Monday, November 28, 2011

Public Meeting on Proposed Multi-Use Bike Trail for Middletown

The Jonah Center for Earth and Art invites the public – especially those who ride bicycles and are interested in making our city more “bicycle-friendly” – to attend 2 important meetings. The reason: Middletown has an excellent chance to receive $800,000 in U.S. Dep’t of Transportation funds for infrastructure to make urban areas more bicycle-friendly.

On Tuesday, November 29, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 208 of City Hall, Middletown’s Director of Planning, Conservation and Development, Bill Warner, will present a bicycling “master plan” developed by city engineer Tom Nigosanti, followed by a proposal to construct one section of that plan: a bikeway connecting downtown Middletown, Wesleyan University, and the Wesleyan Hills residential community close to the borders of Middlefield and Durham. Documents and maps prepared by Middletown’s Planning Department can be found at Look at the 1st three items under Announcements in the middle of the page.

Public input on the details of the plan and support for the project in general is being sought. The Jonah Center for Earth and Art is a “project advocate” on the grant application and wants to engage all interested parties and partners to make the most of this opportunity and contribute to the trail’s design.

To meet the grant application deadline of December 21, this matter needs to come before the Common Council at the Dec. 5, 7 p.m. meeting in the Council Chambers. On the agenda, we anticipate a resolution stating Common Council support and pledging appropriation of matching funds as needed at a later date. A public demonstration of support by large attendance and some spoken testimony at the beginning of this meeting is needed. We hope Middletown will take advantage of this exciting opportunity to join sustainability-minded communities around the nation and become more bicycle-friendly. If you would like to submit an email of support, send it to Bill Warner, Director of Planning, Conservation, and Development or go to the Jonah Center website and send us a message. We will tell you Mr. Warner’s email address if you need it.


Anonymous said...

Since I live in the neighborhood and am an avid cyclist I don't see this plan as doing much. What the city needs is a comprehensive plan to make the city truly bike friendly, but mostly bike SAFE. Anyone whose ever ridden a bike in Middletown knows how unsafe it is. We need designated marked bike lanes and routes throughout the city, to be able to get from one part safely to another. Ever try biking from say So. Farms to Westfield? Or through downtown? For commuting this plan only helps people who work at Wesleyan and live in Wesleyan Hills. It's not long enough for real recreation--similar to the bike trail to nowhere over by the condos. Is there a long term plan to extend this? such as the greenways around the state? Or maybe a rail trail connecting downtown and Higganum along the old railroad lines? it might be a start but I'd like to see a long term plan to transition the city to a truly bike friendly place, where people can see cycling as a true alternative to driving. Or with a long recreational greenway that would attract people to the city.

Lady Cyclist (Beth Emery) said...

The resolution that will go to the Common Council seeking approval for funding this project includes a provision to establish a "group" that will work on developing a Comprehensive Bicycling and Pedestrian Master Plan for Middletown.

The funding that is available for this project cannot be used to fund "recreational trails", the spending must be transportation oriented.

As far as bicycling safety goes--I do not think bicycling is any less safe than driving or walking, and many studies show this to be true. Less then 30% of all bicycling crashes are car/bike related. When bicyclist and motorists alike follow the rules of the road, coupled with enforcement of speed laws, crashes can be reduced.

Can bicycling in Middletown, be safer; yes, it can be, and I do agree that roads with wider shoulders between S. Farms and Westfield makes sense, just as it does for many other roads in town. A recent state law on Complete Streets mandates that road improvements provide provisions for bicycling and pedestrians. I believe the city is working on this now.

Bike Locks said...

A public demonstration of support by large attendance and some spoken testimony at the beginning of this meeting is needed.