NEWS

NEW TRAIL PLANNING OPEN HOUSE ANNOUNCED, JULY, 2017

You are invited to another Nassau County community open house to learn about the next phase of the Amelia Island Trail.

Amelia River-to-Sea Trail "Simmons Road Trail" Informational Open House

When: July 12, 2017 from 5:00PM - 7:00PM
Where: American Beach Community Center.
(1600 Julia Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034)

Information on the Amelia River to the Sea portion of the AIT will be provided and input received. This is a followup to the March 2nd open house. See news items below.
See July 12, 2017 Open House flyer.

 

AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL UPDATE FOR SUMMER, JUNE 28, 2017

Hello everyone, here's an update on trail and cycling activity in our local area primarily covering Amelia Island, the Talbot Islands and the Ft George area. First, let's talk about construction plans.

Amelia River-to-Sea Trail. (ARTS Trail) The design is progressing. After receiving feedback at the initial design review last year, the contractors have worked to incorporate local residents' comments and are preparing for the 90 percent Design Review. Nassau County Planner Kailey Porter has advised that a public meeting will likely be held in the American Beach Community Center on July 12th. This trail will run alongside the Simmons Road ROW from S. Fletcher Avenue westward to the City Ballfields off Bailey Road and then onward to the new privately-funded Crane Island development on the Amelia River. This project is funded for $1.35mil as FDOT project 43639871 for the Simons/Bailey Road Trail portion; Crane Island developers will fund their portion of the trail. Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., will be funding several amenities on this trail. The adjusted timeline now calls for construction to start in early 2018.

Timucuan Trail The latest 7/10 mile segment of the Timucuan Trail on Little Talbot Island (FM 433164-2) with spectacular ocean views is essentially complete and runs from the north end of the bridge over the Ft George River northward into Talbot Island State Park. FDOT representatives will soon request bids for the next segment from Ft George Island to Huguenot Park in 2018. That $2.5mil segment will include a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Haulover Creek (FDOT Project 434028-1). Other segments and new, wider roadway bridges with separated bike lanes over Simpson Creek and Myrtle Creek are planned for 2020. The Timucuan Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway and connects to the Amelia Island Trail.

Amelia Island Trail Extension. At this time FDOT and the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization anticipate the design for the next 4.4 miles will be accomplished in 2019/2020. The project will be divided into 4 segments connecting S. Fletcher Avenue (near Peters Point Park) with A1A (near the Shave Bridge), eventually providing a continuous bike trail alongside the Amelia Island Parkway.

Citrona Drive Sidewalk Improvement. The next 5-year workplan for FDOT will include a sidewalk improvement project from Hickory St to Beech St alongside Citrona Drive. This sidewalk borders the Fernandina Beach Middle School and the Fernandina Beach High School. The old asphalt path will be removed and a new sidewalk will be installed.

Heckscher Drive Bicycle Lanes. Seven miles of Heckscher Drive from the Mayport Ferry landing south to Blount Island is currently being resurfaced and widened; marked bicycle lanes will be included, according to FDOT spokesperson Debbi Delgado. This $2.7mil roadway project is expected to be completed by the end of July, 2017, in time for ESWR 2017.

Mark your calendars! The next Endless Summer Watermelon Ride (ESWR) will be held on Amelia Island on Sunday, September 10, 2017. This will be the 28th edition of this organized special event, and the 5th consecutive year it has been hosted on Amelia Island. It will include supported bicycle rides of various lengths up to 100 miles. Go to www.nfbc.us for more information.

Amelia Island Trail repairs. If you have run or cycled on the very southern section of the Amelia Island Trail recently you have likely noticed heavy rainstorms have caused severe soil erosion resulting in some slumping of the trail itself. Nassau County accepted responsibility for trail maintenance from FDOT in 2015 and the County maintenance staff are presently evaluating options to address the issue.

 
Work in progress as of July 1, 2017.
 


 
Work in progress as of July 5, 2017.

 
The one quarter mile segment of trail on "Sawpit Island" between the Amelia Island Trail and the Timucuan Trail which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew is still closed to pedestrians and cyclists. State Senator Aaron Bean did propose legislation to fund the repair but it was not approved in Tallahassee. Technically this site is wholly within Duval County. Currently, there are no plans to repair the damage. If you notice an area that requires maintenance or presents safety hazards, you can report it by calling 904-530-6175 for the Amelia Island Trail in Nassau County, and 904-329-4210 for Duval County FDOT

Fernandina Beach and Nassau County will be forming a small committee to help write our nomination package for the award of a "Bicycle Friendly Community" designation by the League of American Cyclists. Currently, we hold a "Bronze" level award and hope to upgrade to a "Silver" level award. Contact Kelly Gibson at 904-310-3141, or Kailey Porter at 904-530-6300 if you would like to help with this worthwhile project.

Support the AIT. If you would like to make a donation to Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., you may send your check to Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., POB 16113, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32035. FOAIT is an IRS-approved 501c(3) organization and your donation may be tax deductible.

Ride Safely and enjoy our trails!
Mike Pikula
President,
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc.
Visit and like us at https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaIslandTrail

 

CITY RECOGNIZES NATIONAL BIKE MONTH, PHIL SCANLAN PROPOSES MORE TRAILS, MAY 2, 2017

The city of Fernandina Beach, at their May 2, 2017 meeting, issued a proclaimation recognizing National Bike Month. In accepting the Proclamation, Phil Scanlan, CEO of the Friends of Amelia Island Trail, used the opportunity to promote "safe multi-use trails to downtown Fernandina Beaach" not just for recreation purposes, but to provide safe transportation lanes for commuters and residents who do not use automobiles. He expressed hope that the city and county would explore ways to dedicate transportation revenues toward trail construction and maintenance to accommodate growing dependence on island trails.

See Phil Scanlan presents at FB meeting.
See also Fernandina Beach Proclamations - May 2, 2017.

 

NEW TRAIL PLANNING OPEN HOUSE ANNOUNCED, FEBRUARY, 2017

You are invited to a Nassau County community open house to learn about the next phase of the Amelia Island Trail.

Amelia River-to-Sea Trail "Simmons Road Trail" Informational Open House

When: March 2, 2017 from 5:00PM - 7:00PM
Where: American Beach Community Center.
(1600 Julia Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034)

Information on the Amelia River to the Sea portion of the AIT will be provided and input received. For more information contact Kailey Porter at: kporter@nassaucountyfl.com or 904-530-6300 or Drop in for our Open House to discuss the Amelia River-toSea Trail, otherwise known as the Simmons Road Trail.

Come speak with Staff from the County, City and the Project Consultant, Element Engineering Group, to ask questions, view the plan thus far, and provide us with your feedback, comments and questions. Public participation is encouraged and sought without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Project Mgr name at the Project Mgr phone number at least 7 days before the meeting.

See March 2, 2017 Open House flyer.

 

BIKE AUCTION, JANUARY, 2017

Announcing a Bike Auction in Support of the Amelia Island Trail.

1994 Trek 2200 road bike, size 58cm.

Own a piece of cycling history
From the workshop of master restorer, Gus Reinwald, comes a rare bicycle: A 1994 Trek 2200 road bike. This early lugged carbon fiber framed bicycle has aluminum stays and full 8 speed Campagnolo grouppo. An unusual carbon and aluminum combination that shows Trek's progression in bicycle design.

See this bike at
SuperCorsa Cycles
4925 1st Coast Hwy
Amelia Island FL 32034

Auction runs January 29 - February 12. Send your bids and questions to: friendsoftheaitrail@gmail.com Minimum bid $300 or Buy It Now for $399. All sales final. Pay by cash or check and pickup by February 15.

For more information and photos of the bicycle, see Friends of Amelia Island Trail Facebook page.

 

TIMUCUAN TRAIL ADDITION COMING SOON, NOVEMBER 21, 2016

The Florida Department of Transportation will soon begin construction of a fifth segment of the Timucuan Trail, a multi-use bike and walking path, on the east side of Heckscher Drive (State Road A1A) from the Fort George River Bridge to Little Talbot Island State Park. The Timucuan Trail connects to the Amelia Island Trail at the south end of Amelia Island. See FDOT announces Timucuan Trail addition starting soon.

 

AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL FALL UPDATE, NOVEMBER 10, 2016

For this update, we have some good news items and one not-so-good item (that needs your help) to share about our local pedestrian and bicycle trails on and near Amelia Island.

First, trail cleanup from Hurricane Mathew is essentially complete, and the trail is in safe condition for your use, so enjoy the trail during this cooler fall weather. Thanks to everyone who helped with debris removal and general clean-up.

Simmons Trail. Design on the 2.2 mile Simmons Trail has reached the approximate 30% completion point. According to Jonathan Page, Nassau County's project engineer, once contractors complete certain milestones he will convene a public forum to allow interested persons to review and comment on the design. This "30% Design Review", likely to be scheduled by year's end, will allow the public and his office an opportunity to provide feedback and insure the contractor is on the right track.

This new paved trail will run westward from the intersection of S. Fletcher AV and Simmons Rd., to Bailey Rd, and then south across the Amelia Island Parkway to the City ball fields. At that point it will connect to a recently-completed paved trail into the new Crane Island development and terminate at an overlook on the Amelia River. Construction is expected to take place in Summer, 2017. Here's a link to the Detailed Simmons Trail Concept.

Hurricane Matthew Damage. The Amelia Island Trail on Amelia Island proper, sustained some damage from the October 8th storm, including much debris, downed trees and some actual asphalt surface and erosion damage. As of November 10, the trail on Amelia Island proper has been cleared of major debris and is again in use by local walkers, runners and cyclists.

However, one trail segment sustained major damage. In the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park, the causeway between the Nassau River Bridge and the Sawpit Creek Bridge which links Amelia Island State Park with Talbot Islands State Park was breached and is now closed to public use, essentially cutting the park in half. That segment constitutes an integral part of the Amelia Island Trail, linking it to the Timucuan Trail; it is also designated as part of the East Coast Greenway. One of our most popular NFBC weekly social rides usually crosses these bridges and causeway, but this damaged segment may never be available to fishermen, walkers or cyclists again.

See more images of the area at this Presentation on Sawpit Breach.

Senator Aaron Bean and his staff are in discussions with officials from the Florida Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to determine a course of action that will either repair the damage, or do nothing and allow nature to have its way. FDEP is currently assessing the damage and determining cost estimates. Recent discussions with FDEP officials were not promising; FDEP cited funding shortages and proposed a "do nothing" alternative.

Responsibility for maintaining the "George Crady Fishing Pier State Park" passed from FDOT to FDEP in 2003. Representative George Crady had earlier convinced the Florida Legislature to retain the old bridge for recreation rather than destroy it after the new A1A bridge next to it was completed in 1999. Funding to maintain the "Fishing Bridge" and causeway has come from a special trust fund using annual contributions from Duval and Nassau Counties. Unfortunately, FDEP expects repair costs to far exceed what money is in the trust fund and they have indicated they have no state funds to contribute.

Once actual FDEP cost estimates are available, Senator Bean will convene another discussion to determine the fate of this very popular connection between Duval and Nassau Counties. If you would like to see this now-severed connection restored, please contact Senator Bean or his assistant at:

Bean.aaron@flsenate.gov
Alexander.dee@flsenate.gov

Timucuan Trail Boardwalk. The boardwalk on Big Talbot Island by the large pond (aka Spoonbill Pond) across from the Sawpit Creek Boat Ramp is now open to the public. FDOT contractors recently completed the marking, signage, and on- demand flashing beacons to permit a safe crossing of A1A from the parking lot and connection to the Amelia Island Trail on the west side of the highway to the boardwalk on the east side. This boardwalk provides users with an elevated view of the large pond and is especially interesting to birdwatchers and naturalists. Although this boardwalk was completed several years ago, it has been closed to public use pending design and construction of this safer crossing.

We are making progress and appreciate your help. Enjoy our trails on Amelia Island and in nearby locations and stay tuned for more updates.

Ride Safely,
Mike Pikula
President,
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc.
Visit and like us at https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaIslandTrail

 

For earlier news, see News Archive

 

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