Thursday, May 8, 2014

What can happen in communities even without a trail!

Bay Village and Rocky River are typical suburban communities on the shore of Lake Erie just west of Cleveland. For the last seven years, they have been quietly creating a highly successful biking culture among young people. I first encountered it in Bay Village in 2010, while I was riding there during a visit to family. I could not believe the great quantity of bikes I saw in front of two of the schools there (photo above). Now it has spread to Rocky River and beyond. Click here to read about what was happening in 2013.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Is it OK to kill cyclists?

Now that I have your attention, this really is the title of a recent article in the NYTimes about how motorists get away with murder, literally. But, before your blood pressure gets too high thinking about this sorry fact, read the article right through to the end; especially the end (click here).
We cyclists bear great responsibility in how others perceive us. We are often our own worst enemy, blowing through stop signs and red lights with reckless abandon. So, if we want motorists and police to respect us and take us seriously as road users, we need to "ride different".

Preliminary Design - here we come!

It's been more than 4 years since the Town completed the Master Plan Trail Study, but little has happened in that time. There are lots of reasons, none of them very good. But now is the time to act, while the political and funding climate still favors closing the gaps. Read here about Plainville's latest efforts to start closing the 4 mile gap here in town.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Travel the East Coast Greenway without ever leaving your chair!

For each of the last three years, a small group of cyclists has been riding for one week on the East Coast Greenway, this summer from Hartford to Philadelphia. Click here to view a short YouTube video of this ride. 

The ECG passes just beneath the Big Gray Bridge (George Washington) and right next to the Little Red Lighthouse in NYC. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hartford Courant video editorial re: Closing the Plainville Gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

Just found on the web: a short, but very positive opinion by the Courant publisher about closing the gap here in Plainville. Click here to view.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why are these cyclists smiling?

They are smiling because they probably know something is up. Something that has been a long time coming here in Connecticut - full scale official recognition of and support for the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) by State planners and transportation officials. These happy cyclists, posing on the Flower Bridge over the Farmington River in Simsbury, are using the trail to travel from Hartford to New Haven today at the start of a weeklong journey to Philadelphia. They are using the part of the FCHT that is designated as a portion of the East Coast Greenway from Simsbury to New Haven. Much of their journey will be on-road, especially the 9.1 mile gap from Farmington thru Plainville to Southington. But that will change in the future as we advocates working with State and local officials find new and creative ways to complete this jewel of a trail that, when complete, will be 80 miles long and connect with the incredible trail system in and around Northampton, MA.

To find out more about this history making news, please click here to read about it in today's Hartford Courant. And, join us tomorrow to hear some details from the "horses mouth" (that would be Andy Carrier, the consultant mentioned in the Courant article). Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Commissioner Esty bikes and speaks

Our Town

Cyclists parade through downtown to promote trail



About 30 bike riders joined Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty in a 56-mile ride from New Haven to Southwick, Mass., two Saturdays ago, to promote the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. “This is a great day to highlight the partnerships between government and town,” Esty said outside of Plainville’s Municipal Center where the riders stopped for a quick break in their journey. Mark Swanson, a member of Plainville’s Bicycle Friendly Committee, said he was happy to see the ridehappening. “It is exciting and nice to see the trail getting support from the state level,” Swanson said before joining the other riders. “This has been taking years and years” to complete. The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway, which runs from Florida to Maine. However, there are gaps along the way. In Connecticut, the biggest gap is between Southington and Farmington, in Plainville. “We no longer want to be known as ‘the gap’,” Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese said to the bike riders who cheered.

Earlier this year, Plainville’s Town Council voted to pursue a grant that would help fund the construction of a multi-use trail through Norton Park. The grant is sponsored by the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection through the Recreation Trails Department. If the grant were approved, it would cover 80 percent of the cost of the project in Plainville, which is being estimated at $406,000. The remaining 20 percent would have to be paid for by the town,. However Plainville can put “in-kind services” such as design and construction administration as credits towards the project, which would go towards the town’s remaining 20 percent share. That share is being estimated at about $50,000.

The whole point of the ride was to raise awareness about the gaps along the trail, and signify how important it is to have this line of transportation.

Steve Mitchell of Mitchell Auto Group, which sponsored the ride, is an avid bike rider and was involved in an accident when he was riding his bike and was hit by a car.

“It is not good to have cars and bikes on the same piece of pavement,” Mitchell said. “This is the right thing for our future.”

The gaps in the trail are there because the properties are currently owned by Pan-Am Railway, who hasn’t been willing to negotiate a price with the state. There are also some railroad tracks along the way that are still active.

Bruce Donald, president of the Farmington Valley Trails Council, said having the political support from state and town officials is a positive for the trail and allows the issue to become more high-profiled.

“To do and see this for the first time is a big help,” Donald said about the ride, adding that this is the 21st year of building and trying to complete the trail. Not only is having the trail safer for bike commuters, but Esty also said it promotes healthy lifestyles and will help economic development. “This is recreation and an economic resource (that will bring people into the state, and into other towns).” Throughout the ride from New Haven to Plainville, Esty said there were hundreds of people along the way utilizing the trails in each town. 

Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.


Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty joined 30 other bike riders during last week’s ride from New Haven to Massachusetts, and made a pitstop in Plainville.

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