Action Alert – Your Help Needed to Support First Trail Section in Guilford!

by Jo
September 30, 2016

Please voice your support for the Town of Guilford’s and Shoreline Greenway Trail’s Route 1 trail project and our joint efforts to promote safe biking and walking in Guilford!

You can make a difference by taking the following actions-

  1. Attend a public hearing in Guilford on Tuesday, November 1

  2. Email the Guilford Board of Selectmen

  3. Sign our petition in support of this vital project.

M-HammT Mom kids bike lydiaKThe Town of Guilford, with our support, has proposed building a 7/10-mile, off-road section of the Shoreline Greenway Trail beside Route 1 between the East River Bridge and Boston Street. It will allow all Guilford residents to safely walk, bike or wheel between eastern Guilford near the Madison line and the Calvin Leete School, the town center, the fairgrounds, the harbor and other recreational and commercial destinations.

Some questions have been raised about the project, outlined in the September 22 Guilford Courier and online Zip06 article: “Shoreline Greenway Trail Proposal Sparks Debate.” In light of opposition expressed by some attendees at their September 19 meeting, the Board of Selectmen tabled their vote on the Route 1 trail proposal and agreed to hold a public hearing to facilitate a full examination of what is proposed and to allow Guilford residents to voice their opinions about it.

Some residents have circulated a petition that seeks to delay construction of the Route 1 project until an entire route of the Shoreline Greenway Trail in Guilford has been mapped, designed and approved with detailed budget and maintenance plans. This would cause a substantial delay in approval of the Route 1 section and will put the project at risk for the foreseeable future because of the possible loss of the state and federal funds that are paying for construction. We must go forward now.

PLEASE ACT NOW TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

* The public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Guilford Community Center (we will confirm the date in a subsequent email). Please attend the hearing and voice your support for this section of trail and our collaborative efforts with the town to make Guilford safer and more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. We need to fill the room to publicly show the Board of Selectmen and the community just how much support there is in town for building this piece of trail.

* Sign our online petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/guilford-trail-support.

* Show your support on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms using #bikesafeguilford.

* Send an e-mail to the Board of Selectmen (brinkmant@ci.guilford.ct.us) to request that they vote Yes to building the Route 1 trail section without delay.

 

THE FACTS

There is no master plan for a Shoreline Greenway Trail in Guilford. In 2010, Stantec Consulting firm submitted a preliminary engineering study for possible routes. This was a snapshot in time, not a final plan. The solution to safe and accessible walking and biking in Guilford will likely involve a combination of approaches and probably not a single, continuous off-road trail. In fact, our conversations with Guilford landowners have shown that building an off-road trail across town may be an impossibility—and that’s OK. Our priority is to be catalysts for safer and better resources for users of non-motorized transportation in harmony with what Guilford citizens want.

Because there is no abandoned rail line on which to build, trail sections and bike and pedestrian improvements can only be made over time, piece by piece. We are advocating for these in partnership with the community—working with neighbors and the town to co-develop solutions and to implement them only after listening to and addressing residents’ concerns and gaining their approval. This is how the Route 1 project has arrived at this point.

This project is a win-win for Guilford, its residents and businesses and, because of deadlines on the state and federal funding that will pay for construction, it will be in jeopardy if approval is substantially delayed. Shoreline Greenway Trail, the town and the state of Connecticut have worked together for four years, and have solid neighbor support, to build this section of trail. It is fully funded, most approvals are in place—and with Board of Selectmen approval, Planning & Zoning signoff and a final state review, it will be ready to put out to bid.

Here are some things you should know about the Route 1 section of trail. We encourage you to share these facts with your friends, family and neighbors:

* The Route 1 section is a key part of the town’s and our overall efforts to improve bike and pedestrian safety and access to the town center.

* The proposal was presented at a public information meeting in August 2014, where residents of the east side who will most benefit from it expressed their strong support.

* The trail will be adjacent to Route 1, completely off-road on the south side, on state-owned right-of-way. It will have an attractive, pink-hued “chip-seal” surface of Stony Creek granite over a hard base. It will not be a black macadam roadway.

* No Guilford town funds will be required. Federal and state funding has been lined up to pay for construction. Maintenance costs are anticipated to be almost zero because the trail surface will have a decades-long life span and Shoreline Greenway Trail volunteers will take care of routine cleanup and maintenance.

Check our website (shorelinegreenwaytrail.org) or Facebook page (@shorelinegreenwaytrail) regularly for updates, and contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support, and please attend the hearing.


– The Shoreline Greenway Trail, Guilford Team: Co-chairs Pam Simonds and Milton Charlton; Chelsea Anderson, Chip Angle, Ted Braun, Larry Dowler, Kristen D’Souza, Peter Hawes, Brad Kronstat, Mike Meisel, Jerry Meyer and Kim Schmid