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Monday, April 22, 2024

Plans for 2-mile, $2.2 million cross-campus trail in the works

Plans are underway for the design of a new bike and pedestrian trail that would connect Southwest Archer Road to Southwest 34th Street through the UF campus.

The project, called the Cross Campus Greenway, is funded and designed by the Florida Department of Transportation, said Linda Dixon, the associate director at UF Facilities Planning & Construction. It has an estimated total cost of about $2.2 million, and construction companies will begin bidding August 2014.

The two-mile project is expected to extend from the UF Hilton on 34th Street following Hull Road and Mowry Drive, crossing Gale Lemerand Drive and Newell Drive and connecting to Southwest Archer Road near UF Health, Dixon said.

“It will help us really in a lot of our sustainability goals and in encouraging people to bicycle and walk,” Dixon said. “You know how hard it is to park and drive around campus, so people really are relying on biking and walking.”

Myrna Widmer, a project manager of District Two of the Florida Department of Transportation, said the trail is primarily an “enhancement project.”

Widmer said the trail’s design should be completed by April 2014 and is about 60 percent complete, but the final plans, as well as total budget, have not been cemented.

Most of the trail will be made of asphalt and concrete, and emergency phone stations and lighting will be installed along the trail, Widmer said.

Gina Buscher, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said no scooters would be allowed on the path. The project was originally on the UF Campus Master Plan in 2005 and was also on a list of recommended projects as a part of a larger cross-county bicycle facility being constructed from the city of Archer to Hawthorne, Dixon said.

However, construction is already under way on a small section of the trail near the Chemical Engineering Building, said Marlie Sanderson, the director of transportation planning at the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Other segments of the trail will be funded separately and will see construction in 2015.

Dixon said the trail will connect campus areas that are densely populated and places like parking lots and the hospital area, which receive heavy foot traffic.

“Out on Hull Road ... there is a bit of a sidewalk and a very skinny asphalt path with some paved shoulders,” Dixon said, “but really, they’re not good facilities.”

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