The Jonah Center for Earth and Art is promoting an 18-mile bike route that would allow cyclists on the Air Line Trail to reach the Farmington Canal Trail in Cheshire (part of the East Coast Greenway). The route would consist mostly of off-road trails traveling westward from the Arrigoni Bridge through Middletown, Meriden, and Cheshire. Of this 18-mile route, approximately 7 miles have already been built or planned in Meriden and Middletown. To view this entire route in detail, click here: Air Line Trail to Farmington Canal Trail connector route
Coming eastward from Cheshire, bicyclists could reach the extremely scenic Air Line Trail in Portland and continue for 25 additional miles to reach Willimantic and reconnect with the East Coast Greenway.
Most important for Middletown itself, this connector trail would also be a boon to bicycle transportation in the city, providing a continuous route from downtown Middletown to the commuter rail hub in Meriden, passing through the Westlake residential area and the Industrial Park Road commercial district.
As an early step toward this vision, the Jonah Center is working with Middletown’s Public Works Department to begin work on the Newfield Corridor Trail for which funds were allocated in the 1916 Parks Improvement Bond Referendum. This 3-mile segment (shown in blue or red on the right side of the map) would connect the existing Mattabesset Bike Trail (shown in green) with a point near downtown Middletown–either Veterans Park or the North End. Note: The map above shows all the sections of the connector trail that would pass through Middletown. The section in green has already been built; sections in blue, red, or gold are envisioned.)
The Jonah Center has initiated conversations among the Lower CT River Council of Governments (RiverCOG), the City of Meriden, the City of Middletown, the Town of Portland, and the Town of Cheshire to start cross-boundary communication, build support, and advance this idea. The project appears very promising not only because it would complement the Connecticut section of the East Coast Greenway, but because it would result in a 125 mile loop trail in central Connecticut, passing through Meriden, Middletown, Portland, East Hampton, Willimantic, Manchester, Hartford, Bloomfield, Simsbury, Avon Farmington, Plainville, Southington, and Cheshire. To view this entire loop, click here: East Coast Greenway & Air Line Trail Loop overview Such a loop trail would be a boon to bicycling in Connecticut and bring visitors to the communities along the entire route.