Frequently Asked QUESTIONS
What is the Shoreline Greenway Trail?
The Shoreline Greenway Trail is a project to build a trail and connect communities in a 25-mile corridor from New Haven to Madison, improving bicycle and pedestrian accessibility between and within those towns. It will likely comprise off-road, greenway trail plus bike lanes, shared lanes and other facilities that enable safe travel for pedestrians and nonmotorized vehicles. Shoreline Greenway Trail (Inc.) is also the name of the nonprofit organization promoting the project.
Where will the trail go?
Our vision is for the trail to stretch from New Haven to Madison, with connections beyond in both directions. The precise route is yet to be determined, subject to collaboration with residents, property owners and governments in Shoreline towns.
What will the trail connect to?
The trail already connects key places in Madison, Branford and East Haven, and it will eventually connect parts of Madison, Branford, Guilford, East Haven and New Haven with one another. In New Haven, the trail will connect to the city’s proposed Harborside Trail, with the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and with the East Coast Greenway. To the east, we envision it connecting with proposed trails in Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook toward the Connecticut River.
Who can use the trail?
Anyone and everyone, including people of all ages and abilities. Horses and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, with the exception of powered wheelchairs, which we hope to accommodate on most segments. We are making every effort to ensure that the trail is easy to use and accessible to all.
How is the trail being built and maintained?
Like many large-scale projects of this type, the trail is being built section by section in partnership with Shoreline communities. In some places, Shoreline Greenway Trail is doing the construction; in others, the towns are building the trail, using predominantly state and federal funds raised by Shoreline Greenway Trail. Surfaces vary, appropriate to the terrain, surroundings, landowner requests and requirements of state and federal grants. Shoreline Greenway Trail has a Green Team of volunteers who help build and keep the trail clear and debris-free on a regular basis.
How is the trail being funded?
SGT has raised $4.25 million from a range of sources, including donations from 3,000 Shoreline families and area businesses and foundations, federal transportation grants, state transportation and environmental protection grants, state bonding, and local matching funds (typically in the form of in-kind services). We conduct regular fundraising campaigns, hold fundraising events and continually apply for government, corporate and foundation grants. Individual donors remain our most importance source of funding. Here’s how you can help.
How does the trail impact the environment?
Perhaps most important, the trail will contribute to a cleaner environment and a healthier community by increasing the amount of travel done by people on foot, by bike, in wheelchairs, etc., and by reducing the number of miles driven in motorized vehicles. We are committed to building the trail in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
How is a landowner’s easement protected?
Landowners are protected from any liability by Connecticut General Statute 52-557h along a trail through their land that is open to the public for recreational use. In addition, Shoreline Greenway Trail carries liability insurance.
What happens to property values?
Many studies show that proximity to a trail increases the value of commercial and residential property and contributes to faster sales.
Is the trail safe?
Yes. Crime rates along trails built for nonmotorized vehicles are often lower than in the rest of a community. In many cases, this is because the additional eyes and ears of people using a trail provide a neighborhood with greater vigilance and security.
Is another trail in the area necessary?
Absolutely. Although there are many miles of walking and hiking trails on the Shoreline, there are no safe-from-traffic, multiuse trails. And there is no trail or active-travel network that connects key residential, downtown, commercial, recreational, transit and tourist destinations within the four Shoreline towns—let alone that connects those communities with each other and with New Haven.
What are the benefits of the trail?
The many benefits include increased safety for walkers, cyclists, people in wheelchairs and others who want to get around without motorized vehicles; improved public health; a cleaner environment; greater economic vitality; and contribution to a more liveable community.
What is your plan for the entire trail?
Our plan is to connect the five communities between New Haven and Madison with a trail and/or network that improves bicycle and pedestrian accessibility between and within those towns. Approximately three miles of trail in three towns have been completed, and another three miles are either under development or in an active proposal stage. Beyond that, we are working with the five communities on solutions that are right for those communities. Projects like this are often developed in stages, section by section, and that is the approach being taken with the Shoreline Greenway Trail.
Is there a map?
Yes. Here is a map of current and proposed trail sections. Additional sections are being explored in partnership with the communities involved and landowners. Until the communities make decisions about their desires, goals and priorities, there’s no way to know what routes will be available for the entire trail. Therefore, there is currently no map available that shows an exact route.
I’ve seen a map that shows a “proposed” route. What’s the story with that?
The Southern Connecticut Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) commissioned an engineering study in 2005 to see what might be technically feasible in respect to a 25-mile, off-road trail between New Haven and Madison. That effort produced a map showing, from an engineering perspective, a technically possible route. It does not represent the actual plans or intentions of Shoreline Greenway Trail or SCRCOG. We are committed to supporting each town, its residents and landowners in developing the trail and/or related bike/ped facilities in ways that are best for them.
Does Shoreline Greenway Trail support eminent domain?
No. As we have continuously demonstrated in our conversations with landowners and the towns, we are community-minded people who understand concerns about setbacks, privacy, property rights and property values. We have not supported and do not support the use of eminent domain for building any trail.
SGT is a Win-Win-Win …
… for you, your family, friends and neighbors … for our businesses … our communities … and the entire Shoreline region.