County to get more input on trail through Haile


Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:57 p.m.

Proposals about the path and design of a multi-use trail from Archer to the Depot Avenue Trail will head to a workshop for more discussion and input from residents, the Alachua County Commission unanimously decided Tuesday.

Commissioners listened to about two hours of comments about the Archer Braid Trail, which has generated numerous emails over the past few weeks to the commission, mostly from Haile Plantation residents both for and against the path.

The current design for the Archer Braid Trail has it running along Archer Road to Southwest 91st Street, north into Haile Plantation, east along Southwest 46th Boulevard to Tower Road and north to Kanapaha Park. It then heads east along the north side of Lake Kanapaha, over Interstate 75 toward Butler Plaza, north to Hull Road and through the University of Florida campus before connecting with the Depot Avenue Trail near Shands at the University of Florida.

Many people who spoke at the meeting, including Haile residents and bicycling enthusiasts, said they supported sending the issue to a workshop to allow for more discussion and provide more accurate information about the trail.

Reviews of the trail and its proposed path were mixed.

Some said they thought the trail would be safer for students heading to school and people wanting to walk or bicycle in Haile and beyond and will improve property values.

Others questioned the trail's path, such as asking whether it would be beneficial to run it to the town of Archer.

Others said the idea should be scrapped. One Haile resident said the county had other matters to deal with that should take higher priority than the trail. Another said he didn't think the trail would be used much because of other paths in the area for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Commissioner Mike Byerly said he was disturbed by the amount of misinformation distributed about the trail such as that Haile residents would have to pay additional dues because of the trail or be held legally liable for accidents on it.

Byerly said some objected to the trail going through Haile because it was a private neighborhood with private streets. "It's not. You have private lots which front public streets," he said.

Byerly said the concept of a path between Archer and the University of Florida has been in existence for more than a decade. County Commissioner Susan Baird said people have been confused about the trail, probably due to a lack of communication between county staff and Haile residents. For example, she said, when she served on an architectural review commission in Haile Plantation during the past decade, she didn't recall being advised about the trail.

County Commissioner Winston Bradley said he would be interested in having Haile residents vote on the idea of the path after they have a chance to hear all the facts about it. "Take a vote in Haile and I would be willing to follow your dictates," he said.

For the past few weeks, Haile Plantation residents have spoken out in emails about the trail. Some worry about problems related to traffic, maintenance and crime. But other residents have said the trail will help the community by providing a way to get across town and connect with the Hawthorne Trail, promote business in the Village Center in Haile Plantation and improve walking and biking access.

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