Route 9 Middletown-Cromwell Multi-use Connector Trail

The proposed connector trail is indicated by the yellow line. The Arrigoni Bridge is at the bottom.

Let’s make it possible to bicycle or walk safely from downtown Middletown to Main Street in Cromwell via a multi-use trail constructed on the existing access road the lies parallel to Route 9, between the highway and the railroad tracks.

Here’s the background: Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 21-03, signed on December 16, 2021, lists actions to be taken by CT State agencies to achieve the goals of the Governor’s Climate Change Coalition (GC3).  Among them was this item:

DOT shall set a 2030 vehicle miles traveled reduction target and develop a plan of investments to contribute to and encourage the achievement of such targeted reductions.

In the 2022 state legislative session, House Bill 5255 passed, including a provision by which the Department of Transportation may indemnify and hold harmless any railroad company in connection with an interim trail use and rail banking arrangement …”  Other states allow multi-use trails to be built using space adjacent to rail lines, and now that possibility exists in Connecticut, too.   See the article in the CTNewsJunkie by Anthony Cherolis.

But back to the Governor’s Executive Order.  Progress toward reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled will surely require 2 types of investments: public transportation and infrastructure for bicycling and walking.

At the same time, CT DOT has been working to find a plan to remove the traffic signals on Route 9 in Middletown. There are multiple benefits to be realized from removing those signals, such as reduced accidents and reduced air pollution. But one negative result is that removing the traffic signals will encourage more people to commute, more often, by single-passenger motor vehicles, from towns south of Middletown to Hartford and its surrounding communities.

The Jonah Center proposes the Route 9 Middletown-Cromwell Multi-Use Connector Trail that will help achieve the goal of reduced vehicle miles traveled in keeping with Executive Order 21-03. This one-mile trail would connect (for walkers and bicyclists only) the Miller-Bridge street area and Cromwell’s Main Street (Rte. 99) where it begins at exit 18 and make it possible for residents of both towns to do what was possible before Rte. 9 was constructed. It would also fill a major gap in a continuous, safe bike route between Old Saybrook and the greater Hartford area. We propose the CT DOT include this project as part of any future plan to remove the traffic signals from Rte. 9 in Middletown.

Below are close up views of the north and south ends of the proposed connector.

Connector trail at Route 9 exit 18, merging onto Route 99 in Cromwell

Connector trail going north from Middletown, approaching Mattaabesset River