Beginning in 2012, the Jonah Center has encouraged the City of Middletown to build a 3- mile multi-use trail from Veterans Park to Tuttle Road, where it will connect with the current Mattabesset Bike Path in the Westlake area. The project is called the “Newfield Corridor Trail.” The trail’s location (shown in blue below) is only approximate or tentative while a detailed route study is being performed.
The Newfield Corridor Trail will allow hundreds of students in high density residential neighborhoods to bicycle or walk safely to 4 schools: Lawrence, Keigwin, Middletown High School, and Spencer. It will also be a huge step in creating bicycle access from Cromwell and the Westlake area of Middletown to downtown Middletown. Finally, this 3-mile section, added to 4.5 miles of the existing Mattabessett and Westlake bike paths, will complete nearly 8 miles of the proposed 18 mile Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Connector Route, a regional project involving Portland, Meriden, and Cheshire that the Jonah Center has been spearheading.
As shown in the conceptual map above, the trail’s approximate route (as of summer 2019) lies on the west side of Newfield Street between Veterans Park and LaRosa Lane, where turns toward Middletown High School. From there it follows a sewer right-of-way to Mile Lane, then beside Kaplan Drive to Lawrence School. From the school, the trail will likely continue north across city-owned open space to Tuttle Road and the existing Mattabessett Bike Path. A more detailed map of the Newfield Corridor Trail may be found here.. (Another possible route from Westfield Street north to Middletown High School south follows the sewer right of way further west of Newfield Street, thus avoiding driveways along Newfield Street completely.) The exact route is now (in the year 2020) being investigated with the help of Milone and Macbroom engineering consultants.
In 2015, the Public Works Department included $4 million in the Parks Bond for the purpose of designing and constructing bike paths, with the Newfield Corridor Trail specifically in mind. After the referendum passed, other projects on the Parks Bond list received higher priority, but the Jonah Center and Complete Streets Committee continued pushing for the Newfield Corridor Trail to be allotted funding for route definition, survey, and design work.
We encourage the bicycling public to attend public hearings and presentations on the project as it unfolds. As of January 2020, the primary issue is deciding what route the trail should follow. Factors weighing in this decision include cost, wetlands and wildlife habitat, grade (hills), safety, and suitability both for recreation and for transportation to schools, businesses, and public transit.