Segments of a north-south urban trail initiating from Downtown Orlando have been in the City’s Growth Management Plans since the mid 1980s.
The trail will play an important transportation function by connecting to three Sunrail Stations including the station at Florida Hospital, the Historic Church Street Station, and the station at the Region’s Transportation Hub, Lynx Central Station. The trail will also connect Orlando’s Cultural Corridor by linking the core of the Downtown and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts with the region’s cultural park, Loch Haven Park, 1.5 miles to the north. The overall
corridor will be 4 miles from near the Amway Center to Mead Garden adjacent to the northern Orlando City Limit.
The northern segment is referred to as the "Dinky Line", which is a tribute to the historic nickname of the former rail line to Winter Park. The construction for most of the northern segment, starting at Magnolia Avenue and continuing north, is now complete. On Thursday July 12, 2012, 5:30pm, at Loch Haven Park next to Mennello Museum (900 East Princeton St) Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 3 City Commissioner Robert Stuart and District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan officially opened the first segment of the Orlando Urban Trail from South Lake Formosa Drive to Magnolia Avenue. The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony at Loch Haven Park followed by a free community 5K and 1 mile run/walk with approximately 800 neighborhood residents participating.
The Orlando Urban Trail will serve as an important transportation connection that will eventually link three of the four SunRail stations in the City of Orlando.
“Since I became Mayor, I have stressed the need to focus on transportation and giving our residents options outside of their automobiles,” said Orlando Mayor Dyer. “The completion of this segment of the Orlando Urban Trail project accomplishes just that and connects our community to multi-modal transportation alternatives.”
This portion of the Orlando Urban Trail will also link Orlando’s Cultural Corridor by connecting the core of Downtown and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts with Loch Haven Park and its cultural facilities.
“We have been focused on revitalizing Loch Haven Park into a regional cultural arts destination, making this trail and its links even more vital to connecting our community,” said District 3 City Commissioner Robert Stuart. “In addition to the trail, the City was just awarded a grant from the National Endowment that will help us further this vision and continue to solidify the area as a hub for arts and culture.”
The new section of the trail adds to the City’s more than 280 miles of urban trails, signed routes and lanes. It includes landscaping to provide shade and way finding signage to accommodate walkers, bicyclists and skaters. The new trail further enhances recreation options with wide paved paths and provides a free public asset to help citizens stay fit and get exercise while exploring explore Orlando.
“Completion of this new pedestrian and bike path provides an increased quality of life for everyone who lives in this area of our City, providing a safe amenity for our families and residents to utilize and enjoy,” said District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.
Once complete, the entire Orlando Urban Trail will eventually connect from Mead Garden in Winter Park through Downtown Orlando encompassing the Dinky Line and Gertrude’s Walk and then extending southwest to connect with the Shingle Creek Trail and into Kissimmee.
View Orlando Urban Trail in a larger map
The segment of the trail in Downtown Orlando is known as Gertrude's Walk and exists from Church Street to Washington Street parallel to the railroad tracks through Downtown. This segment was renovated in 2010, but was originally developed by Bob Snow in the 1970s and 1980s era of the Church Street Station Development. A Design-Build Trail Project to extend the trail from Washington Street to the Lynx Central Station at Livingston Street is scheduled to start in late 2012.
Initial planning efforts on a 0.75 mile missing gap from Lynx Central Station to Magnolia Avenue near the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce have been completed and funding is being sought for the completion of the segment. The focal point and game changing project component of this segment is the trail overpass across SR 50.
The final, and honestly less clear expansion is east from Lockhaven Park to the Cady Way Trail which was recently extended to Druid Lake Park at Coy Dr. Druid Lake Park itself is only a recent acquisition of the city and is currently still under construction. The trail map currently shows the connection as an "On-Street Route", which leads me to believe that it will be a considerable amount of time before a formal, paved trail, links the two downtown trails.
Editors Note: Thanks to Cassandra with the City of Orlando for assisting with the information and content of this article.