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The formal opening of the Clinton portion of the Shoreline Greenway Trail is on the horizon as the Bike and Pedestrian Alliance of Clinton (BPAC) sets the final steps of the project in motion.
The Shoreline Greenway Trail is envisioned to connect the shoreline from Madison to New Haven with a dedicated, paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists. In 2016, a group of Clinton citizens proposed adding a trail in Clinton, though using existing roadways rather than a standalone trail.
The Clinton path will wind through the downtown and town historic areas. The trail will also feature a “blue way” that will link the bike path with kayak rental locations in the marina area, allowing visitors to explore the town’s shoreline.
“We’ve been very lucky in this town. It came together very quickly in this town,” BPAC member Carrie Allen said.
Allen said that the last steps that need to be taken involve tinkering with the route the path will take behind town hall and waiting on some signage to be delivered. The signage will include directional arrows to point riders in the correct direction, but Allen said the signs won’t overwhelm the trail. Allen credited Police Chief Vincent DeMaio and Department of Public Works employee Bob Voss for being especially helpful with their input on helping tweak the trail.
Allen said she anticipates holding an opening event in conjuncture with the group Families Helping Families that would take place sometime in June.
“I can’t tell you a particular date; I can tell you after school ends. It makes sense—the weather is nicer,” Allen said.
Tentative plans for the event include a lesson on bike safety and etiquette as well as bike decorating, and perhaps a bike giveaway.
While efforts to make the trail a reality in other towns along the shoreline have had mixed results. BPAC was asked by the Clinton Board of Selectmen to begin seriously exploring the idea for the trail in early 2017, and the board approved the plan at a meeting in 2018.
The announcement of the opening of the trail could lead to future recreation opportunities in Clinton. In the past Allen has said she has hoped that the trail will be used for events such as triathlons and 5K races.
“The bike and walking trail connects to the blue trail, which involves five points for paddling opportunities, whether it be the town beach, the boat ramp behind Town Hall, the town dock, [or] the Indian River rental,” said Allen, who also noted that there are locations to rent paddle boards and boats in the area the trail runs through.
“For a town interested in transit-oriented development, I think this is a gift,” she said. “All my friends drive to Hammonasset to walk. I wish they’d stay in Clinton.”
The trail was not funded by taxpayers, and money for the signs was raised through donations. As part of an eagle scout project, Allen said a kiosk will be constructed at the town beach which BPAC could place trail maps and information inside of, as well as a repair station with tools which would be secured with wire.
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