About That Merritt Parkway Trail Idea…

A recent “06880” story on a plan to develop a bike and jogging trail just south of the Merritt Parkway drew fevered comments, pro and con.

On Tuesday, May 1, you can vent to the people who count.

The Connecticut State Highways Design office is sponsoring a public workshop (6:30 p.m., Westport Police headquarters classroom).

The event is “to inform residents about the Merritt Parkway multi-use trail feasibility study,” a press release says.

It continues:

“Residents, commuters, business owners and other interested individuals are encouraged to…discuss the issues and opportunities associated with the possible development of a multi-use trail which will be included in the feasibility study.”

For more information click here, or email William.Britnell@ct.gov

13 responses to “About That Merritt Parkway Trail Idea…

  1. Adam Stolpen

    This is another example of an idea which is fine in concept, but flawed in execution. We do not need this project.

    I attended the session DOT held in Fairfield and was told there would be no opportunity for the public to address the issue. This is not a regular meeting with give and take. It is simply a presentation by the DOT as they try to act as if the program is already approved. It is not, and we need to find ways to stop it.

    The study alone has already cost over $1 million.

    No thought has been given to the difficulty or expense for a project of over 37 miles of trail along the Merritt. There will be numerous exits to cross, to say nothing of the dozens of streets along the length of the trail which the Merritt spans with incorporated bridges. Crossing those thoroughfares would result in the trail users having to find ways to safely deal with heavily trafficked Fairfield county roads. There will be inherent dangers at every crossing as pedestrians bike or step out into our notoriously dangerous traffic.

    Forcing the trail into the buffer zone will drive off the animals that use that area, increase noise for the residents who live along the Merritt and be an environment nightmare going through the wetlands that exist all along the length of the proposed trail.

    More to the point, why is the trail even necessary? We already have parks to bike, jog and walk in located in every town along the route. The expense for this project will be huge and the payoff in terms of use marginal. More importantly, at a time when resources are scarce and our state has so many bridges in need of repair why is the DOT wasting money on a make work project when the limited funds could best be used where needed elsewhere.

  2. Dinosaur Dad

    I urge everyone to really take a look at the facts around rail-trails of this type. There are some many misconceptions about the cost, the impact of rail-trails on adjacent property values, noise, etc. Please don’t dismiss it out of hand. Better yet, take a look at some of the rail-trails that exist in Connecticut (great examples in Hamden and in Simsbury area) – and you’ll see that the right design can overcome a lot of concerns. Anything that gets people more active benefits everyone.

    • Adam Stolpen

      Unfortunately there is no right design that is able to get around traversing wetlands, spanning valleys and ravines and crossing over 60 separate roads and major thoroughfares. This is not some little cowpath.

      As I said, it’s an inspiring idea, just impractical in reality in the particular location the DOT is pushing for..

  3. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I have been lucky and fortunate enough to ride many bike trails through out the eastern seaboard. There is nothing greater than these trails… I understand the costs and people concerns… But a good or great bike trail is a needed addition to our area.

  4. Concerns about privacy , wildlife, and costs should render this as a project not worthy of consideration.

  5. Mark J. Marcus

    Concerns about the environment, wildlife, the privacy of abutting property owners and the expenditure of public money render this a project not worthy of further consideration.

  6. Unbelievable! Think about the time and energy used by the DOT on designing and promoting this boondoggle. No wonder there are so many intersections with bad light timing. A million bucks? How much does the traveling show cost? I’m with Adam.

  7. Yes, it is unbelievable. That 2 individuals whose own property abuts the Merritt Parkway (Stolpen on Spring Hill Rd; Marcus on Oakwood Ln) don’t want anyone else to enjoy the beauty of the PUBLIC property. Their attacks against a trail is – literally – based on NIMBY (not in my backyard). At the very least, they should indicate their vested property interest in the matter.

  8. One of the great stories about the Merritt Parkway happened when it first opened, Initially, it went only as far as Norwalk and when it went through New Canaan it bisected a dairy farm. The barn was on one side and the pasture on the other. No problem–at 5AM the farmer stood in the middle of the highway with a red warning lantern and the cows ambled over to the pasture. And at 5PM with the same procedure the cows went home for milking. That procedure lasted 6 months. What happened then I do’t know.

  9. My father owns property in New Canaan that will be directly affected by this pathway, it will run right behind his lhome and land. Let me just say…he supports this pathway, and so do I. (funny enough, we aren’t even cycilsts)
    We grew up in Westchester County, Yorktown Heights to be exact, and saw the positive impact the trails had on our town. Here is an interesting link discussing the evoloution of the bike trails in Westchester County. http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/reflections_on_the_millwood_bike_path/

  10. Dick Lowenstein

    I asked Mr. Britnell, who is a design engineer with ConnDOT, if public input would be permitted and here is a summary of his reply, in his own words:

    “…these initial workshops are working meetings where we are looking for input from the public, but we will not be looking for “public comment” until the meetings in the Fall when we will have something for people to actually comment on, rather than commenting on what they imagine a trail would look like or operate like. The workshops are to let us know what the questions are so we can provide the answers in the Fall.”

    A fair reply, in my opinion. However, in terms of priorities, I would give a much higher ranking to completing the four-way interchange at Route 7.

  11. Sue: it is incomprehensible to me that a $1,000,000 of our tax dollars were already spent on developing a hiking trail along the Merritt Parkway by the DOT when there are so many road and bridges in need of repair?!? CT has many beautiful parks and open land areas where walking/biking trails would be more used and appreciated for their quiet, peaceful surroundings. Honestly, does anyone consider a crowded parkway an ideal location for hiking??? As a tax payer, it infuriates me that our taxes keep going up, budgets are not balanced and needed programs are cut to build a hiking trail along the Merritt Parkway! Give me a break!

  12. This is pork; nothing more. What next cowboy poetry contests?