Orlando seeks consultants for Downtown Connector Trail, update to Bicycle Plan

Bob Moser

The city of Orlando is seeking local transportation planning and design consultants to help plan and design a Downtown Connector Trail and update the city's Bicycle Plan, according to two Requests for Qualification Statements (RQS) issued on Monday.

The city created the Cady Way Trail in the late 1990s, and wants to prioritize creating a safe and convenient off-street trail system. Orlando's bicycle network currently consists of more than 40 miles of trails, located in the southeast, southwest and northeast quadrants of the city limits.

There has been a strong focus on connecting the Central Business District with bicycle infrastructure due to the growth of bike share programs, increased residential density, and new and expanding bus and rail transit options, staff wrote in the RQSs. 

The Downtown Connector Trail would be a key part of the overall trail network, and the last major gap in the Orlando Bicycle Beltway, which is a proposed 8.5-mile loop trail that goes through and around the CBD.

This beltway would use the existing Orlando Urban Trail, Cady Way Trail and Lake Underhill Path, which make up the west, north and east segments of the beltway.

The new Downtown Connector Trail would be the southern segment, proposed to go from Lake Underhill Path to the CBD, connecting the Lake Como, Lake Davis and Lake Cherokee neighborhoods with an alternative transportation option to the heart of downtown.

In 2014, the city completed the Orlando Primary Bicycle Route study, which analyzed the Downtown Connector Trail, preferred alignment, construction options and more.

The chosen consultant for this contract would produce a set of biddable construction plans for the Downtown Connector Trail, which will be at least 10 feet wide and run within the existing Anderson Street right-of-way. 

It would begin at the intersection of Lake Underhill Road and Anderson Street, and move west on Anderson Street approximately two miles to the intersection with Rosalind Avenue.

Design will require coordination between the city, Florida Department of Transportation, Central Florida Expressway Authority, neighborhood associations and utility companies. The work will include trail and trail intersection design, roadway design, geotechnical activities, surveys, drainage, utility coordination, maintenance of traffic, environmental permitting, signing and pavement markings, and cost estimates. 

Separately, the city's Bicycle Plan was last updated in 2008 with various goals, policies and maps used as a guideline for implementation of bicycle infrastructure.

Since then, public investments have been made to expand the local trail network, create more bike lanes, increase public awareness, establish a bike share program and open a mountain bike park. City staff now claim bike traffic counts of more than 200,000 trips per month on the trails.

As part of a Bicycle Plan update, the city wants a consultant to also perform an economic impact study of bicycling in Orlando. It should analyze the financial, health and employment impacts related to the existence of a bicycle economy. 

The consultant would also be asked to look at safety improvements, including strategies to address high-crash corridors and recommend infrastructure improvements. 

Work on the Bicycle Plan update would include planning, roadway design, structural/bridge design, cost estimates and other services related to a Comprehensive Plan update. 

Applications are due on Jan. 25 by 2 p.m. to City Hall for both the Downtown Connector Trail engineering/plans design and Bicycle Plan update. 

Full documents for RQS no. 18-0093 (trail engineering design) and RQS no. 18-0092 (bicycle plan) can be found through the city's Procurement and Contracts Division.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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