Imagine living in a town where there are nonmotorized multiuse trails that stretch for miles in every direction that will take you to work, parks, beaches, restaurants, lodging, and other popular destinations.
Imagine traveling without the stress or worry caused by motor vehicle traffic on a pathway where there are benches shaded by trees, pavilions where you can rest or picnic, bathrooms, water fountains and bike repair stations all strategically located along the trail.
The time has come for Collier County to join the growing number of “trail towns” across the United States providing transportation and recreational options to their residents and visitors.
You may ask, “What are trail towns anyway?” They are defined as communities located along or in proximity to a nonmotorized recreational trail or a recognized trail system. They are safe, ideal places for traveling to work, walking, biking, jogging, picnicking, camping, and offer an opportunity to experience wildlife up close.
Trails when planned properly which includes connectivity via dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks to the town center and popular attractions can revitalize communities. Trails become an integral part of the community and bring opportunities to businesses with outdoor tourism, encourage healthy lifestyles and connects families and friends with nonmotorized options. In 2014 the City of Naples unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Blue Zones Project. In 2015 the City of Naples adopted a resolution establishing a “Complete Streets” policy.
The Blue Zones initiative strives to enhance communities and the well-being of its residents by encouraging and promoting the world’s best practices for longevity and health by emphasizing proper diet and exercise.
The completion of the new Baker Park and redevelopment of Central Avenue and Eighth Street which include roundabouts, sidewalks and bike lanes are examples of the “Complete Street” policy providing safety for all modes of transportation and a built environment that promotes healthier lifestyles.
The Naples Pathways Coalition is raising awareness and funds for a necessary feasibility study to expedite the Paradise Coast Trail (PCT) project. When completed the proposed PCT will add 70 miles to the existing trails and bike lanes in Collier County and connect counties to the north via multiuse pathways.
The Florida Legislature began allocating 25 million dollars a year in 2015 to the Florida Sun Trail Project. These funds are available to counties by application to plan, design and build multiuse trail segments of the multiuse trail to connect and span the length of Florida’s west coast. Collier County’s PCT will be eligible to apply for these funds upon completion of the feasibility study.
Now more than ever it is important for the City and County government to stand by resolutions that provide for safe nonmotorized transportation options.
The Gordon River Greenway is the gateway to the Paradise Coast Trail, Collier County’s segment of the Florida Sun Trail. Safe passage to and from the trail systems coupled with “Wayfinding” directional signage for local attractions, county and city parks, beach accesses, the Naples Pier and Fifth Avenue and Third Street shopping and dining is a must for our residents and visitors whether they arrive by foot, bicycle or in a car.
Help us continue our mission advocating for safe walkable and bikeable communities in Collier County, encourage our elected officials to stand by the “Complete Street Policy” and supporting Blue Zones initiatives when at all possible to assure safety to pedestrians and bicyclists from the beginning of their journey until they reach their destination. We challenge you to become a NPC member and as partners advocate for policies that will make Naples a real “trail town” with the Paradise Coast Trail.
Want to learn more about the NPC? Visit us at, http://www.naplespathways.org or email Executive Director Catherine Faerber at Catherine@naplespathways.org.