With the Colonial Pedestrian Bridge support tower nearly finished, Orlando residents are suddenly becoming much more aware of the bridge project than they were before.
The 200 foot-long bridge is being hailed as the missing connection between the Orlando Urban Trail and Gertrude’s Walk, as it will cross over the SunRail/CSX rail lines and Colonial Drive, and was planned to be built in parallel with the I-4 Ultimate project. It broke ground on February 1, 2017.
A winning design for the project was chosen in May 2016, HERE.
Notable components of the estimated $8.7 million bridge project include:
- Stair access to and from State Road 50 for those entering/exiting from the sidewalks rather than the trails.
- Aesthetic LED lighting components.
- The transformation of the easement between Steelhouse and the trail into a dog walk area (shown at the bottom of this post).
- A hardscape plaza tucked away on the side of the trail with benches, bike racks, and wayfinding signage.
Traditionally, the Orlando Urban Trail begins just north of Loch Haven Park, on Mills Avenue, then runs alongside 17-92, behind Mills Park, across Virginia Drive, and hugs Lake Highland, ending near the intersection of Magnolia and Orange Avenues.
Cyclists will now be expected to merge with traffic on Orange Avenue and make their way to the northeastern corner of Steelhouse Apartments at 750 N. Orange Avenue [GMap]. After traveling around Steelhouse, pedestrians and cyclists will then hop over Colonial and come out on Concord Street. Path-users will then need to merge with existing sidewalks/bike lanes downtown.
LYNX has gone on record as being committed to finishing the remaining connection gap between Concord Street and Gertrude’s Walk, the latter of which is four blocks to the south of where the bridge will dump its commuters. This is important, as the on-street North Orange Avenue bike path is limited to just the North Quarter, and ends at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Colonial Drive.
A new extension of Gertrude’s Walk is near completion but it only stretches from Washington Street to West Jefferson Street. Local cyclist advocacy group, Orlando Bike Coalition, is hoping to convince the City that Orange Avenue is in need of an off-street/protected bike lane to better connect the two separate lengths of trail between Colonial and Jefferson.