Two of Winter Park’s latest potential projects might lead to more connected and bike-friendly city.
The city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Board discussed the possibility of new bike-ready paths and trails surrounding a new public library in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, as well as Project Wellness – a new health and fitness facility planned for construction just south of Winter Park Memorial Hospital.
Winter Park Public Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer gave a presentation on the library’s potential new building at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The new facility, which would also include a new civic center, could expand the downtown core of the city westward and get more people walking and biking along Morse Boulevard.
“Lots of people walk up and down Park Avenue because there are shops and things to do, so if there’s a destination – if we have a library – that makes Morse Boulevard much more attractive,” Shaffer said.
“I think it’s a chance to improve Morse and make it more bike-friendly … it’s an opportunity to make a trail to that park.”
One such project has already been approved by the city along Denning Drive. Set for the next fiscal year, the project would shrink the road from four lanes to three in order to make the street safer for cyclists and other pedestrians.
Board member Scott Redmon agreed that the library could prompt similar opportunities along Morse.
“I think it’s a catalyst for us to look at connectivity in this city,” Redmon said. “We don’t want to lose this opportunity. From Denning to Morse, the whole thing ties in.”
Board chair David Erne said he was hopeful that the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency would set aside funding for a Morse Boulevard project next year.
The board also discussed trail opportunities near Project Wellness, a proposed two-story facility that would include a new Crosby YMCA with a walking track, gym, heated pool for aerobics, lap pool and three group exercise rooms; a café and classroom kitchen to teach nutrition; and several doctors and therapists on site to answer questions and meet with patients.
Winter Park Traffic Manager Butch Margraf said the city has looked into a creating a Ward Trail surrounding the outside of Ward Park directly to the east. He added the trail could then connect to the St. Andrews Trail, a city-approved, L-shaped pathway that would stretch for roughly two thirds of a mile from Cady Way Trail to Aloma Avenue.
Margraf said the city has just recently hired a consult to help design the St. Andrews Trail.