**Update posted Dec. 7, 2023: Eversource has informed us that additional work hours will be scheduled on Sunday, Dec. 10, between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.**
Eversource has notified the FVTC that there will be upgrades to power lines that cross the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail near where the trail crosses Rt. 189.
“This project is set to begin in mid-October and is expected to conclude by the winter of 2023. The [trail] intersects the right of way access at 118 Hartford Avenue in East Granby CT. We are committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and bikers who utilize the trail. We will be placing caution signs on Hartford Ave to alert users about the increase in traffic as we bring in the necessary materials on to Eversource parcel. Our project team does not believe it will be necessary to shut down any portions of the [trail] during this period, because the overhead power line does not physically cross the trail itself. The working hours for this project will be from 7am to 7pm, Monday through Saturday.”
Many of you are aware that the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail doesn’t end at the Massachusetts border. The trail continues into MA as the Southwick Rail Trail and into Westfield as the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail where the completed section ends at the Westfield River. The rest of Westfield, and almost all of Southampton until just before the Easthampton town line remains to be completed. The trail is complete in Easthampton and Northampton, where it is called the Manhan Rail Trail.
The Friends of the Southampton Greenway reported on a recent public meeting on the initiative to close the gap in that town:
“On Wednesday November 15th engineers from Tighe & Bond led a Southampton Greenway information session and public forum at the Norris Elementary School. We were thrilled that more than 125 members of the community attended, and there was lots of enthusiasm for the project, along with questions and great suggestions.
“On Friday the 24th the Hampshire Gazette ran a long and very positive article about the event. For those of you who didn’t see it, the full text [can be found here.]”
The ultimate goal of advocates is to have a fully developed rail-trail that goes from the shore of New Haven, CT into the center of Northampton, MA with a unified name. For more information on this effort, check out nhncg.org.
The Town of Canton is holding a public meeting to discuss the goals, scope, and schedule of the U.S. 44 Corridor Study. The meeting is open to all, and will be held in person and via Zoom.
When: Thursday, December 7, 2023, 6:00-7:30 PM
In-person location: Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Avenue, Canton, CT, Meeting Room F
Zoom link: https://tinyurl.com/cantonmeeting
For more information on the study: https://crcog.org/rt44/
CRCOG and the Town of Canton are conducting a corridor study of the Route 44, in the Town of Canton.
The purpose of the study is to:
- investigate and evaluate current transportation infrastructure deficiencies including bicycle and pedestrian options and transit, along a portion of Route 44 as well as adjacent roadways in the town of Canton
- evaluate existing and future traffic signal locations on Route 44, between Canton Village and the Simsbury Townline and a portion of Dowd Avenue (State Route 565), from Canton Hollow to Route 44
- investigate and evaluate alternatives to improve movements of motor vehicles and freight through the area under the anticipated future build out as a high-density, mixed-use village
- evaluate safety improvements to accommodate a proposed East-West extension of the existing active transportation route (the Farmington River Rail Trail) and determine the best location of a trail crossing on Route 44. The study will also investigate and evaluate non-motorized travel options that connect surrounding neighborhoods within the study area as well as current and future commuters from other areas to opportunities including but not limited to employment, education, and healthcare in the area
- develop a recommendation plan to address those deficiencies.
The study is being done from Summer, 2023 to Fall, 2024. To get involved, you can take their survey at:
For more information see: https://crcog.org/rt44/
Construction has begun to fill a gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Southington. When completed, the new segment of about 1.3 miles will extend north from Lazy Lane to Aircraft Road, bringing the trail under I-84 via a refurbished rail tunnel. Read more in this story from WTNH: https://www.wtnh.com/news/connecticut/hartford/construction-underway-to-close-gap-in-farmington-canal-heritage-trail-in-southington/
The Town of Simsbury will be undertaking a large scale renovation of the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge that will begin in October 2023 and likely go through the end of the summer in 2024. We will not be accepting any reservations for public gatherings (weddings/anniversaries/photos) for this October/November and all of 2024 until we know the Bridge work is completed. There will be no flowers on the Bridge in 2024 and the park adjacent to the Bridge will not be open to the public until the construction is completed.
See complete information here: https://www.simsbury-ct.gov/culture-parks-recreation/pages/the-old-drake-hill-flower-bridge
Today, the League of American Bicyclists honored the efforts of Simsbury to build better places for people to bike with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. Simsbury joins 506 communities across the country in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone. The award recognizes Simsbury for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.
The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) is an awardee of a $2,500 grant from the Suffield Greater Together Community Fund. The Suffield Greater Together Community Fund is committed to supporting individuals and communities within the Greater Hartford region through capacity building, strategic learning and evaluation, community leadership, grant-making and investments and public policy, with the ultimate goal of advancing equity and creating positive change for those disproportionately impacted by disparities. The FVTC will use grant funds to maintain the bicycle repair station at the Phelps Road access area. The FVTC donated and maintains this bicycle repair station, which has suffered from vandalism and stolen tools. Repair stations are essential to ensure the safety of cyclists, as these stations provide them access to the tools they need to address a variety of bike problems, such as flat tires. The funds from this grant will support replacing tools and the vandalized pump, as well as future repairs and maintenance.
In addition, the FVTC will use the $2,500 grant to install a new bench along the trail. The benches along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FHCT) serve as memorials, rest stops for weary travelers or places for leisurely visits. This bench will honor Catherine and Allen Ryan, two Suffield residents and active community members. Catherine Ryan was a registered nurse dedicated to serving with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance. Passionate about contributing to creating a thriving community, Allen Ryan was involved with the water pollution control authority and the FVTC. He also played an integral role in converting the Suffield portion of the FCHT for nearly a decade.
Any remaining funds will be dispersed to enhance other trail amenities at the Phelps Road parking area, such as kiosk repairs and graffiti removal.
Overall, these projects will benefit the community by ensuring that the FHCT remains safe, accessible and inclusive for all visitors. The FCHT has been recognized as a Community Millennium Trail under the federal Millennium Trails Initiatives due to the high value it provides to the communities it serves. Community members rely on miles of continuous biking and walking trails, passing through eleven towns that connect New Haven to Suffield for recreational activity and social gatherings. The FCHT is essential for community thriving as it provides a safe and picturesque environment for commuting, recreational activity and social gathering. Therefore, continued investment into supporting the maintenance and improvement of the FCHT is crucial for boosting utilization and meeting community needs.
If you have through the trail underpass at Rt. 44 in Avon recently, you saw the beautiful new mural decorating the tunnel. Read the story of the mural as reported in the Avon Patch. https://patch.com/connecticut/avon/new-avon-trail-mural-brightens-hiking-biking-excursions.
We were happy to see on the front page of the Oct. 23 Hartford Courant a really nice article on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The Courant reports that the long-awaited closing of the gap in Plainville and Southington should be completed by 2027 (with an outside chance of an earlier date). The article the recreational, economic, and transportation value of the FCHT, as well as the ultimate plans to close the Massachusetts gaps and complete the 83-mile trail between New Haven, CT and Northampton, MA. Read the full article here.