The Florida SUN Trail Is Getting Longer
While you can say that feet, bicycles, cars, and trucks are all modes of transportation, there’s a big difference between the first and second pair. Between the weight, the speed, and the engine, cars and trucks can be dangerous to hang around when you’re going about on foot or on a simple bicycle. That’s why communities across the nation have been working to develop and expand paved trails just for walking and unpowered vehicles, a place where you can go biking without having to share the road with much bigger traffic.
It’s good to hear that southwest Florida is nearing the completion of the Florida Sun Trail. The goal of the trail is to connect Clearwater near Tampa to Naples in the south, and to do so with a bike and pedestrian trail that doesn’t have to detour onto a regular street or even cross them at an intersection if it’s a busy part of the city. Instead, the Gulf Coast Trail will forge its own path and offer pedestrian overpasses to get around highways and busy city centers.
The SUN Trail Advantage
The big push for safer non-motorized trails in Florida came in 2015. That was the year the state passed a new bill funding the SUN (Shared-Use Non-motorized) Trail program by adding a small increase to the vehicle registration fee every year.
The single biggest project has been the Coast-to-Coast Trail that will soon connect St. Petersburg on the Gulf with Titusville on the Atlantic and connect Tampa to Orlando along the way. The Gulf Coast Trail is lower on the priority list, but it plans to connect existing community trails and save a lot of money in the process.
The Need For Safety
In both cases, the point of the pedestrian trails is to give people a safe way to get around and see the state without having to drive. Florida has some notoriously dangerous traffic thanks to its narrow shape, large population, and equally large tourism industry, and so non-motorized trails encourage people to drive less and get pedestrians and cyclists off the busy roads.
Pedestrian trails also boost property values and allow travelers to spend more time close to the natural beauty Florida has to offer. The Gulf Coast Trail can give residents a way to commute and run errands without using their cars and it allows tourists and vacationers both local and international to explore the southwestern part of the state one mile at a time and ultimately travel over 300 miles along some of the state’s best beaches and wilderness areas.
Some modern, well-kept pedestrian trails could do wonders for reducing the number of traffic accidents Florida sees every year, and that means fewer messy insurance claims and court cases based on those accidents. Here at the offices of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh we’d be happy to hear of fewer auto accidents and injuries on the road, but if you end up in one we encourage you to contact us and get yourself an ally when the time comes to negotiate a fair settlement from the auto insurance company.