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Connecticut’s Shoreline Greenway Trail continued

In Branford, the selected trail sec- tion was meant to connect two existing portions of built trail, extending from Young’s Pond Park adjacent to a private golf course, which added a few more complications. With the potential for more of the

public crossing through the golf course and other areas, safety was understand- ably a major concern. To keep trail progress moving, the focus has shifted now to an alternate trail connection that avoids those conflict areas, as negotiat- ing any property impacts or compro- mises will take some time. Guilford officials have been moving

forward on their first section of trail as well, just this August hosting a public meeting to comment on a proposed one-mile stretch. The section will paral- lel Route 1 and largely travel through the quaint downtown. Madison hosts the Shoreline

Greenway Trail’s eastern trailhead at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut’s largest and most visited state park. SGT, through its dedicated volunteer efforts, has recently construct- ed a spectacular portion of trail within the park, taking users along roadsides, over a boardwalk, and through forest, all with dramatic views of the beach and marshes.

Looking to capitalize on this momentum, the Town of Madison is now moving forward with a critical seg- ment of trail that will span a tidal creek along Boston Post Road and further serve to connect Madison center with Hammonasset State Park.

Going the Distance Given the diversity of landowners

and terrain, revisiting and updating the concepts outlined in the feasibility study will be critical to making the most of the trail. The study provides short- and long-term alternatives that allow progress to be made now but still accommodate the possibility of incorpo- rating the desired land parcels if they become available as time passes. This overall vision is helping the SGT and the towns remain focused on a trail that gives people access to spectacular scen- ery while respecting and meeting the needs of the environment.

So far the dedication of the SGT and its volunteers, plus the momentum generated as each new section is com- pleted, continues to keep enthusiasm high. While the overall vision of the full 25 miles from New Haven to Madison is still perhaps a generation away, the SGT continues to make progress in

building a continuous trail, albeit with temporary connections in some places. In the meantime, residents and visi-

tors are taking advantage of what the trail has to offer, making a daily case for its popularity. What’s more, the trail plan is giving some extra help to town and state transportation officials by providing a blueprint for road improve- ments along the trail’s footprint. In other words, for those sections of trail that travel along roadways, the town or state is able to coordinate any roadway upgrades to provide for expanded bike facilities, killing two public improvement birds with one proverbial stone.

No matter when the trail fully meets the vision of the community, the commitment to its future— and to find- ing ways to move it forward in the present— it is a model for trail enthusi- asts across the country looking for trail solutions of their own.

John Eberle, PE, based in the New Haven, Connecticut office of Stantec, is a senior associate and civil engineer who led the feasibility study and conceptual planning for the Shoreline Greenway Trail. He can be reached at john.eberle@ or (203) 495-1645.

36 SPRING 2015

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