Momentum building in Connecticut thanks to leadership at the top

greenway connecticut

Despite being smaller than most East Coast Greenway states, Connecticut has one of the longest stretches of the route at 200 miles. And for a long time, an overwhelming majority of those miles were on-road. After the tenacious drumbeat of top-notch advocates such as former Trustees Bill O’Neill and Steve Mitchell came visionary state leaders, Governor Dannel Malloy and his Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. They took office in early 2011 and rolled up their sleeves.

"Connecticut has quickly become a model Greenway state worthy of national recognition," says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, East Coast Greenway Alliance executive director. "The state's leadership deserves great praise for their visionary investments. I just hope their hotels and restaurants are ready for the tourists who are going to flock to experience the Nutmeg State by Greenway!"

“Malloy gets it,” as Bruce Donald, Tri-State Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance, recently told Connecticut Mirror reporter Tom Condon. Connecticut’s section of the East Coast Greenway is 43 percent completed and is a focus of the Department of Transportation’s funding efforts.

Walkers on the Air Line State Park Trail in central Connecticut

Recent progress includes:

  • The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The 55-mile Connecticut portion of an 84-mile trail from New Haven to Northampton, Mass., is nearing completion.
  • The Air Line State Park Trail. One small gap remains in what will be a 50-mile trail through 11 towns in Eastern Connecticut.
  • The Naugatuck River Greenway. Work has begun on this 44-mile trail which follows the Naugatuck River from Torrington to Derby.

In early 2012 the state's Department of Transportation got on board in a big way, establishing a goal of developing “a more robust and complete multi-use trail network to complement the vehicular roadway system in Connecticut,” as Condon reported. Since then the department has committed $10-$20 million a year in state and federal funds to trails, with a focus on the East Coast Greenway. 

Donald says trail planners have learned to maximize the investment by considering the right materials and partnerships. And local officials are seeing the surging popularity of greenways. In 2015, electronic counters on the Farmington Canal trail tallied over 600,000+ passersby.

Together, let's grow the Greenway

Recent record-setting funding for design and construction goes directly to building the East Coast Greenway - as it should. The East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment. Invest today and support the growth of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.