Any time we are expanding the trail network, the users benefit, connecting trails, making more mileage,” he said. “Building these longer green trailways benefit the multiple municipalities.”
The Tower Road trail will extend from Southwest 26th Place to Southwest Eighth Avenue, according to an FDOT project list. The Archer Road trail will stretch from Southwest 76th Terrace to Southwest 41st Boulevard.
The Tower Road trail will be allocated about $950,000 for design and construction, and the Archer trail is planned to be allocated about $1.8 million, said Barney Bennette, the FDOT District 2 transportation planning manager. The Archer trail has been funded for preliminary design, and FDOT will carry out the design and construction.
Bill Henderson, the FDOT planning and environmental manager, said he thinks offering residents nonmotorized commuting options is a good idea.
“These trail systems nationwide such as bike paths are extremely popular,” he said. “It provides choices for people to get to places without a car.”