Long-awaited North Brevard 'rail trail' opens with Community Cycle Fun Day

Posted on February 23, 2018

The final stretches of North Brevard's long-awaited "rail trail" officially open Saturday with a Community Cycle Fun Day.

The 15-mile Florida East Central Regional Rail Trail within Brevard County stretches from Canaveral Avenue in Titusville to the Volusia County line.

It can be used by walkers, runners and bicyclists, with a section from Mims to the Volusia Ciounty line also open to horses and their riders.

The paved 12-foot-wide multiuse trail will connect with 52 miles of rail trail in Volusia County.

Sarah Kraum, multimodal specialist for the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization, said a separate parallel 8-foot-wide equestrian trail north of Aurantia Road is available for horse riders.

There also is a rail head with parking at the west end of Aurantia Road.

"It's an amazing trail for cycling," said Abby Hemenway, public involvement officer with
the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization. "Ultimately, this section serves as an essential piece of multiple converging trails."

The trail system is expected to help attract tourists to the Titusville area.

"I think it's extremely important for Brevard," Hemenway said. "It's all about being multi-modal, and getting out there and being healthy."

This trail also is part of:

• The 250-mile-long Coast to Coast Trail, which spans from St. Petersburg to Titusville.

• The 260-mile-long St. Johns River to Sea Loop, which will connect five counties, going from Titusville north to St. Augustine, then west to Palatka and back around.

• The 2,900-mile-long East Coast Greenway, which runs from Maine to Key West.

On Saturday, a Community Cycle Fun Day will be held for the public, with 377 cyclists registered in advance.

Cyclists who have not signed up can register that day at the Titusville Welcome Center, 419 S. Hopkins Ave., which is on the southbound side of U.S. 1.

Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m., and riders should check in at least 30 minutes before their route start time. These are the start times for the rides:

• 40-mile ride at 9 a.m.

• 30-mile ride at 9:15 a.m.

• 20-mile ride at 9:30 a.m.

• 10-mile ride at 10:15 a.m.

• 5-mile ride at 10:30 a.m.

The rides will end with an after-party with food, music and family activities at Sand Point Park in Titusville.

About 140 community leaders attended a ribbon-cutting for the trail on Friday. Speakers included:

• Eric Draper, director of the Florida Parks Service.

• Florida Rep. Rene Plasencia.

• Brevard County Commission Chair Rita Pritchett.

• Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson.

• Heather Garcia, shared-use nonmotorized trail coordination Florida Department of Transportation District 5.

• Georganna Gillette, transportation planner with the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.

The East Central Regional Rail Trail has "pocket parks" along the way. These are loops that give trail users a place to rest or turn around.

The trail does not have bathrooms or benches, but "comfort stations" will be set up with water and snacks for Saturday's event, Kraum said.

The initial idea for the trail project dates back to 1996.

Development of the 12.8-mile section of the Florida East Central Regional Rail Trail that just opened cost more than $10 million, with funding coming through the Florida Department of Transportation through a combination of state and federal money.

The funding process was coordinated by the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.

The city of Titusville funded a 2.2-mile section of the trail that previously opened.

The trail will be maintained by the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department.

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