One of the things that I’ve always wondered about since moving to Connecticut is why the state highways never took advantage of adding rails or trails along side. Now, according to a nice report in the Advocate the reasons behind the inaction have been identified.
“For two decades, we couldn’t apply for grants toward planning the trail because DOT wouldn’t agree to consider that use for the right of way,” Hoza said.
Now, advocates for bicyclists and multimodal transportation said they hope they are on track as theConnecticut Department of Transportation is awaiting word on a $1 million grant application from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Scenic Byways Program to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed path from Greenwich to Stratford.
That process could take two years if the grant is approved, Connecticut DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said.
DOT engineers gave the Merritt trail low priority over the years because of the challenges routing the path around the parkway’s ornate bridges and appeasing adjacent residents and preservation groups concerned about changing the roadway’s parklike atmosphere, Nursick said.
“Admittedly, in the past, the department has been hesitant and viewed this as a very difficult endeavor to move forward with,” Nursick said.”In the past few years, we’ve been moving forward to a more multimodal approach, and now we’re coming into this with any preconceived notions.”
One preservationist’s park like atmosphere is my weed filled dead zone. Somehow New York State has managed to preserve more historic stuff while modernizing roads and adding trails. Apparently the CT DOT is just getting around to this kind of thinking.