officials were considering replacing a sidewalk with a wider trail that would run 5.6 miles to Interstate 4, where it would connect with a pedestrian bridge being built over the highway. But not everyone is happy with the idea.
MAITLAND — It’s rare for Marti Hornell to see fellow walkers using the sidewalk along Sandspur Road, or bicyclists using the bike lane when she walks her children to school each Wednesday.
So she was confused to hear that Maitland officials were pondering replacing it with a wider trail that would run 5.6 miles to Interstate 4, where it would connect with a pedestrian bridge being built over the highway.
“No one uses that sidewalk except kids going to school, and now you’re bringing in strangers?” Hornell said of the proposed $750,000 trail. “I just think it’s completely redundant.”
She’s not alone in her criticism, as a Change.org petition she started in hopes of halting the project inches closer to 900 signatures. Other detractors fear the trail would bring additional traffic and crime into their neighborhood, while others took issue with a potential loss of trees or found it a waste of taxpayer money.
But city officials say the trail is much needed to allow bicyclists and pedestrians access to the planned pedestrian bridge over Interstate 4 that would connect the neighborhoods on the east side of the highway, with parks and athletic fields as well as the booming employment district west west of it.
City Councilman Mike Thomas pointed to a 2015 survey of 334 Maitland residents, which revealed respondents most wanted additional pathways and trails.
“It will create access to the Lake Destiny ball fields for bike and pedestrian traffic and eventually we want to link up with the whole Central Florida regional trail network,” he said. “That’s the way of the future. These are the most desired amenities these days.”
City Manager Sharon Anselmo received preliminary design plans three weeks ago, which at this point are estimated to be 30 percent done. Engineers were told to see if the trail was feasible, and also to determine the damage it would cause to the tree canopy.
An arborist studied the 400-plus trees along the road and determined five dead or declining trees should be removed. New oaks will be planted in their place, officials said.
Later, designers will produce
Janet McCulloh, a new Maitland resident who bought a home on Sandspur Road, is against the city’s plan to build a bike trail through her yard.