“An average of 250,000 people bike, walk or jog the Pinellas Trail every month. However, those in charge of the 70-mile-path say they want it to be more than just a place of exercise but an overall cultural experience.
So they are giving cyclists a reason to pump the brakes and take a picture along the Pinellas Trail this week.
‘Its like a stamp of approval from the community saying that my work is valuable and that I’m an asset and that’s nice, I love it,’ said artist Yhali Ilan.
Ilan said it was an honor to be one of four local artists chosen to paint two overpasses along the trail, one in Palm Harbor and the other in Tarpon Springs. Each one has a different Florida theme…
‘Our parks department will go and paint over in plain gray paint and the next day they’ll come back and they’ll be graffiti on the tunnels,’ said Alexis Ferguson with Pinellas County Public Works.
Ferguson is not only a public works employee but she rides the trail all the time. She said it’s been proven these murals detract from crime.
‘There is a respect among graffiti artists and our local artists here painting murals that they don’t tag the art murals and that’s been seen throughout the county,’said Ferguson…
The plan is to continue to add more art to the trail every year.”
Photo: Spoonbills and Sprochets in Palm Coast Observer
“The A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway is a winner of the 2021 National Scenic Byway Foundation’s Byway Community Award for its eighth-annual Spoonbills and Sprockets Cycling Tour – Crazy 8’s event. In its 10th year (2021), the Spoonbills and Sprockets Cycling Tour won in the Event Category. It introduces the byway to new participants while challenging our returning riders to see the byway with fresh eyes through requiring eight selfies of their time along A1A to win prizes.
From photos at the historic Marineland Dolphin Adventure to the Castillo de San Marcos, the Bridge of Lions, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, and south to the beaches and waterways along A1A in Flagler County, riders compared photos and laughed together at the Marineland attraction after-party.
Spoonbills and Sprockets Cycling Tour is an example of a byway best practice that has grown through the cycling community’s support and has developed a reputation for excellence. While keeping the fundamentals in place, adding a new element each year keeps it fresh and fun. From designing custom medals and signature jerseys each year, creating a theme, and wowing our riders with celebrity entertainers and unique activities, it never seems like the same event twice! And SAG/rest stops are at locations along the byway, which correspond to our A1A Scenic Byway Mobile Tour…”
Photo: Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel
” …Though Florida doesn’t experience the usual signs of fall that northerners look for — changing leaves, frigid nights and jackets worn by chilly commuters — there are cooler temperatures approaching for the Sunshine State…
Now, Floridians are beginning to come out of their air-conditioned abodes to garden, go for an evening stroll or move their exercise routine outdoors.
Here are suggestions for ways to take advantage of the milder weather…
Take a hike
Several state parks, including Wekiwa Springs, Blue Spring and Hontoon Island, offer scenic trails for recreationists of all skill levels. Seminole County offers up local gems such as Black Bear Wilderness Area and Little Big Econ State Forest. Urban escapes include Lake Baldwin Park, Little Econ Greenway, Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake and Mead Botanical Gardens.
While it might soon feel a little too cool for a swim in Central Florida’s many springs, the crystal-clear waterways offer great paddling opportunities — not to mention the countless options on lakes, rivers, lagoons and coastal shores. Take out the canoe, kayak or paddleboard for a trip down Juniper Springs, the Econlockhatchee River, Wekiva River, Rainbow River, Rock Springs Run or Winter Park Chain of Lakes. Florida’s East Coast also offers paddles in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge…
Have an outdoor picnic
Step one: Find that perfect, 76-degree day to spend some time outdoors.
Step two: Pack your favorite sandwich, cheese, fruits, veggies and non-perishable dessert to have a pleasant outdoor picnic.
Central Florida has some splendid snacking spots, including Mead Botanical Garden, Bill Frederick Park, Lake Eola Park and Lake Ivanhoe Park.
Bring out the bike
Many Floridians, tired of being stuck inside, have dusted off their bikes and gotten out on the trails amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bike shops have been slammed and low on inventory as the demand for cycling surges.
Central Florida has miles and miles of paved trails to explore, including on the Seminole Wekiva Trail, Cady Way Trail, Little Econ Greenway, West Orange Trail and Cross Seminole Trail. For some mountain biking action close to Orlando, head to Lake Druid Park, Markham Woods, the Mount Dora Trail, Soldier’s Creek or Snow Hill.
Florida’s ever-so-slightly-cooler fall temperatures serve as a sign of an annual happening right around the corner: manatee season. Central Florida manatee hotspots include Blue Spring State Park, Haulover Canal in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River and Homosassa Springs… ”
— Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel
Photo: Florida DEP
“The FGTS Plan establishes the vision for implementing a connected statewide system of greenways and trails for recreation, conservation, alternative transportation, healthy lifestyles, a vibrant economy and a high quality of life. The original FGTS Plan was completed in 1998 and adopted by the Florida Legislature in 1999, laying the groundwork for many programs, projects and initiatives that exist today. The updated FGTS Plan and maps guides implementation of the connected statewide trail system from 2019 through 2023.
The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) has also updated its statewide opportunity and priority trail maps. Many trails are eligible for certain types of funding if they are on one or both maps.
As part of the update, OGT held 14 public workshops throughout the state to receive input from trail users, local planners and the public. OGT also received hundreds of e-mails and letters and input from the Florida Greenways and Trails Council. The input is helping to shape the direction of trails for years to come! The final versions of the Plan and maps are posted below…”
Photo: The Regulatory Review
“Cities across the country have been invaded by flocks of Birds. But these Birds do not have wings—they have wheels.
Bird is the largest of several electric scooter share companies operating in cities worldwide. Scooter users download an app to locate and unlock the motorized scooters, then rent them by the minute. The scooters are dockless and tracked by GPS, so users can park them anywhere at the end of a ride instead of returning them to a designated location.
In theory, these programs are similar to bike shares like Indego, Divvy, and CitiBike, which offer short-term bicycle rentals within certain cities. But the sudden rollout of motorized scooters on city sidewalks—sometimes without warning—has demanded rapid regulatory responses from city officials.
In Los Angeles, where Bird unexpectedly launched last fall, many residents eagerly adopted motorized scooters as a short-distance transportation option. But the city government also received immediate complaints.
According to scooter share companies, users are supposed to ride scooters in bike lanes and park them near bike racks. But in practice, riders often zoom along sidewalks. Users also park scooters where they block pedestrian traffic, frustrating other residents.
Los Angeles issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bird in June 2018, demanding it to ‘remove any and all vehicles’ from the city. But the letter also stated that the city had a ‘pending regulatory process for permitting scooters’ which, if adopted, would allow Bird—and similar companies such as Lime and Spin—to operate scooter shares legally.
Since then, Los Angeles City Council approved a city-wide dockless vehicle pilot program. The program invited Bird and other companies to establish scooter shares by following new rules about permitting, parking, and maintenance. The regulations include a requirement for companies to have a 24-hour contact person available for ’emergency removals’ of scooters.
Other cities have also regulated scooters, including Washington, D.C. The city began a formal pilot program for dockless vehicles last year to test the popularity of scooter and bike shares. According to Washington’s Department of Transportation, the program logged more than 625,000 rides since its start date through June 2018.
Due to the high demand for dockless scooter and bike sharing, Washington extended its pilot program to the end of 2018 and plans to launch a new city-wide permitting process in 2019…
Electric scooters…are more popular and affordable than the Segway. In most cities, Bird charges a dollar to unlock a scooter and only 15 cents per minute of riding. This makes scooters available to users who cannot or do not want to pay hundreds of dollars to purchase their own scooter. The widespread popularity of shared electric scooters has made calls for their regulation far more pressing than those raised by Segway.
Despite the scooter wave that has swept through cities worldwide, one major city has held out—New York City. This is in part because the state of New York completely prohibits the use of motorized scooters, defined as ‘a device with a motor attached and a handlebar for a standing rider.’
Scooter companies have so far been unwilling to launch in New York City. But growing demand for affordable, convenient transportation—and the potential to alleviate automobile traffic and parking challenges—has inspired city officials to pave the path for scooters. Two New York City Council members, Rafael L. Espinal Jr. and Ydanis Rodriguez, introduced a package of legislation that would allow electric scooter shares in the city…”
— Kate Mancuso,The Regulatory Review
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