A study to determine the best route for the Newfield Corridor Trail has begun. Design and construction of the trail was funded by the 2015 Parks Bond, and assigned a budget of $4 million. This multi-use bikeway will be an extension of the Mattabesset Bike Trail southward from Tuttle Road to Veterans Park. (To access a Google Map of the Newfield Corridor Trail options that you can zoom in on to see details, click here.)
Jonah Center Proposes Immediate Design and Construction of Northern Section
The first, northernmost segment from Tuttle Road to LaRosa Lane is the most straightforward section, and the Jonah Center recommends that design work begin immediately. This will allow for construction of the 1.2-mile section within the next year or two and provide a safe option for children living in the Westlake area to bicycle to Lawrence School or Middletown High School. Design and construction of this section would cost at least $1 million, and likely a bit more.
The route from LaRosa Lane to Westfield Street is more complicated. (See map below.)
Middletown’s Public Works Commission originally asked Milone and MacBroom to explore a route following the East Swamp Brook wetland. A multi-use trail through this area would be very scenic and appealing to bicyclists, but it would require construction of a boardwalk trail. Not only would that be very expensive (perhaps $3 million or more) but it would entail disruption and destruction of considerable wetlands and wildlife habitat. Wetlands in this area were already damaged by the construction of Middletown High School.
Another option for the LaRosa Lane to Westfield Street segment involves a multi-use trail adjacent to Newfield Street, or buffered bike lanes along Newfield Street. The Jonah Center recommends that Milone and MacBroom study this option, even though such a route would cross numerous intersecting driveways. The fact that the CT DOT has already identified Newfield Street as a state highway in need of safety and access improvement for bicycles may help the City obtain CT DOT assistance along this route.
Note also on the map above the route labeled “Rail Spur from North End to Newfield Street.” A multi-use trail following this route would constitute a section of the 23-mile Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Connector, part of the larger Central CT Loop Trail being promoted by the Jonah Center.