Tuesday, September 14, 2010

$180K grant to extend River Valley Trail



By ROBERT KOCH

Villager Staff Writer


NORWALK -- Officials gathered at Union Park in Norwalk on Monday morning to announce the award of a $180,000 federal grant which they said marks a "new beginning" for the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

The proposed 27-mile bicycle/pedestrian trail from Norwalk to Danbury currently comprises a one-mile stretch that ends at Union Park in Norwalk. Another section has been opened in Wilton, between Merwin Meadows and Wilton High School.

"This is the end of the trail in its current form, and from here, we're looking to go roughly 27 miles north. So that is a big task to undertake and today marks the first major step," said Patricia Sesto, director of Wilton's Department of Environmental Affairs and chairwoman of the Norwalk River Valley Trail steering committee. But first "we need a clear sense of what is logistically feasible, and what the towns and the cities want."

On Monday morning, Sesto and officials from towns along the proposed trail announced the receipt of the $180,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program and approved by the Federal Highway Administration. Confirmation of the award was received this month, according to officials.

The federal money will be used to develop a study, which will serve as the foundation for construction of the trail northward. As part of the study, the steering committee will seek public input on design, routing and other aspects of the trail.

Sesto told the Wilton Villager that the NRVT steering committee will issue a request for proposals seeking a firm to prepare the study. She hopes to see the study completed within 18 months.

Officials from towns along proposed trail route stood in Union Park at the edge of the current trail and in front of a banner reading "Norwalk River Valley Trail. Five Towns. One Vision."

"I think that this, again, speaks to regional cooperation to solve many of our problems," Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia said. "It's an example of when big cities and small towns can work together."

Also present were state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26; state Sen. Bob Duff, D-25; state Rep. John W. Hetherington, R-125; Ridgefield First Selectman Rudi Marconi; and Gail Lavielle, a member of the Wilton Board of Finance and chairwoman of the NRVT public outreach subcommittee.

Lavielle, a Republican who is challenging state Rep. Peggy Reeves, D-143, this November, credited Sesto with leading the "mammoth task" of assembling the grant application last year within a two-week window -- a deadline was looming. She said construction of the trail has broad support.

"It's rare that you find something that has such universal support. The Norwalk River Valley Trail benefits every one of the communities," Lavielle said. "A number of families have told us they are so happy this is moving along."

Silvermine residents Lance Zimmerman and Deborah Lewis rode their bicycles to the grant announcement. They told The Hour Newspapers that they ride the trail regularly.

"One of my dreams, before my kids graduate from school, is they can safely ride their bikes to school," Lewis said.

Duff, himself a bicyclist, said he enjoys riding the trail, but not having to leave it at Union Park and ride on streets alongside vehicles. Boucher thanked the office of Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the state DEP for shepherding the grant application. Marconi said talk of the trail began many years ago. He credited those early talks and all who've helped advance the concept since. Hetherington said the trail will draw attention to the Norwalk and Silvermine rivers and other wetlands along its route.

"These rivers are really treasures," Hetherington said.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Norwalk River Valley Trail

THE NORWALK RIVER VALLEY TRAIL
 
   
     
The Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) is planned to be a Multi-Use Trail; where the trail can be used by different users which include walkers, bikers, runners, joggers, those on roller blades, those wheeling strollers, and people in wheelchairs. The NRVT will enhance both the wellness and quality of life of Norwalk residents and visitors. Bicycling is an enjoyable, inexpensive, efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. It can be enjoyed by all, regardless of gender, age, and social, economic, or ethnic background.

The District 95/7 development project will be accessible from the NRVT. Hotel guests at 95/7 will have recreational access to the trail. Ultimately, commuters may bicycle to work, from north Norwalk or from Wilton. There will be access to the Norwalk River for canoers or kayakers. The immediate plan is for the NRVT to begin at Calf Pasture Beach and extend northward the entire length of Norwalk and into Wilton. When complete to Wilton High School the length will be about 12.8 miles. Eventually, the trail may be extended as far north as Danbury. 
The length of the trail from Calf Pasture Beach to the Norwalk-Wilton line is approximately 8.1 miles.
  
The trail currently has a section in Norwalk from Matthews Park to Union Park which has been completed. Another short section from New Canaan Avenue to Broad Street is completed. . The next trail section which is scheduled for construction will extend from Union Park, north along Riverside Avenue to Route 123. It is presently necessary to design this section, obtain the necessary permits, obtain funding, and then select a contractor for construction. In this 4600 foot section of the NRVT, it is necessary to cross the Norwalk River, which will be on the new Route 123 bridge which is currently being reconstructed by CONNDOT. When this trail section is completed, it will be possible to go from the Maritime Center to Broad Street on the NRVT. This section may be completed in 2011. 
 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Group Brainstorms Improving Ridgefield's Route 7

Group Brainstorms Improving Ridgefield's Route 7

Amenities were added and eyesores eliminated with the swipe of a marker.
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PHOTOS (3)
Members of Route 7 study group discuss how to make a segment of the highway better.
The Route 35 intersection "focus area" runs from Little Pond to the location of Pamby Motors and Ullman Devices Corp.
Max Caldwell describes his group's proposals. Left is Carol Gould of Fitzgerald and Halliday.
Your photos, videos & PDFs: 
"Be a king," prompted Susan VanBenschoten. "Forget about money or zoning, or anything man made as constraints."
So empowered, 17 residents of Ridgefield, including town officials and business owners, used felt-tipped markers of various colors Wednesday night to recast a segment of Route 7 into how they envisioned it should be developed to meet the needs of the surrounding community.
Separated into three groups, the workshop paricipants hunched over large prints of an aerial photograph of the "focus area" and debated where new office buildings, condominiums and shopping centers should go, interspersed with bike paths, green space and other amenities.
Being king also granted the ability to scribble over existing structures deemed blemishes or eyesores, subjecting them to demolition by pen.
The segment of Route 7 that was under discussion Wednesday night runs from Little Pond, south of the Route 35 intersection, to the locations of the Pamby Motor's dealership and Ullman Devices Corporation to the north.
VanBenschoten is chief operating office and project manager of Fitzgerald and Halliday, a Hartford consulting firm hired by the state to create a development plan for the Route 7 corridor between Norwalk and Danbury. Intended to be implemented by 2030, the study seeks to improve traffic flow and meet the development needs of the communities the highway passes through: Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding.
The evening's program resulted from the consulting firm's decision that three areas of Route 7 corridor should receive special attention for improvement. In addition to the Route 35 intersection, they are the Branchville area of Ridgefield and Wilton Center.
Besides marking the aerial prints, the participants also were shown a series of photographs projected on a screen that depicted scenes of streets, outdoor dining areas, retail stores and wooded, undeveloped locations.
Using keypads that enabled them express the degree to which they liked or disliked each image, they selected scenes they felt depicted models of what should be included along the Route 35 intersection segment.
The evening concluded with a representative from each group describing what proposed improvements and changes were selected.
The 20-month-long study is sponsored by the South Western Regional Planning Agency and the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials.
A workshop for the Wilton Center area will be held May 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Wilton Libraryand for the Branchville area May 13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in Branchville Elementary School.
The current results of the study can be found at www.route7study.org.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

bike and walking trails, including the proposal to develop a trail linking Norwalk and Danbury

Transportation heads want to hear from you

Every year, the Connecticut Public Transportation Commission tours the state to listen to residents and public officials discuss how they get from place to place or, often, how they wish they could. The commission holds a series of public hearings both in the spring and in the fall, and there is usually one within easy reach of Wilton. This spring, it’s at Danbury City Hall, on April 20 at 7:30 p.m. Everyone who is interested in mass transit and related subjects is invited to come and raise issues, express concerns or contribute new ideas.
If public transportation is important to you, this is an opportunity to raise awareness of our region’s issues and to influence policy. Drawing on input from its hearings, the Public Transportation Commission presents a set of recommendations on transportation priorities in its annual report, which it circulates to the Department of Transportation, the governor, and the Transportation Committee of the General Assembly. For matters it considers more urgent, the commission can also pass resolutions at its monthly meetings and communicate them immediately.
How do these recommendations and resolutions influence decisions about transportation on the state and regional levels? Last May’s hearing in Norwalk is a good recent example. Testimony by Wilton residents and public officials led the commission to pass a resolution the following month urging the DOT to open the Wilton station as soon as possible. This provided valuable support for First Selectman Bill Brennan’s persistent and successful efforts to convey the importance of the situation for our community to the DOT and to obtain its commitment for opening the station this fall. Earlier this year, another recommendation in the commission’s annual report led the City of Waterbury to rethink plans for its bus system and intermodal transit center.
Although the commission does not set an agenda for its hearings, it does provide guidance by identifying issues that are especially relevant for specific regions. At our Danbury hearing, we invite you particularly to share your thoughts about electronic highway tolls at the state’s borders; further improvements to the Danbury branch line, including electrification and extending the line to New Milford; bike and walking trails, including the proposal to develop a trail linking Norwalk and Danbury; rail station parking; existing and potential area bus service; and transit-oriented development.
The April 20 public hearing in Danbury is your chance to be an advocate for Wilton’s and Fairfield County’s mass transit needs. Your ideas can help the DOT and our elected representatives develop transportation solutions that can alleviate congestion on our roads, reduce fuel emissions, improve the commuting experience, and make Wilton and our surrounding towns even better places to work and live.
Even if you can’t attend the hearing, the commission would be very pleased to hear from you. You may submit your comments and ideas in writing to Dennis J. King, CPTC Liaison, P.O. Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131-7546. Or send me an e-mail at cptcsw@aol.com .
Ms. Lavielle is a member of the Connecticut Public Transportation Commission.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a trail improvement party along the Norwalk River on the south side of Rt. 123.

On Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a trail improvement party along the Norwalk River on the south side of Rt. 123.
Help the Norwalk River Watershed Association and its partners prepare a section of proposed trail along Riverside Avenue and the Norwalk River that will connect existing trails at Union Park (just west of Norwalk Public Library) to existing trails on the north side of Rt. 123.
The focus of this event will be trash cleanup as well as invasive vine removal along the riverbank to prepare the trail for fall plantings and signage. On-site training on how to identify the invasive plants will be provided. There are jobs for a variety of age levels. Meet at the north side of Casatelli Marble & Tile (34 Riverside Ave.). Bring your own tools if possible. Through the generosity of a grant from Recreational Equipment Inc. to NRWA for trail improvements, some tools will be available and lunch will be provided for volunteers.
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has donated $5,000 to the Norwalk River Watershed Association to help implement this section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail System, as well as to develop a comprehensive trail map of the entire watershed area from Norwalk to Ridgefield. This section of trail is being planned as a collaborative effort between the Norwalk River Watershed Association, Norwalk River Valley Trail Committee, Norwalk League of Women Voters, City of Norwalk and ConnDOT to develop a significant multi-use trail that would extend approximately 8 miles from Calf Pasture Beach to the Norwalk-Wilton line. The existing section of trail in Norwalk links together a number of attractions, including the Maritime Aquarium, the Lockwood-Matthews Museum, the new Heritage Park, and Union Park. Another short section of completed trail extends from New Canaan Avenue (Route 123) to Broad Street. The next proposed section will extend from Union Park, north along Riverside Avenue to Route 123. When this section of trail is completed, it will be possible to go from theMaritime Center to Broad Street via the Norwalk River Valley Trail.
Anyone interested in helping should e-mail us at info@norwalkriver.org or call NRWA at 1-877-NRWA-INFO (877-679-2463),) to sign up or for further directions.
The Norwalk River Watershed Association, Inc. [NRWA], is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the water quality and quality of life in the region. Through fostering education, cooperation, and action on the part of individuals, businesses, community groups, and government agencies, NRWA is a catalyst for positive environmental change that benefits fresh water supplies, Long Island Sound, and the residents of the watershed, which includes the municipalities of New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Wilton, and Lewisboro, N.Y. For information on free programs, research, volunteer opportunities and membership visit www.norwalkriver.org.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A trail for pedestrians and other non-motorized traffic, running the length of the Norwalk River Valley from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk all the way to Danbury.

Editorial: A Danbury-Norwalk hike-and-bike trail

The vision is ambitious, but should quicken the heartbeats of walkers, joggers, bicyclers, car commuters, environmentalists and greenies: A trail for pedestrians and other non-motorized traffic, running the length of the Norwalk River Valley from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk all the way to Danbury.
A walk-bike trail of that length, through such varied neighborhoods and terrain, wouldn’t be cheap, or easily done. But it’s a great idea.
A working group with representatives of Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Norwalk and Danbury is looking into the concept, which has roots going back decades — talk of a “linear park” along the Route 7 corridor dates at least to the 1970s. In recent years, groups in the different towns along the Norwalk River Valley have built trails, often with the notion of someday linking them into a grand trail that would benefit the entire region.
The working group is chaired by Pat Sesto, a Ridgefielder who heads Wilton’s Department of Environmental Affairs, and Ridgefield is also represented by Conservation Commission Chairman Dr. Ben Oko. The group hopes to build on the largely dormant support for the concept and get the project off the ground. The state has begun selling off properties it purchased for the dead-in-the-water Super 7 highway project, so it makes sense to get the trail project going before possible links in the chain are sold off.
The working group has applied to the federal Recreational Trails Program seeking grant money to finance a routing study that would include seeking input from municipalities, businesses and, yes, people.
People, most likely, will like the idea. While towns like Ridgefield and Redding have a good supply of woodland trails for hiking, there’s a very real shortage of decent safe places to bike, jog, run, or in-line skate. A walk-bike trail from Norwalk to Danbury would fill that need and could prove a boost to some businesses along the route.
And the trail would have a huge public safety benefit by reducing the number of bicyclists and joggers who now, sometimes suicidally, populate the shoulders of Route 7, getting their exercise three or four feet from cars and trucks that whiz by at 50 miles an hour.
A well-designed trail would be a magnet for joggers and bikers, vastly improving road safety in every town along its path.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Group studies walk-bike trail linking Norwalk to Danbury

Group studies walk-bike trail linking Norwalk to Danbury

A working group comprising representatives from Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding and Danbury has formed to explore the development of a multi-use trail for bicyclists, pedestrians and other users of non-motorized transportation. The proposed trail, which would extend from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk through the Norwalk River valley to Danbury, would, where possible, incorporate existing trails in Norwalk, Ridgefield and Wilton.
Since the early 1990s, groups that have successfully constructed trails in the individual towns have been exploring the possibility of linking them to form a trail that would benefit the entire region.
Because of this history, the working group believes that there may be significant public support for the project. The group will, however, seek confirmation of this support through an appropriate process of public consultation. It will also seek public input on design, routing, and other aspects of the trail.
The trail would aim to offer a number of benefits to residents and visitors:
  • An alternative to automobile transportation: convenient and safe pedestrian and bicycle travel between rail stations and local businesses, schools, town shopping areas, and parks;
  • A scenic route that links already existing multi-town trails and open space areas and that helps residents and visitors to the region enjoy and appreciate its natural attributes;
  • Encouragement of mass transit ridership by facilitating multi-modal transportation;
  • Reduction of carbon emissions by displacing automobile travel by commuters and local motorists;
  • Recreational and fitness uses; and
  • Expansion of regional tourism.
The working group was assembled during the summer of 2009, with the support of the chief elected officials of Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, and Wilton. Representatives from Danbury joined the group soon after. While the group is chaired by Patricia Sesto of Ridgefield, director of Wilton’s Department of Environmental Affairs, most of its members are volunteers.
In the fall of 2009, the working group applied for a grant from the federal Recreational Trails Program, which is administered in Connecticut by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The grant would be used to conduct a routing study for the project, including extensive solicitation of input from members of the public, regional planning agencies, municipal boards and commissions, and businesses and other organizations. One of 57 applications submitted this year to the DEP, the working group’s grant request is now on a list of 18 projects awaiting review and authorization by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Federal Highways Administration. A decision on the grant may be made as early as this month.
In its 2009 annual report, the Connecticut Public Transportation Commission expressed its support for the working group’s exploration of the project. According to the report, “The Commission supports the serious consideration of this project as one which: 1) fits the Department of Transportation’s objective of developing multi-modal transportation solutions, and 2) provides citizens with alternative commuting options beyond automobile reliance. The development of a public multi-use trail and corridor would also promote the planned use of the corridor for transportation purposes.”
“This project is a genuine regional undertaking,” said Ms. Sesto. “It offers significant benefits to everyone — residents of the towns directly involved and visitors alike — who would be served by the trail, and at the same time does not preclude any other transportation initiatives.”
The groups hopes that approval of its grant request will enable it to begin a routing study soon, and, in the process, to begin seeking public opinion and ideas.
For more information, e-mail Dr. Ben Oko, benoko@comcast.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , who is chair of Ridgefield’s Conservation Commission and a member of the group.
Discuss this story on The Ridgefield Forum.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Times: Route 7 towns exploring idea of multi-use trail

Linking a network of pedestrian and bike trails from Norwalk north to Danbury would not only improve access to the Norwalk River Valley's wooded shores, but also serve residents by allowing them to ride bikes to rail stations, stores and other destinations, said Patricia Sesto, director of environmental affairs for the town of Wilton.
The network, called the Norwalk River Valley Trail, would extend about 17 miles from its start in South Norwalk, linking with other existing and future trails in Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding into Danbury, though a routing study is needed to determine the specific location of the path, Sesto said.
"This is a long-running desire of the community that has been long-standing, but we need to know what this trail could look like," Sesto said. "It could serve to get people better connected to the natural environment or change the way they commute."
A coalition led by the towns of Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding, with assistance from officials and activists in Norwalk and Danbury, recently received approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection for its application seeking a grant of $180,000 in federal funds to conduct a feasibility and route study for the trail.
The request, made this fall, is now being considered by the Federal Highway Administration and state Historical Commission alongside requests from other towns seeking some of the more than $1.4 million in highway funds expected to be awarded this year by the DEP to various trail construction and maintenance projects in Connecticut.

Active Transportation celebrated a milestone today with the release of Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.)

Groundbreaking ACTion on Active Transportation in Congress
New Legislation Will Build Healthy, Clean, Cost-Effective Transportation Options
Washington, D.C., March 2, 2010 — Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Campaign for Active Transportation celebrated a milestone today with the release of Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) Active Community Transportation (ACT) Act of 2010 [H.R. 4722].

This landmark legislation promises to launch a new era of investment in building complete systems of facilities that make it safe and convenient for Americans to choose to walk or bicycle instead of drive for routine, short trips. The ACT Act creates a competitive fund to which communities can apply and receive funding to build these active transportation systems. In the process, tens of thousands of jobs in construction and small businesses will be created, invigorating local economies, while also saving Americans money at the pump.

“This is possibly the most important legislation to come down in the last 20 years for those who value trails, walking and biking, and we applaud the visionary leadership Representative Blumenauer and his colleagues have shown through the creation of this bill,” says Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) President Keith Laughlin. “In 2007, when we launched our Campaign for Active Transportation at RTC’s Portland conference, we knew it would take a focused, smart investment plan to make active transportation systems commonplace. The ACT Act is that plan, and we’ve never been more ready.”

ACT Act Findings
Americans are hungry for safe and convenient opportunities to walk or bicycle to work, school, shops, transit and other daily destinations. Respondents in a national poll said they would spend 15 times current levels on walking and bicycling (currently, less than two percent of all transportation dollars) at the expense of what they view as lopsided spending on roads. ACT Act states that:
•    Nearly half of the trips taken in the United States today are within a 20-minute bicycle ride, and half of those trips are within a 20-minute walk;
•    Further, 90 percent of transit trips begin with walking or bicycling;
•    There is huge potential for an increased role for active transportation to these nearby destinations, and;
•    The ACT Act is can maximize mode shift by providing “intensive, concentrated funding of active transportation systems rather than discrete piecemeal projects.” 

“Everywhere we go, communities are eager to pull the pieces of their active transportation systems together so the public can safely walk and bike,” says RTC Vice President of Policy Kevin Mills. “It is essential that we give Americans the means to achieve their dreams of livable communities by offering healthy, clean, affordable and enjoyable ways to get around. The ACT Act provides the missing piece of our transportation puzzle; ironically, we have left the simplest and most cost-effective investment for last.” 

RTC and the ACT Act
RTC has been the lead advocate behind the creation of this bill, organizing more than 50 communities around the country, and soliciting case statements from these communities that detail how, if the funding were available, they would create active transportation systems in their area. Most of these communities have been engaged for years, committing local resources to their organizing and planning efforts, earning support from mayors, city and county councils, advocacy and business leaders. Additionally, a national letter of support has been signed by representatives from more than 300 national, regional and local groups and more than 30 mayors and other elected officials.

The introduction of this bill, which would be a part of the larger transportation reauthorization, represents opportunity knocking. Current original co-sponsors of the bill include Representatives Capuano (Mass.), Carnahan (Mo.), Cohen (Tenn.), Filner (Calif.), Lipinski (Ill.) and Moran (Va.).

Take ACTion
RTC is calling on its supporters and coalition members to contact their members of Congress and encourage them to become co-sponsors of the ACT Act.

For more information on RTC and the ACT Act, visit www.railstotrails.org/act.

Posted Wed, Mar 3 2010 3:56 PM by Todd Christopher (RTC) Filed under: , , ,

SWRPA: A Greenway, More Business, No Super 7

SWRPA: A Greenway, More Business, No Super 7

Analysts find more multi-family housing and retail service businesses are needed on that corridor.
By Harold F. Cobin |
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Email the author | March 2, 2010
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About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. new
About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. Credit Harold F. Cobin
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About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. Credit Harold F. Cobin /assets/photos/000/241/805/241805_collapsed.jpg?1267500931 600x311 311,311,144,0 0.25 88,88 2400x1244
The completed portions of the Route 7 corridor study "Vision For the Future and Existing Conditions" can be found at www.route7study.org. Credit Harold F. Cobin /assets/photos/000/241/806/241806_collapsed.jpg?1267500998 338x450 338,338,0,55 0.1404821280133 88,88 2406x3200
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About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. new
About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. Credit Harold F. Cobin
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About 60 people attended the Route 7 corridor program in the cafeteria in Wilton High School. Credit Harold F. Cobin /assets/photos/000/241/805/241805_collapsed.jpg?1267500931 600x311 311,311,144,0 0.25 88,88 2400x1244
The completed portions of the Route 7 corridor study "Vision For the Future and Existing Conditions" can be found at www.route7study.org. Credit Harold F. Cobin /assets/photos/000/241/806/241806_collapsed.jpg?1267500998 338x450 338,338,0,55 0.1404821280133 88,88 2406x3200
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Six months into a study of the Route 7 corridor between Norwalk and Danbury, analysts Monday night reported on existing conditions there and on their intent to recommend both traffic flow improvements and community-tailored development.

The study, intended to create a plan for the corridor that should be implemented by 2030, is scheduled to be completed in March 2011. It's sponsored by the South Western Regional Planning Agency and the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials.

Project manager Craig Lader of SWRPA said the study will cost about $375,000, 80 percent of which will be funded by the federal government and 20 percent by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Lader noted that neither of the sponsoring organizations has the power to force implementation of the study's results, so they will be presented as recommendations to the corridor's communities and to the state.

The study is being conducted by the consulting firm Fitzgerald & Halliday of Hartford.

In her remarks opening the session before an audience of about 60 people, Susan VanBenschoten, chief operating office and project manager of Fitzgerald & Halliday, said the ultimate purpose of the study is to "enhance the quality of life in the corridor."

Highlights of the presentation, "Vision For the Future and Existing Conditions," held in the cafeteria of Wilton High School, included:

* Ridgefield is a "significant (destination) attraction" for trips emanating from Norwalk and Danbury.

* The existing conditions along the northern (Danbury) end of the highway work well in handling traffic demands.

* The worst traffic problems are in the south end of the corridor between Grist Mill Road and the I-Park office complex in Norwalk. (The highest number of vehicles per day in the corridor is approximately 37,000, the lowest about 18,000.)

* There is public interest in riding bicycles along stretches of Route 7, but it is unsafe for that purpose. Also, facilities for safely storing bicycles would be needed at train stations along the Danbury Branch of Metro North Railroad.

* The size and character of the residential population along Route 7 is mostly stable, which makes planning easier.

* There is an insufficient amount of multi-family housing along the corridor, which creates difficulties for young families. Also, more workforce housing is needed.

* The vacancy rate of office buildings along the corridor is 14 percent, including the Merritt 7 complex in Norwalk. Without that complex, the vacancy rate is 9 percent.

* There is a demand for "big box" retailers, but there are few parcels of available land large enough to build them.

* There is a large demand for service retail establishments that can be reached in short trips.

VanBenschoten emphasized the study will not consider construction of a multi-lane expressway between Norwalk and Danbury, an idea that has been proposed since the 1960s.

She said two more public sessions will be held during the course of the study, with the next sometime in October. At that time, she said, the analysts will present proposed future conditions for the corridor with a draft of a plan to implement them.

The current results of the study can be found online at www.route7study.org.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I am at a meeting for the Route7 land use study

Route 7 land use. There appears to be about 90 people here. Study is to evaluate what the community wants.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ct Trails

Don’t See the Trail You’re Looking for? Submit a New Trail here.

MapRail-trailTrail NameStateCountiesLength (miles)Activities
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Airline North State Park Trail
CTWindham27Walk, Horseback, Snowmobile, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Airline State Park Trail - South
CTHartford, Middlesex, New London, Windham22.40Walk, Horseback, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Branford Trolley Trail
CTNew Haven1Walk, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is not a rail-trail
Charter Oak Greenway
CTHartford9.80Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Inline Skates, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is not a rail-trail
Derby Greenway
CTNew Haven1.70Walk, Bicycle, Inline Skates, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
CTHartford, New Haven40Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Inline Skates, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Farmington River Trail
CTHartford8.50Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Inline Skates, Mountain Bicycle, Fishing, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Hop River State Park Trail
CTHartford, Tolland15.60Walk, Horseback, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Housatonic Rail-Trail - Trumbull (Pequannock Valley Greenway)
CTFairfield3.40Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Housatonic Valley Rail-Trail - Monroe
CTFairfield3.80Walk, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Larkin State Park Trail
CTNew Haven10.40Walk, Horseback, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Middlebury Greenway
CTNew Haven4.40Walk, Bicycle, Inline Skates, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Moosup Valley State Park Trail
CTWindham5.80Walk, Horseback, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle, Fishing
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Putnam River Trail
CTWindham2Walk, Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is not a rail-trail
Quinebaug River Trail
CTWindham4Walk, Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Railroad Ramble
CTLitchfield1.70Walk, Horseback, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Ridgefield Rail Trail
CTFairfield2.30Walk, Cross Country Ski, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Stratton Brook State Park Trail
CTHartford2Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle, Wheelchair
Trail has spatial data
Trail is a rail-trail
Vernon Rails-to-Trails
CTTolland4Walk, Bicycle, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
No spatial data available
Trail is not a rail-trail
Wilton Trail
CTFairfield2.70Walk, Cross Country Ski, Mountain Bicycle
Trail has spatial data
Trail is not a rail-trail
Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail (WIndsor Locks Canal Towpath)
CTHartford4.50Walk, Bicycle, Fishing

Railstotrails.org Trail-Building Toolbox:

Trail-Building Toolbox:
Learn the basics of trail-building and find the help you need for your trail. Be sure to also take a look at all of RTC's full suite of online Trail Building resources.




 
  Hot Topics
RTC's Early Warning System: Sign up to be informed about upcoming railroad abandonments in your area and receive resources to help you take advantage of railbanking.
Rail-with-Trail: Communities across the country are finding ways to share the right-of-way. Learn more about how trails and trains go hand-in-hand.
Urban Pathways Initiative: Connect with advocates and professionals working on the challenges of obesity, congestion and scarcity of open space in low-income urban neighborhoods. The initiative provides a space to share innovative resources and best practices that encourage physical activity through trail use in America's cities. Interested? Sign up to participate!

Trail Photos:
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy group on Flickr
National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC) Image Library
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Image Library
American Trails Photo Galleries

RTC Resources
RTC Library: A complete collection of manuals, reports, and fact sheets produced by RTC and external sources.
Ask Our Listserv: Join our listserv and connect with over 1,000 trail advocates, managers, and builders. Share your experiences and learn from the experts
Trails Glossary and Acronyms

Additional Resources
National Trails Training Partnership
National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
American Trails