Sandspur Bike-Pedestrian Trail Project

There have been a number of concerns brought to our attention relating to the installation of a bike/pedestrian trail on the northern side of Sandspur Road.  Results of some preliminary design work on this project is now available that may help to address some of these same concerns.   

The Sandspur Road trail connection has been under review for eight years.  The initial investigation in to the possibility for a trail near this location was noted in 2010 in the Maitland Comprehensive Development Plan.  A feasibility analysis was then completed in late 2015.  The conclusion of this study was to connect a trail segment on the north side of Sandspur Road to a section of trail on Wymore Road, which will then ultimately tie directly to the pedestrian bridge being constructed by FDOT over Interstate 4.  These trails will then connect the City athletic fields, parks and neighborhoods on the west side of Interstate 4 to the existing city trail system at Maitland Avenue and on to the Maitland Community Park and Dommerich neighborhoods.  The bridge will eliminate I-4 as a barrier to bicycle and pedestrian connectivity east and west in Maitland.

One of the primary concerns when developing this trail was the preservation of trees along Sandspur Road.  Based upon this concern, the City Council insisted that the design preserve as many trees as possible as well as require tree replacement should removal be necessary.   These requirements were included in the contract with the trail design team.  With this direction, the design team developed an alignment that is sensitive to the environment and provides bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, linking key areas of the city.

HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESENTED:

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE INITIAL TRAIL PLANS?

The initial plans have been posted here.  Should you have questions or concerns you can contact the Parks & Recreation Director, Jay Conn at jconn@itsmymaitland.com or 407-539-6247.

ARE MOST OF THE TREES ARE BEING REMOVED FROM SANDSPUR ROAD?

No.  The initial plans referenced above show very limited  tree removal.  There are over 400 trees along Sandspur Road.  There are a total of five oaks and three small ornamental trees that engineers have identified for removal or potential removal.  An independent arborist evaluated  the condition of the trees in question. The arborist rated four of the oaks to be in dead or poor condition.  One oak near Maitland Avenue is listed as fair condition.   The arborist’s report is provided on this page for your review.

The trail could work around four of the trees, but these are trees listed as poor condition or dead.   Replacement trees are to be replanted in place of all removed trees. This will result in no net loss of trees in the corridor.   The replacement trees will be higher quality species and structure than the existing trees.

The City of Maitland has always preferred to keep as much of the existing attractive tree canopy on Sandspur Road as possible.  A bike trail with a pleasant, shady route is one of the top desires for families when choosing a biking location.  It is only natural for as many trees along this route to be preserved as possible.

WILL THIS TRAIL WILL BRING MORE TRAFFIC TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

The roadway remains untouched, including the bike lane markings and medians.  The trail will bring no additional vehicular traffic. Additionally, there is no parking planned for the trail on Wymore or Sandspur Road.

WHAT DOES THIS TRAIL CONNECT?

This recreation trail is a key connection between the new bike-pedestrian bridge over I-4, and provides the only true east-west connection to both sides of Maitland in a bike and pedestrian friendly way.  Just under one third of the residents of Maitland live west of I-4, including single family residential homes, townhomes, condominiums, and apartments. The initial connection on the west side is the soccer field on Lake Destiny Road and the bike-ped trail continues to the City’s Keller Road Ballfields and the new Fennell Street Park.  On the east side of I-4, the trail connects to the fields at Lake Sybelia and then onto the SunRail Station.   From there, it connects through Gamewell Avenue in the Greenwood Gardens neighborhood to the bike trail that goes over 17-92 through the Maitland Community Park and into the Dommerich neighborhoods.  There is an extensive bike route system within this area that connects to Winter Park and Orlando.  The bike route map is provided in the attachments on this web page.

WHO WILL USE THIS TRAIL?

In the most recent Parks & Recreation survey of City residents, trails and connections to parks and major facilities were rated as a top priority by a significant margin. The Sandspur Road trail would primarily be a recreational trail, like the Cady Way Trail, Seminole Trail or West Orange Trail.  Families, recreational bikers and children are most comfortable riding on off-street bike facilities.  The connections to the City’s athletic fields on the west side all the way through to the Maitland Community Park will be a comfortable 5.6 mile round-trip ride for riders of all skill levels.

WHY SANDSPUR ROAD AND NOT ANOTHER LOCATION?

Several reasons make Sandspur Road the optimal location for locating a trail at this location.
It directly links several existing or soon to be existing bike facilities.
Directly at the east end of where the Sandspur Road Trail will terminate is the existing Bridle Path Trail that connects bikers in to the Greenwood Gardens bike route and to the U.S. 17-92 bike overpass that connects to the Maitland Community Park.  To the west, the Sandspur Trail will connect to a short trail segment on Wymore Road that ties directly to the FDOT pedestrian bridge over Interstate 4 that is now slated to open in July of 2019.

It directly links multiple community activity centers allowing residents to choose to use their bikes instead of relying on their cars.
Those connections include the RDV Sportsplex, the Keller Road baseball fields, the Lake Destiny Soccer Fields, Orangewood Church and School, Lake Sybelia Elementary School, the Jewish Community Center, the Maitland SunRail Station, the Maitland Community Park, Maitland Middle School, Dommerich Elementary School, and most importantly a large number of residential areas throughout Maitland.

A trail placed on Maitland Boulevard is not recommended.
Maitland Boulevard runs parallel to Sandspur Road and some individuals have asked if it could be placed there instead.  As everyone is aware, Maitland Blvd. is a high-speed road.  FDOT will soon be expanding Maitland Blvd. from 4 to 6 lanes which could encourage drivers to drive even faster along this road.  Asking small children to travel on bicycle trails next to vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed is not safe.  Inexperienced riders will undoubtedly use this trail at some point and placing those riders on the 25 mph Sandspur Road instead of the 45 mph Maitland Boulevard offers a much safer environment for everyone.
Additionally, the new Maitland Boulevard interchange is not designed for safe or efficient movement to allow bike or pedestrian access to the west side of town.
 
There will be minimal vehicle interaction with bikes on the north side of Sandspur Road
It is common knowledge in the world of bike facility design that you want to minimize the interactions between vehicles and bikers.  Even though there are several street crossings on Sandspur Road closer to Maitland Avenue, there are long stretches of uninterrupted bike paths on much of the north side of Sandspur Road where you won’t encounter a vehicle crossing compared with the south side.

THIS PROJECT HAS NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED.  WHY AM I JUST HEARING ABOUT IT NOW?

Information on the Sandspur Trail project has been publicized in a number of ways over the last several years.  Some of those methods have included the following:

Policy 4.1 of the Recreation Element of the 2030 Maitland Comprehensive Development Plan (advertised and discussed in several public meetings in 2010, eventually leading to final adoption in September of that year) identified for the City of Maitland to “determine the feasibility of implementing a ‘Maitland Greenway’ linking Wymore Road to downtown Maitland.”

A 2015 Engineering study to determine the most feasible connections to the forthcoming pedestrian bridge over I-4 sought input of several citizen advisory boards including the Transportation Advisory Board and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  The study concluded that a 10 foot trail on the northern side of Sandspur Road was the most feasible route on the east side of I-4.  The results of this study were publicized on the City of Maitland website for many months and still remains on the City website to this day.

The 2016/17 update of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan identified the Sandspur Trail project to be constructed as recommended by the 2015 feasibility report.  This draft plan master plan was publicized and debated in many public forums for over a year before finally being adopted by the Maitland City Council in April of 2017.

The project first appeared in the City of Maitland Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that was publicized and discussed extensively beginning in April of 2016.  It has been noted in the CIP continuously since that date.

The City of Maitland Downtown Master Plan was developed and discussed extensively in many public meetings in 2017.  The plan identified for a 10 foot wide recreational trail to be constructed on Sandspur Road that would further connect to downtown Maitland.  

The Sandspur Trail project was specifically placed on the December 6, 2017 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting agenda where it was discussed at length.

This project was specifically addressed in the Dec. 17/Jan. 18 issue of the Maitland Express newsletter that was distributed with the December 2017 Maitland utility bills.  This issue currently continues to be available on the city website.

The Sandspur Road Trail will have minimal impact to the surrounding neighborhoods in this area. A sidewalk existing at this location is already 4 feet wide in some locations and is 5’ to 6’ wide in others.  The current sidewalk will be reconstructed to 8-10 feet to accommodate bike riders and other recreational users.  No additional parking or trailheads are being provided for this trail, which demonstrates that it is designed to give local families the opportunity to be able to bike directly from their homes and enjoy a leisurely ride at a location here in Maitland as opposed to attracting others from area communities.  Given the many linkages that this trail will create and the attractive tree canopy already existing along Sandspur Road; the minimal vehicle traffic that will be encountered along this route; the overwhelming desire by local residents for additional bike facilities; and the proximity to the multi-million dollar pedestrian bridge being constructed over Interstate 4;  there is little doubt that this trail location is optimal for providing Maitland residents with a new high-quality recreational amenity that will be enjoyed now and by generations of Maitland residents.