The Alachua County Board of Commissioners will take its final vote on the Archer Braid Trail at its Dec. 11 meeting, which will be open to the public.
The board is being asked to reconsider a 2.2-mile trail portion that was rejected in September. The portion would run down 91st Street and 46th Boulevard and connect Archer Road to Tower Road through Haile Plantation.
Haile Plantation resident and District 4 Commissioner Susan Baird said this issue has already been decided and the previously approved route is the best, most cost-effective route.
“Actually, I’m a little disappointed that it’s being brought up again when we have gone over this meeting after meeting, month after month, and three out of the five commissioners have voted for the current route that’s been approved, and that’s going down Archer Road and then up Tower Road,” she said.
Baird said the route that does not include the Haile Plantation portion poses less danger, connects the activity centers and uses taxpayer dollars more efficiently.
“It goes all the way down Archer and then it crosses over, and there’s only one major crossover versus the Haile route has three street crossings, which makes it a little more dangerous when you only have one crossing versus three,” she said. “It’s at least $6,000 cheaper.”
District 1 Commissioner Mike Byerly said with the recent election, he would like the new county commission to have a chance to reconsider the issue before it’s too late
“We have two new commissioners, a new county commission, a the three-person majority potential in the county commission, who all campaigned on the platform of the importance of multi-mobile transportation,” he said. “Elections have consequences. This is an issue that is very, very important to people who advocate for walking and cycling in Alachua County.”
Byerly said placing the trail through Haile Plantation would use taxpayer dollars to provide bicyclist- pedestrian paths on some major collector roadways that don’t currently have them.
“There are big gaps when people can’t get from the southern portion of Haile Plantation out to southern Tower Road and to the schools there without having to get there into the street,” he said. ”It’s an important infrastructure that every major street should have some availability for people to walk or bicycle safely.”