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Gertrude’s Walk spans three city blocks in downtown Orlando, providing access to offices and the city’s sports arena not far from its southern end. The trail runs adjacent to an active CSX and Amtrak rail corridor that is also set to receive new Sunrail commuter rail service in 2014.
The path and railroad occupy what was once Gertrude Avenue, the largest street in Orlando. Surveyor Charles Sweet—later to become one of Orlando’s first mayors—named the grand avenue for his sister, who had at one time been named the most beautiful woman in Orange County. In the 1880s, the land was purchased by a predecessor to CSX in order to construct a rail link from Orlando to the Atlantic coast. Gertrude Sweet’s namesake was reduced to a skinny sidewalk next to the rail line.
In the 1980s, Gertrude’s Walk was improved, and bronze reliefs of pretty Gertrude Sweet were installed along the route. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that the sidewalk became a true trail, with the pathway widened and resurfaced, and the lighting upgraded.
Gertrude’s Walk is set to become a component of the Orlando Urban Trail in the near future. The older trail will be extended north to meet a new open section of the trail between Magnolia Avenue and Dorchester Street.
Parking for Gertrude’s Walk can be found at paid lots in downtown Orlando or in designated on-street parking spaces adjacent to the trail.
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