Plans for connecting biking trails between Trumbull and Bridgeport are nearing their final design stages.
Senior Transportation Planner Mark Nielsen of the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency recently presented the latest designs for Quarry Road, Trumbull Road and River Road portions of the trail before the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission.
If all goes smoothly, construction could begin in the fall.
Residents had some concerns and questions, which Nielsen addressed. He said all opinions would be considered.
"We want to have this trail be a good neighbor," Nielsen said.
The two sections represent 5,300 feet from the end of Quarry Road to the Trumbull-Bridgeport line.
Also, Manor Drive leading into Twinbrooks Park will not be used to connect the Pequonnock Valley to Twinbrooks. Nielsen said he is trying to route the trail behind the Trumbull Center shopping plaza.
The plan calls for the trail to lie completely in Beardsley Park (bounded by White Plains Road), with a 10-foot paved trail, a seven-foot buffer from the road and two-foot buffer on the east side of the trail.
The other features would also include:
- a new 20-space parking area along Trumbull Road;
- replacement of a bridge;
- Mill and remove existing pavement structure along the river road from the bridge abutment to Beardsley Park;
- Restore and repair buffer along Trumbull Road and River Road with natural vegetative buffer as needed;
- Removal of non-native invasive species;
- Repair stream channel erosion with embankment improvements.
Planning and Zoning Vice Chairwoman Arlyne Fox said trails crossing roads can be dangerous, such as the crossing at Route 111 near the intersection with Route 25.
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"They're working on a safety study for that crossing," Nielsen said.
In answer to another question, Nielsen said the trail will run over the now closed Rocky Hill Road bridge (closed to car traffic when Route 25 came through).
He added that he is "optimistic" a plan can be worked out with the owners of Trumbull Center to route the trail behind the shopping center.
Director of Planning & Development Jamie Bratt asked about the trail's use.
Nielsen said about 6,000 people used the trail in a week, according to a study conducted over a week in summer 2011.
Lights will not be used at night to discourage after hours usage, the planner noted.
Robert Ferrigno, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, had some concerns. The board has said it is already to difficult to monitor and maintain the trail system.
"While we all appreciate the beauty and benefits of a trail system within our community, expansion of the Rail/Trail system brings significant impact to our parks system, its parking and facilities," he said in a letter. "We will appreciate your attention to keep this commission informed of any and all requests which may come to your commission for action."
Resident Mary Keane asked who is tasked with keeping mountain bikers out of the trail area, adding that changes to the paths from Manor Drive into Twinbrooks Park has driven away some people.