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Public input needed for Jacksonville ‘Core-2-Coast’ trail study

Ideally, the Core-2-Coast Trail would begin in the Riverside/San Marco area at the Fuller Warren Bike and Pedestrian Bridge and traverse to the Beaches communities.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s a project that would create a trail that would extend from downtown to the beaches; a safe opportunity to travel on foot and by bike around Jacksonville.

In a partnership between the City of Jacksonville and the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), planners are studying possible alignments of a continuous shared-use path (SUP) from the downtown community to the beaches.

It’s called the “Core-2-Coast” follow-up study.

The study would also evaluate the feasibility of creating local routes to connect with the East Coast Greenway, a multi-use trail system that connects 15 states and 450 cities from Maine to Florida.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important a continuous west-east connector from the downtown urban core to the coastal communities along the Atlantic Coast is for Jacksonville,” said a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for Jacksonville’s planning department. city ​​transportation. First Coast News.

Ideally, the Core-2-Coast Trail would begin in the Riverside/San Marco area at the Fuller Warren Bike and Pedestrian Bridge and traverse to the Beaches communities.

The city planner said the SUP on the Fuller Warren Bridge highlighted the “high demand for active transportation facilities across the city.”

In the first three months since its opening, the trail saw a staggering 83,000 non-motorized users. The trail’s success has also helped support the Emerald Trail, which will connect and restore more than 30 miles of trails throughout Jacksonville’s urban core.

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“With Emerald Trail serving communities west of the SUP, Core-2-Coast will provide connectivity to residents east of the Fuller Warren Bike Trail,” the city planner said.

He emphasized that urban trail projects across the city are a result of bicycle and pedestrian deaths reported in Jacksonville higher than the national average.

Jacksonville is ranked the third most dangerous metropolitan area for cyclists and the sixth most dangerous for pedestrians in the country, based on accidents reported in the city.

The city planner said the Core-2-Coast trail study will serve as “critical steps in eliminating these accidents by improving Jacksonville’s roadway infrastructure and design.”

The Core-2-Coast trail was listed as a “high priority study” in the 2023 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update, earning the most points of seven other potential trails in Duval, Clay, Nassau counties and St. Johns.

Trail studies are evaluated based on several factors, including the number of bicyclist and pedestrian deaths in the proposed area, employment, student and population density, among others.

According to the plan, at least two cyclists and five pedestrians were killed in the area where the proposed Core-2-Coast trail would go.

“This trail is vital to creating a safe alternative transportation route, seeking accessibility for ages and abilities,” said Thalia Fusté, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the North Florida TPO. “Not only will it connect the Center with the Beaches, but it will give users access to the surrounding neighborhoods and establishments.”

RELATED: North Florida Transportation Planning Organization wants information on which road projects to invest in

While the Core-2-Coast trail project is in the initial planning phases, the agencies are seeking community input through a survey available through Monday, May 20.

In the survey, officials ask the public’s opinion on the study and their general experience using urban trails.

Specifically, the survey will serve as an indicator of who would use the roads if they were built.

The city planner said the roughly 16-mile trail could be suitable for federal or state funding “sometime in 2025 or beyond,” as the trail study is still in its early stages.

“Should such funds be granted, we may see the road to construction sooner rather than later,” he added.

Click here to take the Core-2-Coast Trail public opinion survey.