Tampa, Florida 2022-08-05 17:18:28 –
Pinellas County, FL — Good news for walkers, runners and cyclists in Pinellas County: You can now cover 75 miles on the Pinellas County Duke Energy Trail Loop. This comes after Pinellas County leaders just finished a significant portion of the trail for a project that began in 1990.
A new 6.7-mile trail segment stretches from Enterprise Road in Clearwater through the countryside to John Chestnut Sr. Park in Palm Harbor.
This completes the North Gap of the planned Pinellas Trail Loop. This is a 75-mile continuous multi-use route that circles the county.
The Pinellas Duke Energy Trail is complete except for a few minor improvements and a footbridge over the Lake Tarpon Floodway Canal. Construction of the bridge will begin next spring and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.
In the meantime, a temporary footpath has been connected from the intersection of Tampa Road and McMullen Booth Road to East Lake Road. Trail users can follow the signs around the area.
83-year-old Freda Brown of New Port Richey is thrilled with the improvement. She likes to earn miles.
“I love the Pinellas Trail because you can bike everywhere, like St. Pete Pier. You can take the trail to Brooksville without even getting on the road,” she added.
Despite her age, Brown continues to baffle her friends by biking 20 to 30 miles every day.
“They say, ‘Are you kidding?’
Fred Marquis was at the opening of the trail on Friday. He is a retired Pinellas County administrator and has been involved in trail improvement for 34 years. He dedicated so much of his life to the project that county leaders named a section of the trail after him.
“It’s an honor beyond words. It makes me cry every time. It’s a dream come true for a lot of people,” he explained.
The Pinellas Trail exploded in popularity during the pandemic and now welcomes 2 million users annually.
“We knew 30 years ago that this project was going to be very exciting. We knew people would love it. We had no idea what it meant for the state,” said Scott Daniels of Friends of the Pinellas Trail.
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibberd said that as the trail has grown in popularity, so has the need for safety.
“It’s a great asset, but it can also lead to tragedy if people don’t recognize each other,” Hibbard added. “If you see a crosswalk with or without a signal, pedestrians and cyclists have right of way in Florida. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t know that.”
Brown said a little courtesy and common sense go a long way.
“When you’re coming behind someone who’s slow, lean to the left and shout on your left to let them know you’re coming, or they’ll get scared,” she elaborated.
The Pinellas Trail Loop also has a regional connection to the Hillsborough and Pasco County trail networks that connect to the western end of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail, a 250-mile loop heading to Titusville on the east coast, according to Pinellas County leaders. .
Pinellas Trail now extends 75 miles in a loop around Pinellas County Source link Pinellas Trail now extends 75 miles in a loop around Pinellas County