Mait­land

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Ryan Gille­spie

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

JOE BURBANK/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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.

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