Evening commute back-up on Route 9 southbound at Hartford Avenue
You may be wondering about the status of plans by the CT Department of Transportation to improve traffic on Main Street, the Route 17 ramp onto Route 9, and the proposal to remove the traffic signals from Route 9. John Hall recently spoke with Erik Jarboe at CT DOT about these projects. Here’s what’s going on.
The State will install pedestrian bump-outs along Main Street beginning in the spring of 2019. (“Bump-outs” are elevated extensions of the sidewalk surface into the crosswalk area, providing visibility for pedestrians, shortening the time needed for the pedestrian cycle of the traffic signal, and moving cars more efficiently.) The State also plans to make improvements to the St. John’s Square intersection, for which construction may begin in the fall of 2019. This will include a dedicated right turn lane from southbound Main onto Washington Street.
As for the removal of the stop sign where Rt. 17 enters Route 9 northbound, the addition of the needed acceleration lane will require widening and partial replacement of the bridge over Union Street as well as relocation of the existing Union Street/River Road/Harbor Drive intersection. This will entail a prolonged permitting process, which is underway.
Regarding the removal of the Route 9 traffic signals, CT DOT has engaged a consulting company to complete a comprehensive system-wide traffic study of Route 9, downtown Middletown, and beyond. They are hoping to hold another public meeting with revised plans sometime this coming winter.
On Saturday, September 15th, Wesleyan will be hosting a FREE residential e-waste recycling and hard drive shredding event from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This event is open to all Connecticut residents at no charge. Residents are not required to pre-register.
Take 2’s mobile hard drive shredder will be on site to shred hard drives, which should be removed from computers and laptops and ready to be shredded. Take 2 will not be able to remove hard drives from devices at the event. Take 2 will be on site to unload vehicles and safely package and transport all unwanted electronics to their Waterbury facility to be responsibly and securely recycled.
Photo by Scott McIntyre
At last, work is underway on the multi-use trail adjacent to Long Lane, from the Long Hill Road soccer field to the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street. The contractor is DeRita Construction Company.
While the original plan envisioned a 3-mile multi-use trail from the Wesleyan Hills development to downtown, the project was scaled back for a variety of reasons and divided into phases. This first phase of the trail will serve primarily residents in a variety of housing developments just south of Wesleyan University who wish to bicycle, walk, or run along Long Lane between Long Hill Road and Wadsworth Street, where there are no sidewalks. The path will be 10 feet wide in most cases, paved with asphalt.
Most of the work will be completed this fall, but some details, such as final landscaping, will need to wait until next spring. The Jonah Center has been the community advocate for this project since 2011 when it was partially funded by a federal grant of $400,000. This cost of this section of the trail will be approximately $1,045,000, not including time spent by City staff.
The image below shows the location of the new trail section, most of it parallel to Long Lane between Long Hill Road and Wadsworth Street.
Home Energy Solutions (HES) work crews have a slow period in summer, but you can take advantage of that by calling the Jonah Center’s partner, New England Conservation Services at 1-877-389-7077. Mention the “Jonah Center Promotion” and schedule a home visit. Continue reading
On June 27, 2018, members of Portland’s Sidewalk Committee and Board of Selectmen held a ground-breaking ceremony for the $1 million sidewalk improvement project. Approximately 2 miles of cracked and uneven sidewalks in the Town’s central residential area will be replaced with brand new concrete sidewalks over the next year or so. John Hall and Bob Herron (Jonah Board member & Treasurer) are co-chairs of the Sidewalk Committee.
PIctured above (left to right) are Bob Herron, Selectman Ralph Zampano, First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield, John Hall, Selectman Jim Tripp, Selectman Lou Pear, Director of Public Works Bob Shea, and former Selectman Fred Knous.
On Sunday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, paddlers will return to the Floating Meadows to remove emerging water chestnut plants. This invasive species endangers our local freshwater marshland. Since plants are still small at this early stage in the season, removing them now saves much labor later in the summer. The Jonah Center is grateful to our partner, the Connecticut River Conservancyn for staffing this work party and covering the event with their insurance policy. All participants will need to sign CRC’s liability waivers and paddle at their own risk. The starting point is the canoe and kayak launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown. For information on possible last minute cancellation, check back on this post or call 860-398-3771.
New This Year: At the Jonah Center’s request, the City of Middletown has installed a port-a-potty at the boat launch for the entire summer paddling season! The Public Works Department has also improved the facility in other ways you will notice. Thank you Director Russo and Middletown’s Department of Public Works.
On May 29, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, hundreds of citizens showed up to protest the FY2019 budget which did not contain funding for the Environmental Specialist and Arts Coordinator positions. The arts community was represented by numerous adults who were nurtured by the Summer Circus program, including a young woman named Jasmine who entered the Council Chambers on tall “giraffe stilts.” She had to duck to get through the door, and the camera needed to move up to capture her head and face. The testimonies were eloquent and passionate.
In the end, the Council voted 7-3 to sustain the Mayor’s veto of the relevant line items. 8 votes were needed to override the veto. But the struggle is not over. The positions still need to be evaluated, and refilled.
The Jonah Center and members of the environmental community remain concerned about the future of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development, which has 2 vacant positions and is struggling to complete urgent, necessary work.
To: Members of the Common Council
I am writing to you with great concern that the Planning & Environmental Specialist position in the Dept. of Planning, Conservation, and Development may not be funded in FY2019. I understand the revenue/expense/general fund balance situation that the City faces, but eliminating the ES position would be a serious additional setback to a PCD Department that has already been damaged and has functioned very poorly over the past few years. More important, given the services and grant receipts that come with the P&ES position, eliminating this position would be financially detrimental in the long run. Continue reading
The Jonah Center’s efforts to protect Snapping Turtles from commercial trapping was successful. The campaign began in 2012 and faced many discouraging moments along the way, but now we rejoice in victory for the ancient and majestic snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina
Our primary turtle advocate, Barrie Robbins-Pianka (who took all of the photos above) deserves major credit for the inspiration and investigative work behind the campaign. State Representative Matt Lesser was our legislative advocate. Wesleyan Professor Barry Chernoff provided scientific testimony. Many of you, Jonah Center advocates, sent emails and made phone calls to members and leaders of the legislature across the state. All of this finally added up to critical mass and so, at last, our state will protect snapping turtles from commercial trade. Governor Malloy has signed the bill into law.
To read one of the most compelling and informative testimonies sent to legislators (from Tim Walsh of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich), click here.
The following testimony by Tim Walsh of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich not only helped our legislative effort to protect snapping turtles, but it serves as a good summary of the science of the issue. Turtles still need protection. This bill only offers protection from commercial trapping. Habitat loss and resulting highway mortality are still threats to the majestic Snapping Turtle.
I am one of a group of citizens who have been urging legislation to protect snapping turtles from commercial trapping since 2012. This year, HB5354, A Bill Concerning Snapping Turtles and Red-Eared Slider Turtles, passed the Environment Committee 19-0, and an amended version of it passed the House of Representatives 141-0.
Please accept this letter as support for a cessation of legal harvest for the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina in the State of Connecticut. Turtles are ancient creatures that walked the earth with the dinosaurs and today are important and visible elements in many ecosystems. Many species play key ecological roles, serving as both predators and prey, contributing to the cycling of nutrients, and acting as seed dispersers. Currently, turtles are the 2nd most endangered vertebrate group in the world. Approximately, 53% of the world’s species are threatened with extinction. We are not talking about just an endangered genus or species of animal, but an entire family. The decline of turtle species throughout their range is being fueled by habitat loss and modification, highway-related traffic mortality, and collection for the pet trade and human consumption. Continue reading