St. Johns River to Sea Loop to connect St. Johns County neighborhoods

Trail to give families a safe place to walk, ride

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A new 30-mile trail will connect neighborhoods in St. Johns County – and give families a safe place to walk and ride their bikes.

It’s part of the 260-mile St. Johns River to Sea Loop, dubbed the longest multi-use trail in the southeast.

“That sounds wonderful, I would love for that to happen,” James Vitale said.

Vitale is a cyclist who bikes up to 30 miles a day through busy downtown St. Augustine.

Part of the loop trail would cut right through where he rides every day.

Right now, part of the trail is already complete in Hastings. It will be extended through downtown St. Augustine to the coast, south to Marineland.

“It will connect West Augustine, the city, the beaches and everywhere in between,” Heather Neville said. “It’s going to connect so many communities with this really separated, safe place to ride, or walk or run or whatever you want to do.”

Neville is a bike safety advocate who has been working for 10 years to help bring the trail to the county.

She says one major benefit – safety. It’s top of mind after two bicyclists were killed in a hit and run on race track road last month.

‘This is a huge opportunity. This is the largest single investment in bicycle pedestrian infrastructure probably in the history of our district,” she said. “You’re talking almost $25 million project.”

Neville says the project is already funded through FDOT – now they need the community to show support, and help plan the route.

They're hosting a meeting Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Guy Harvey Resort.

“It’s going to take a lot of the community to get involved to make sure it’s supported through our elected officials and boards and committees things like that,” she said.

She's encouraging families who can't make it to the meeting to visit the website and voice their thoughts to commissioners.

“Embrace anything that’s going to get you off the couch,” Vitale said. “Something that will encourage people to get out will be great, I think it’ll be good for everybody.”

Neville said parts of the trail could be ready for cyclists like Vitale is as little as two years.

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