No matter the season, Orange County, Florida’s, paved pedestrian trails are always busy. On any given weekend you can find an assortment of strollers, recumbent bicycles, dog walkers, and roller skaters sharing bicycle and pedestrian paths. The Little Econ Greenway and the Cady Way Trail are two of the most heavily traveled, but despite being in the same geographical area, they do not connect. Now, thanks to VHB’s Transportation Project Development & Environmental (PD&E) and Applied Technology teams, the public can view and provide input on a proposed new pedestrian bridge that will connect the paths and create a bustling network of multi-use recreation trails 21 miles long.
VHB is conducting a feasibility study for the Orange County Parks and Recreation Department to evaluate the potential for the bridge, identified as part of the Little Econ Greenway Trail Phase 3 in the Orange County Trails Master Plan and design criteria. The bridge will provide a safe crossing alternative over SR 436 (Semoran Boulevard) at the intersection of Baldwin Park Street/Auvers Boulevard.
As part of the project, VHB is evaluating stormwater, socioeconomic data, environmental aspects, traffic, safety, and crash patterns. The project requires close coordination with Orange County Public Works, City of Orlando, FDOT, Lynx, and adjacent property owners. Successful Florida pedestrian and trail overpasses designed by VHB, including the Coast-to-Coast Trail crossing at SR 406 in Titusville and the Spring-to-Spring Trail railroad crossing in Orange City, informed the integrated approach.
“We brought in our transportation design team and bicycle and pedestrian technical leads during concept level studies for a close look at barriers to mobility the community might face,” said Amy Sirmans, PE, Director of PD&E/NEPA Services. “The concepts include ramps that address ADA compliance and connection with the planned Richard Crotty Parkway.”
VHB helped Orange County leverage technology to drive engagement on plan implementation via a virtual public meeting room to gather important stakeholder input, further advancing the project. The feasibility report and public meeting input will guide next steps.
“This virtual meeting room is an improved way to communicate and hear from future trail users and neighbors so the project will enhance the communities we serve,” said Grant Wenrick, RLA, CPSI, Landscape Architect, Orange County Parks and Recreation. “It is a critical part of Orange County Trails Master Plan to create a robust network of wide, paved, multi-purpose trails.”
Following VHB’s study, the project will move into final design which is anticipated to start Summer 2021. Bridge construction is contingent on funding, which may not be available until 2023/24.
To find out more about how VHB is improving recreation and active transportation opportunities in local communities, contact Amy Sirmans, P.E. firstname.lastname@example.org.