Friday, August 21, 2015

Orchard Pond Parkway

Okay Tallahassee, have you heard about Orchard Pond Parkway? Not the dirt/Georgia clay Orchard Pond Road, this is a new, paved road being built named Orchard Pond Parkway.

Sign announcing Orchard Pond Parkway at the west end of Bannerman Rd
Before I tell you all the good things and you get excited only to be let down, I'll go ahead and share the bad: it's a toll road. Don't stop reading if you think, "this doesn't have anything to do with me, I'm never taking a toll road just to get across town quicker." Even if you never take the road, you might still enjoy some of the things that come along with it.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the good things. Like I said, this is a brand new road being built. Orchard Pond Parkway will run parallel to the current Orchard Pond Road (though the eastern most end starts across from Bannerman Road, it curves north to meet Orchard Pond Road), connecting Meridian Road to Old Bainbridge. The road will be approximately 5 miles long, meaning it will take less than 10

minutes to get from the northeast to the northwest, and vice versa. That is, if you're willing to pay for the convenience. Rumor has it the toll will be $1-$2. I guess if you can afford to go antiquing in Havana, you don't mind paying an extra $4 to get there and back a little quicker.

Illustration of current and planned roads/paths
I said we were going to talk about good things though. Bike paths! Not only will Orchard Pond Parkway have dedicated bike lanes, there will also be an adjacent pedestrian jogging and bike path. While some sources say that the current Orchard Pond Road will still be available to car traffic, others have said that this is what will be converted into the pedestrian trail. If you don't mind videos that play automatically when a website loads you can find out more from the Democrat. I had previously found a very long, informative article about the road, but it's since vanished.

For a while I've wished there was a bridge across Lake Jackson, making it quicker to travel back and forth between the Northwest and Northeast sides of Tallahassee. While Orchard Pond Parkway will run a bit North of Lake Jackson, it will serve the same purpose. Unfortunately, being a toll road, I will rarely if ever use it, aside from checking it out once while it's new. However, I'm always excited about new bike paths and running trails, and these should provide some nice views of nature and wildlife. So, unless they charge a toll for using the pedestrian and bike paths, I'm still pleased.

What about you? Will you use the new Orchard Pond Parkway? How about the trail?

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