1st Sat November 4th Bike Ride – Carpe Diem!

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What a difference a month makes this time of year,  during last month’s 1st Saturday walk participants were in shorts and November’s 1st Saturday bike ride  required layers to brave the cold morning air.  Despite the cool temps,  13 cyclists joined the round trip bike ride led by SGT’s Kristen D’Souza and Peter Hawes from Guilford’s Harbor to Circle Beach in Madison.  It was a chilly start but once the group got moving, took on the few hills and arrived at Circle Beach, the group couldn’t help but comment on the beautiful views of the Sound and how fortunate we are to live in or visit the CT Shoreline.

The ride was also a birthday celebration kick off for one of the participants and her family.  We are happy they chose to join SGT as part of their celebration,  thank you to all who joined the bike ride!

It was a nice morning ride with views of beautiful fall foliage, Long Island Sound and of course the happiness of celebrating Kellie’s birthday.  Then when the group finished the ride back at the Guilford Harbor, Kellie and some family members jumped off the dock straight into the water!!  Carpe Diem!!

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First Saturday Fun in East Haven!

October First Saturday Walk in East Haven

Twenty-five participants met on a warm October day at SGT trailhead in East Haven for an interpretive walk. Interpretive trail brochures produced by Joe Capozzo of Boy Scout Troop 401 were circulated. Mike Gambardella and Kirsten Dudley led the morning walk, pointing out natural sights highlighted in the brochure. We even ran into a baby snake, not mentioned in the handout! The group had many friendly new faces as well as familiar ones. Thank you all who joined us.

Interpretive trail guide Mike G. leads group past glacial rock

Interpretive trail guide Mike G. leads group past glacial rock

October First Saturday Walk in East Haven

Interpretive Walk in East Haven

Interpretive Walk in East Haven

October First Saturday Walk in East Haven

Telling Our Story at the Hammonasset Festival

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The theme of the festival was “Celebrating Nature and Native American Heritage.”

The traffic was steady at the Shoreline Greenway Trail table all weekend as SGT volunteers listened, answered questions and talked about the project during the annual Hammonasset Festival, held at the Guilford Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1.

We had a visible presence in a corner of the fairgrounds barn, where—led by SGT board member Kristen D’Souza, who organized our participation in the festival—we handed out maps of current trail sections, discussed future plans and held a raffle for two children’s bicycle helmets. Congratulations to raffle winners Leia from Ansonia and Tula from Centerbrook!

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SGT Board Chair Judy Miller talks with a visitor to our table.

People who came up to our table were enthusiastic about the project, and their thoughts, ideas and questions inspired us. It was wonderful to hear people say how often they use completed sections of the trail in Madison, Branford and East Haven—and how much they’d like to see more bike- and pedestrian-friendly connections on the Shoreline. We met many new supporters and potential volunteers, and we started a few conversations toward future partnerships.

Thanks to the Friends of Hammonasset and the staff of the Guilford Agricultural Society for providing such a warm, welcome and wonderful place for us to listen to people and tell our story.

Guilford’s Board of Selectmen 9/5/17 Meeting

The Guilford Board of Selectmen recently voted on whether to hold a new public informational meeting on the proposed Route 1 Shoreline Greenway Trail section between Boston Street and the Madison line.

The vote was 2-2, with one selectman absent. Selectmen Charles Havra and Joe Mazza voted “yes,” Cynthia Carter and Gary MacElhinney voted “no,” and Carl Balestracci didn’t attend. According to town rules, a tie vote is registered as “no.” It means no action can be taken, and it appears that there will be no public hearing about that trail section in the near future. That leaves the Route 1 project in limbo, as it has been since the selectmen voted against the town’s design for that section in January.

A Vote Only On Setting a Date for a Meeting

As First Selectman Mazza emphasized to a local reporter, the Sept. 5 vote was only on whether to set a date for an informational meeting. It was not a vote on the trail or any specific project related to it. We’re concerned that, although a recent Zip06 article about the vote is accurate, the headline (Another ‘No” for the Shoreline Greenway Trail in Guilford) is potentially misleading.

A Wide “Sidewalk” from the Town Center to Madison?

From the quotes attributed to Mazza and Town Engineer Jim Portley, it’s apparent they’ve been seeking a way to address neighbors’ concerns about the original Route 1 plan while using the nearly $900,000 in federal and state funds allocated to build the Shoreline Greenway Trail in Guilford to meet an objective of a 2002 transportation study: a sidewalk from the town center toward Madison.

As Mazza said, “We were talking about extending sidewalks out from the center of town … all the way to the Madison line with the expectation that maybe in the future that Madison would have sidewalks, too.”

Seeking Residents’ Input on New Ideas

Portley said he wanted residents’ input on changes he was considering to the Route 1 design—including moving the trail closer to the road to minimize vegetation removal, narrowing it to eight feet and surfacing it with concrete to make it look like a sidewalk. Because the eight-foot width complies with the legal definition of a “trail” and not a “sidewalk,” abutting property owners would not be responsible for snow removal.

Committed as Ever to Bike/Ped Safety and Accessibility

The future of the Route 1 section remains uncertain, especially with a local election coming up in November, and the decision is up to the people and elected officials of Guilford. Shoreline Greenway Trail will continue to advocate for the values that guided our idea for a trail in the first place: safe, accessible walking and biking throughout the Shoreline; better health for the people who live, work and visit here and for our environment; and a more vibrant economy coupled with a better quality of life across the region.