Meriden has received a $400,000 state grant to extend the Hanover Pond Trail from behind Platt High School to Coe Avenue. It is a small project — just about 1,500 feet along Coe Avenue to connect to Bradley Avenue — but it is part of the city's larger “Linear Trail Master Plan,” which seeks to connect the city’s entire walking and biking trail system to encourage residents to walk or bike downtown.
“Eventually we would like all of our neighborhoods that have trails to be interconnected and lead to downtown,” Associate City Engineer Brian Ennis said.
This is not “free money,” of course; it is state taxpayer money. But enough money, time and effort has already been spent on the overall trail system that it makes sense to see it through. And even if the next major phase of the plan has to wait for a long time, closing this key 1,500-foot gap still makes sense.
This project, along with the proposal to extend the trail eastward along Harbor Brook to Cook Avenue, would presumably provide added safety for students walking to and from Platt High School and Lincoln Middle School, both of which border Coe Avenue.
In our book, improving safety for students — and for other pedestrians and bikers as well, while also encouraging more people to walk and bike in Meriden — make this idea a win-win-win.
Even this small trail section, when completed, is bound to enhance safety because the existing sidewalk along Coe is in bad shape and poses a hazard for students.
“It's a mess,” Ennis said of the sidewalk.
The trail extension will consist of an eight-foot-wide concrete sidewalk, with a bike lane on the road. Design work is complete, and construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the start of school.
The $400,000 grant was given as part of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Community Connectivity Grant Program, which promotes alternative transportation methods. The grant is expected to cover all project costs, according to City Manager Tim Coon.