Last week, I began my quest to make sense of the Coast to Coast Connector (C2C), a series of bike paths that will eventually lead you around and across Florida, from one coast to the other.
Connecting a series of existing trails, the C2C will take you from Titusville to St Petersburg. It will be a ride completely across the state, without forcing cyclists out to the road. It will be a true “motor free” long distance trail for bicycling and pedestrian use.
My first ride was a spur of the C2C under construction in Volusia County east of I-95. This bike path will link Edgewater (just south of New Smyrna Beach) to the C2C leading to Titusville.
I have driven along Old Mission Road between New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater many times, but I never realized that there was a hidden railroad crossing. Earlier in the year, I noticed a sign announcing that a certain intersection along Old Mission Road was to be improved. On a later trip, I saw the old railroad tracks protruding from the edges of the road surface. They had been long covered by asphalt, so any trace of an old railroad grade has been hidden from view.
As I watched the progress of the intersection improvement, clearing began along old railroad right-of-way, creating a tunnel through the woods in both directions. Heading towards I-95, the pathway disappeared around a bend. Heading east, the pathway toward US1 was easy to check on by taking the side roads. I witnessed the surface preparation and then paving of the pathway as it was completed. So I decided that it was time to grab the GPS and camera and find out what was going on.
The east end of the trail currently ends at the intersection at Dale Rd. But it’s a very short, mostly sidewalk ride from Rotary Park on Park Avenue in Edgewater to get to the newly paved bike path.
Crews were still working on the curbing at two of the roads, and Old Mission Rd was being repaved at the crossing. I walked my bike around where they were working and continued. A couple of fellows asked me “how far are you riding?” I told them I was headed to where the pavement ended, for now.
At this end of the trail, the bike path is nearly completely under the cover of a canopy of trees. I could see concrete pads in place for future benches, and as I rode down the path, I met another group of workers pouring concrete as I approached SR 442.
There are some places along the bike path where you look into people’s back and side yards. But there is a wall of green for most of the ride. There are still a few places where concrete and asphalt will be added. So it is not quite ready for general use, but it is getting close.
For over a year, I’ve watched construction of an enormous bridge for the bike path over SR 442 right within view of I-95. It looks to be nearly complete, but the bridge is still closed. I am sure that it will open soon.
I am not sure what I’ll find on the other side of the bridge. That will be the next journey.
This was an 8-mile round-trip ride from Rotary Park to SR 422 and return.