By Mimi Tomei, Communications Intern
The Long Wharf on-road, two-way buffered trail is now officially part of the East Coast Greenway. The 0.73-mile segment, located in New Haven, Connecticut, received this designation during the Greenway Council’s spring meeting. The trail officially opened to users in May, as reported by the New Haven Independent.
The new trail was funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation as part of a larger effort by city and state leaders to redevelop the city’s Long Wharf neighborhood. The Greenway joins the Canal Dock Boathouse as newly completed components of the ambitious Long Wharf Responsible Growth Plan. Other elements of the plan include parks, coastal resiliency features and space for food trucks.
Bruce Donald, the Greenway’s Tri-State Coordinator, says the new trail is groundbreaking not just for its neighborhood, but also for the Greenway as a whole. It is the first two-way buffered facility, a two-way bicycle lane that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by delineators and paint, to be designated as spine route to the Greenway.
“This segment changed what can be considered spine trail, because it’s on the road,” Donald says. “It’s delineated from the road with posts, has parking on the outside, and even has a 3-foot buffer for car doors so they don’t knock you over when they’re opened.”
The trail completes a stretch of protected Greenway hugging the waterfront of the Long Island Sound, bound by Water Street to the north and Bayview Park at the south.
“The Long Wharf protected bike lane established in 2017 is a breakthrough not only because it helps re-connect New Haven's commercial and residential core with its historic waterfront and with a new community boathouse, but also because it is located at or near the nexus of several trail systems: the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, East Coast Greenway, Harborside Trail, Shoreline Greenway Trail, and Mill River Trail,” says Aaron Goode, founder of the New Haven Friends of the Farmington Canal Trail.
The new Greenway segment provides transportation alternatives for a congested part of the state.
“This new section adds a new dimension to an already very densely developed transportation corridor including a major node in the Northeast railroad and major highways: I-95 where I-91 spills into it,” says Lisa Fernandez, president of the Farmington Canal Rail to Trail Association. “It winds its way through a thickly urbanized area of industry, big box retail, tourist infrastructure (hotels and taco trucks) and shoreline, connecting New Haven's past with its present and future.”
This trail segment can now serve as a model for future protected, roadside Greenway. It also brings Connecticut closer to having 100 miles of its route achieve protected Greenway status, half of its total 200 miles of Greenway.
Goode said the new trail paves the way for future active transportation options.
“As the nucleus of this developing trail network, the high-visibility, high-impact active transportation infrastructure at Long Wharf has created a solid foundation for regional bicycle-pedestrian connectivity that southern New England can build on for decades to come.”
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