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Hawthorne Rail-Trail Downtown Connector


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rail-trail?

Rail-trails are multi-purpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. They are typically flat or follow a gentle grade of uphill and downhill. They traverse urban, suburban and rural America. Ideal for many uses, such as bicycling, walking, inline skating, equestrian and wheelchair use, rail trails are extremely popular as recreation and transportation corridors. Rail-trails also serve as wildlife conservation corridors, linking isolated parks, and creating greenways through developed areas they were often used as a means of preserving historic landmarks.

What is the Gainesville Hawthorne Rail Trail Downtown Connector Project?

This project will be an 1.8 mile addition to the existing 16 mile Hawthorne Trail which will be used by pedestrians, cyclists, and allow for the uniqueness of equestrian users. The trails will connect at Boulware Springs. Click here for the map of the project.

How will the trail benefit me?

The recreational trail will provide a clean, safe place to exercise and enjoy nature. It will increase the value and character of the community, and our quality of life in general.

Who operates, manages, and maintains the trail?

The design and construction of this project is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. The City of Gainesville controls the property on which the trail is located and is responsible for managing and maintaining the trail.

Who will design the trail and how long will it take?

The City of Gainesville enlisted the expertise of Volkert and Associates to design the trail. Volkert and Associates has assembled a very experienced team of professionals to ensure that all aspects of the Rail-Trail project are designed appropriately with the various types of end user in mind. The final plans have been submitted for the City of Gainesville Rail to Trail Downtown Connector Project, and the City of Gainesville has received all permits.

When will construction on the trail begin?

Once the design is accepted, then the city will set an anticipated date for construction.

Do I have an opportunity to provide input into the project?

Yes, Public involvement will be critical to the success and acceptance of the project. A public meeting was held on Thursday, October 16, 2003 to discuss community issues. Click here for a summary of comments from the meeting.

Rules of Etiquette and Safety - It's important to remember several guidelines governing the trail as well as common sense etiquette that everyone should abide by.

  1. For the appropriate sport, helmets should be worn.
  2. Go with the flow: stay to the right. If riding, walking, roller-blading or running side by side, move to single file when an oncoming trail user approaches. Don't "hog" the trail. Don't wait until the last minute to move over when approaching an oncoming trail user.
  3. Get off the trail or stay clear when stopped.
  4. Signal turns or stops.
  5. Be verbal when coming up behind someone. "On your left", "Passing", or "Behind You", or "Bike Back" are all excellent phrases to use.
  6. Show respect for adjacent private property.
  7. Keep the trail clean and tidy, your debris could be someone else's demise/accident.
  8. Obey all traffic signs, especially at busy intersections. Trail users do not have the right of way.
  9. Wear appropriate safety apparel.
  10. Pets should be on leashes and shouldn't leave "anything" behind.
  11. Keep your speed appropriate to trail conditions and traffic density. Be prepared to stop quickly for incidents that may occur, especially when there is heavy use of the trail.
  12. Stay alert. It doesn't take long to veer off the trail or into the oncoming path of trail users.