City Commission takes another step with plans for construction of Alderman Multi-Use Recreational Trail connector to Legacy Trail

Formal budget amendment approved for project this fiscal year

This graphic shows the Alderman MURT connector to School Avenue. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota City commissioners formally approved a budget amendment reflecting a $400,000 grant that the city has received from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the construction of what is being called the Alderman Multi-Use Recreational Trail (MURT).

The March 18 Agenda Request Form for the item noted that City Manager Marlon Brown singed the standard grant agreement with FDOT on July 12, 2023. The project, the form explains, will consist of engineering, design, surveying, permitting and finally the construction of the 1,170-linear-foot, 14-foot-wide trail, along with a shade shelter, trash receptacles, benches, tables, a bike rack, a drinking foundation, lighting, educational and informational signage, and landscaping.

The city has to put up $375,000 as a match for the state funds, the form notes. That money will come out of Multi Modal Transportation Impact Fees revenue, the form says.

In October 2023, city staff noted the expectation that the project would get underway in the latter part of this year.

As city staff has explained in the past, the MURT will be constructed as the connector from south Payne Park to The Legacy Trail at the latter’s School Avenue junction. That will enable The Legacy Trail to tie into protected bike lanes on the Ringling Trail in downtown Sarasota “and offer shorter travel distances for those bicycling, walking or using mobility assistance devices” to reach other locations within the city.

The Legacy Trail stretches for almost 20 miles from Venice to School Avenue, a Sarasota County Government document says. The Trail extends about 10 more miles from Venice to North Port.

This map also shows the site of the proposed Alderman MURT. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

A related October 2023 report prepared for the city by PaleoWest LLC of Tallahassee — a copy of which The Sarasota News Leader found through the city website — explains that the MURT will extend from School Avenue through the southern edge of Payne Park, including a connection to South East Avenue, and then along the north side of Alderman Street, for approximately 0.25 miles.

During the March 18 City Commission meeting, one city resident, Pearlie Freiberg, did express concern about any tree trimming that would be scheduled in conjunction with the project. She also referenced the Payne Park Master Plan, which — she said — was created circa 2003. That plan, she continued, shows that “Alderman Street is a 50-foot-wide public right of way. It is also known as South Payne Parkway.”

Moreover, Freiberg said, the master plan “consistently says” that … Alderman Street should be extended to School Avenue.

1 thought on “City Commission takes another step with plans for construction of Alderman Multi-Use Recreational Trail connector to Legacy Trail”

  1. I am always happy to see media coverage about the Alderman Corridor.
    Please be advised that the Alderman Corridor (which already consists of one MURT and several segments of city streets) does not directly intersect the Ringling Trail, but roughly parallels it.
    The topic of this SNL article is the eastern end of what was once a rail spur extending westward from the northward curve of the tracks just east of School Ave. I know the spur crossed Orange Ave. I have never been able to determine exactly where it ended, but Duany’s “2020 Downtown Master Plan” shows it crossing US 41 and ending on the bay front as the “Laurel Park Belvedere”. (Unfortunately an easement beside Essex House was found to be mostly under the building, and there was no other way to get between the condos, so it ends at Palm Ave.)
    I am well aware of how hard to understand this route is for people (myself included) who weren’t in Sarasota before the passenger rail left and the tracks removed, circa 1970. I advocated for this bic/ped trail as much as I could from the early 1990’s to the early ’00’s, and the only people who clearly understood what I was talking about were longtime Sarasota natives.
    The slightly elevated grassy strip extending west from School Ave. is easy to see, but to this day I do not understand what the status of that strip was after the tracks were taken up. (Pearlie Freiberg may have had concerns about that, but did not have time to express all her concerns at the City Commission meeting.)
    I do know that Brother Geenen Way was formerly called Alderman St., and that Alderman continues west from Osprey Ave. Years ago the City built a MURT which crosses an arm of Hudson Bayou, becomes a road again which crosses Orange Ave. and goes as far as Palm Ave.
    The “Alderman MURT” is the missing link in what I will call the Alderman Bic/ped Corridor.

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