Public input sought on trail study survey

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

The Capital Region Council of Governments is seeking public input through a survey to determine where multi-use trails in Plainville, Southington, and New Britain will be located and what they will look like.

Available in English, Polish, and Spanish, the 16-question survey can be found at www.gapclosurestudy.com/. CRCOG is studying several possible routes to connect the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail with Plainville, Southington, and New Britain and the CTfastrak station by way of a world-class multi-use trail network.

The survey will help the study team better understand whether people in the area bike or walk, the primary reason for biking or walking, where they are going, and how they are getting there.

Tim Malone, principal planner at CRCOG, said the survey has been well received by the public so far with a few hundred respondents to date.

“[The survey] is really going to help us figure out what the future trails should look like and where they should be,” said Malone, adding the survey results will give a better understand of the public’s expectations. “It’s going to help us get a baseline of what people use the trails for, what they like about them, what they don’t like about them.”

Known as one of the most historic greenways in New England, the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is an 84-mile multi-use trail that stretches from New Haven to Northampton, Mass. Although most of the trail is complete or in the process of being designed, a significant gap exists in Plainville and Southington. Conducted by CRCOG, study also will determine a corridor for closing that gap.

“We want this to be driven by the communities,” said Malone. “We really want to have this fits the needs of the communities, so it’s really important we get as information from them as possible.”

The survey is just one way in which the study team has reached out to the greater community, as the first public information meeting and focus groups kicked off in July. CRCOG has also partnered with consultant VHB, along with firms Mobycon and Bluezones for the project.

Other stakeholders include the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), the town of Plainville, the town of Southington, the city of New Britain, and the Plainville Greenway Alliance.

In October, community engagement in the study will continue with collaborative workshops in Plainville and New Britain.

Malone said some of the survey results will be shared during those workshops. The workshop for Plainville is scheduled on Oct. 3 from 5  to 8 p.m. at the library.

“We’re going to be asking people…to start identifying where they think the trail should go, where they tend to access the trail from if they currently use trails, where they live,” said Malone. “We’ll start to look at some potential alignments, potential routes of the tail to take.”