Recommended changes to the 2018 draft deleted portions of the trail through Manatee County that was originally approved in 2013 to parallel the Manatee River along Riverview Boulevard, Robinson Preserve, western Perico Preserve and on to Anna Maria Island. According to the latest draft map, that route has been deleted and non-motorized traffic is now proposed to be diverted straight down Manatee Avenue.
In a letter to the editor and emails to the Bradenton Herald, Ed Goff said he was shocked to see the latest changes, “which follows 45 mph Manatee Avenue from downtown Bradenton to (Anna Maria Island) has been added.”
Goff said the only good news is that the proposal is still in draft form.
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“The final version will determine where funding is allocated for the next five years,” Goff said. “It is not known who requested the change, but the community was not consulted.”
It would be great to be able to safely ride a bicycle in west and northwest Bradenton, but Manatee Avenue is not the way to go.
Efforts to contact state officials on Sunday were unsuccessful.
Goff started an online petition to encourage Manatee County and the city of Bradenton to officially endorse a multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail at its originally proposed location. Goff said the trails being proposed for construction as part of the Sun Trail system are, “designed for slower moving bicycles, walkers, joggers, and runners. ... The deleted trail is ideal for its location. It would connect approved trails in Palmetto and Anna Maria Island.”
Goff said it would be both an economic and safety mistake to move the trail to Manatee Avenue where walkers, joggers and bicyclists would mingle with one of the city’s busiest motorized corridors.
“It would be great to be able to safely ride a bicycle in west and northwest Bradenton, but Manatee Avenue is not the way to go,” he said.