In 2012, the Jonah Center and Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee prioritized for improvements one of the most dangerous areas in Middletown. At least, we expect huge improvements to the area in the coming year. It’s been a long wait, but we are very excited to know that the needed changes will happen soon.
The section of Saybrook Road between Tryon Street and East Main Street (in its current state) was designed and built with virtually no consideration for pedestrians for bicyclists, even though many residents in this part of the city need to walk to the Stop & Shop plaza to buy groceries. It is virtually impossible for school children who live north of Saybrook Road (Silver St. Wall Street, Frisbee St., Maplewood Terrace, Bow Lane, etc.) to walk to Bielefield School. There are no sidewalks, crosswalks, or pedestrian signals for people who walk in this area.
The Public Works Department was very receptive to this concern. Staff developed concept drawings that included bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks. The department then hired Cardinal Engineering to conduct a study of the high traffic volume area, and to produce the final design.
Around 2015, construction was postponed when the department discovered a state transportation grant program to support bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure on arterial roadways near commercial areas. The Saybrook Road project was an ideal candidate for such a grant, and funding was awarded in the amount of approximately $3,3 million. That’s money that the city itself would not have to spend, and it justified the delay.
Now the grant funding has been released—it took at least 2 years longer than expected, for reasons we do not need to explore here. The Public Works Department says that the construction specifications will go “out to bid” this winter, with actual construction to take place during the 2021 construction season.
Below are images showing the location of details of the improvements. The professional drawings were provided to the Jonah Center by Cardinal Engineering, at the request of Public Works Director William Russo. (Click on each image to enlarge and open the image in a separate tab.)