By Abby Andrulitis

The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) concluded yet another successful season
with its annual meeting on Friday, November 10th. The meeting was held at the Avon Senior
Center where attendees could enjoy refreshments from local businesses, enter raffles, and chat
with representatives from partnering trail and safety organizations– such as Watch For Me CT, a
roadway safety advocacy campaign. The meeting commenced with FVTC President Barbara
Collins and Vice President Laura Russotto introducing members of the board, recognizing
volunteers, and acknowledging bicycle-friendly town partners. Board Member Diana Moody
spoke of the FVTC merchandise, noting that the original cycling jerseys have been re-designed
to be made more “community friendly” with the inclusion of women, people of color, and
differently-abled bodies. Moody then introduced the first speaker of the night, East Coast
Greenway Southern New England Manager Bruce Donald. Donald discussed “current
happenings” on the trails. Among these design projects include the expansion of the East Coast
Greenway, as grants will be used to close gaps in the trail.

The last speaker of the night was Principal Engineer and trail advocate Scott Bushee.
Bushee led the audience through a thoughtful slideshow detailing statewide trail projects,
construction, and design in the works. According to a study conducted by UCONN, there has
been a 48% increase in annual trail usage. Thus, grants have been put into place to add amenities
(bike pumps, benches, picnic tables, informational kiosks, etc.) to existing trails. As a part of the
larger phases of the state projects, parking lots, pedestrian tunnels, and Fastrak connections are
projected to be constructed within the next few years as well. There was a question and answer
session at the end, where attendees expressed concern for trail safety with the rise in E-bikes,
amongst other things. Bushee’s advice– advocate for your trail safety by partnering with your
regional planning agency. And, always remember, trails are active transportation!