Connecticut’s Farmington Canal Trail: One last major gap

There’s been big progress on Connecticut’s Farmington trail since I biked it in 2016.

farmington canal signI’ve been touting Connecticut’s Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, which bifurcates the states as it heads north from New Haven and ends in Massachusetts, as a 5-star trail ever since I biked it in 2016.

Now it’s even better because all the construction projects I saw two years ago have been completed. Only one sizeable gap remains — the 5-mile “Plainville Gap” up to Southington. While the state has approved funding for the project, the gap likely won’t be closed until at least 2023. You can cope by using roads and sidewalks, but of course that’s not quite the same thing.

This gives a sense of just how popular parts of the Farmington trail are.

Here’s some more progress made this year: an 0.8-mile stretch opened earlier this year in Cheshire, creating a 24-mile stretch of trail from New Haven. This is a piece that in 2016 wasn’t even under construction; we had to detour a block to take a parallel road.

And in New Haven, the city is acquiring land that will extend the trail there to the Long Wharf pier, the trail’s official southern end point. We got to the waterfront in 2016 using roads.

And if you want to bike north of Plainville? You can go straight north — a good 22 miles each way — or build in a loop, using the 16-mile Farmington River Trail.

Once the trail hits the Massachusetts line, it becomes the 6.5-mile Southwick Rail Trail, which I only rode a small part of, and then the 2.4-mile Columbia Greenway Rail-Trail (including a new bridge) into Westfield, a trail I have not ridden. Amazingly, it’s just another 10 or so miles to another 10 miles or so of trail — close that gap! But I digress.

All the remaining projects on the Farmington trail are also on the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile route connecting cities from the Canadian border in eastern Maine to Key West in Florida. The Greenway, which uses the Simsbury-to-New Haven section of the Farmington trail, is about one-third on off-road trails/multi-use path. Another good chunk is on quiet roads and roads with bike lanes. The rest, well, could use some help.


Author: alliumstozinnias

A gardener (along with the Brit) who has discovered there is more than hybrid tomatoes. And a cyclist.

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