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.

Support the Nut Plains Pathway in Guilford!

IMG_0606

Adams Middle School, one of two Guilford schools to be connected by the proposed Nut Plains Pathway.

Shoreline Greenway Trail is actively working to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility in Guilford, so we are excited to see the town moving forward on the Nut Plains Pathway, a bike and pedestrian connection between Adams Middle School and Guilford Lakes Elementary School.

This is not a Shoreline Greenway Trail project, but it is the kind of effort that we wholeheartedly applaud.

Come out and show your support! ATTEND a public hearing on Tuesday, September 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center (32 Church St). Hear about the town’s proposed plan! Let your VOICE be heard!

Shoreline Greenway Trail Takes Part in Trail Census

The Shoreline Greenway Trail at Hammonasset Beach State Park is one of 15 trails participating in a study intended to help the state, trail organizations and towns better understand who’s using trails and why, what economic impact trails have on their communities, what amenities users want, and how trails can be most soundly built and maintained. IMG_9027 Crop for SGT

Information from the Connecticut Trail Census, which will be conducted through the end of 2017, will be made public. It is expected to provide trail advocates with data to help promote the value of trails in their communities.

Data is being collected around the clock by an infrared counter at Hammonasset, with analysis done in waves throughout the year. A team of trained SGT volunteers is assisting the project by monitoring and calibrating the counter and by conducting face-to-face surveys on the trail. The raw data collected to date suggests that the Hammonasset section of the Shoreline Greenway Trail is one of the most heavily used in the state.

The sites participating are all paved or crushed stone, multi-use trails. They were chosen for the program based on their leadership, volunteer participation, ability to administer counters and collect data, connections to other trails and amenities, trail length, and demonstration of how trail managers plan to use and communicate the data collected.

The census is being conducted in a partnership involving the Connecticut Greenways Council; Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments; UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources’ Department of Extension and the Center for Land Use Education and Research; and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

If you’d like to be part of the project, especially by helping conduct on-site user surveys, contact Ginny Raff, chairperson of the Shoreline Greenway Trail’s Madison team.

Annual Meeting Highlights New Haven Connections

New Haven City Engineer Giovanni Zinn speaking at the Shoreline Greenway Trail annual meeting in May.

New Haven City Engineer Giovanni Zinn speaking at Shoreline Greenway Trail’s annual meeting in May.

Shoreline Greenway Trail held its 2017 annual meeting on May 5 at the Tabor Lutheran Church in Branford. Unfortunately, heavy rains cancelled a planned walk of the Tabor property, where we expect to complete our next section of Branford trail, but we were pleased to have an excellent turnout for the meeting itself.

            We were especially gratified that Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and Branford Parks and Recreation Director Alex Paluzzi attended.

            A brief formal meeting to elect members of our Board for 2017-2018 was followed by a presentation by New Haven City Engineer Giovanni Zinn. Zinn discussed the successful effort to make New Haven a Bicycle-Friendly Community (it currently has Bronze-level certification) along with the benefits and possibilities inherent in connecting the Shoreline Greenway Trail with New Haven’s network of bike routes, the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway and the East Coast Greenway.

            Working in partnership with Zinn and the city, SGT plans to extend its trail into the heart of New Haven. We previously had planned Lighthouse Point Park to be the trail’s western terminus.

            Zinn has been New Haven’s city engineer since 2014 and has led or participated in many projects focused on sustainable and livable infrastructure. He has encouraged alternative transportation (including walking and cycling), promoted green building principles and worked to reduce the city’s carbon footprint through aggressive energy reduction.

            After Zinn’s presentation, attendees enjoyed refreshments and good conversation. It was a great evening!