AFS Blog

Car Free Way to Live, Work and Play

Posted on April 16, 2018 | by Carol Kranitz
Car Free Way to Live, Work and Play

Sun was shining, the sky blue, and the air filled with excitement as community members of all ages gathered for Sarasota’s first Roll & Stroll presented by the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The family-friendly event offered a unique opportunity for participants to walk or bike along one, two, three or all four route options for the future Gulf Coast Trail, the extension of the current 12.5 mile Legacy Trail. The extension will wind into downtown Sarasota providing off road access to landmark attractions and safer travel routes to work or play locations.

In addition to rolling and strolling, event participants had the opportunity to visit information booths from local organizations including Ride and Stride, The Trust for Public Land, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, The Bay, and Friends of the Legacy Trail. An industrious group of Girl Scouts helped to hand out informational materials to community members, live music filled the air, and delicious food truck delicacies were available throughout the day’s program.

Sarasota/Manatee MPO not only welcomed feedback from participants on the best future Gulf Coast Trail option but also received more than 70 signed bike-safe pledges – agreements that bike riders will wear a helmet, obey traffic signs, yield to pedestrians and ride in the same direction as traffic. Simultaneously, vehicle operators agreed to use turn signals, share the road responsibly, be extra cautious when passing bicyclists and when approaching driveways and sidewalks.

Corrine Tucker, the Sarasota/Manatee MPO Public Involvement Coordinator, reflected on the event. “Working with the Friends of the Legacy Trail was a great experience. Given the hurdles that were overcome, the Roll & Stroll was amazing. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the next ten years.”

Roll and Stroll was only one community-based event, part of a very long list of events, meetings, and community presentations by the Friends of the Legacy Trail. The approval for the extension of the Legacy Trail was the culmination of 10 years of work by the Friends of Legacy Trail and partnerships between multi-sector organizations in Sarasota County and beyond. Getting to this important crosspoint for the Legacy Trail Extension project included: 

  • transformation of railroad right way,
  • supporting the Sarasota County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation department which purchased a 1.7-mile segment,
  • raising multi-purpose funding to support everything from property acquisition, boundary surveys, engineering, and
  • working with the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners who adopted a resolution on March 14 for a bond referendum which would extend The Legacy Trail and its connections, if approved by voters.

It’s an interesting thought ... this sunny, Saturday morning ten years in the making is poised to have an impact on a car-free way to live, work and play in downtown Sarasota for years to come.

 


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