Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bike Route Being Planned Trail Would Go North from Hanna Park

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bike Route Being Planned Trail Would Go North from Hanna Park

Article excerpt

A bicycle route that will give people safer riding trails, more access to Jacksonville's wetlands and recreational activities along the way is in the works for eastern Jacksonville.

National and state park services and Jacksonville officials are planning a federally funded bike route from Hanna Park to the old Nassau Sound bridge on Florida A1A.

"The idea is to connect all the opportunities together so people can go from one place to another in an easy fashion," said Barbara Goodman, superintendent of the federal Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. "Right now, you have to figure it all out on your own."

Guides and brochures will explain the route, identify its designated trails and highlight activities along the way such as kayaking and camping, Goodman said.

The proposed 12.6-mile bike trail would start at Hanna Park north of Atlantic Beach, go west along Wonderwood Lane, north on A1A into Mayport, across the St. Johns River then north along A1A to the Nassau Sound bridge.

"It's really a safety issue," said Atlantic Beach Mayor John Meserve, who would like the bike trail to extend through the Beaches cities. "A lot of bikers would like to [ride] through the area if they knew a safe way to do it."

The route would be set up amid construction of the Wonderwood Expressway, which will link Mayport and Arlington. Bicyclists would ride the St. Johns River ferry from Mayport to Heckscher Drive.

Details of the bike route, which is expected to cost about $2.6 million, are still being finalized, Goodman said.

Bike paths would make riding safer for less-experienced riders, said Stan Sanford, owner of Champion Cycling and Fitness.

Bike paths will line the route as much as possible but some areas will require bike lanes, Goodman said. A bike path is a paved surface separated from the street, similar to a sidewalk. A bike lane is an addition to the existing street.

Many people ask Sanford for a good place to ride in Jacksonville, but he said he hesitates to send inexperienced riders to Heckscher Drive because they'd be forced to ride alongside "high-speed" traffic. …

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