Since Cheshire’s linear trail debuted nearly 23 years ago it has become one of the most popular recreational sites in town with extensive use by the public year round.
Myself and my three children love walking the trail together as a way to get some exercise, do an activity together as a family and just plain be outside, enjoy nature and get some fresh air.
The vision of Cheshire officials and officials of Hamden and Southington to make it an impressive mega trail by connecting it from New Haven to Southington is a step closer to reality. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Saturday (July 9) at 9 a.m. at the Jarvis Street entrance to mark the opening of the recently completed 1.5-mile stretch of trail from West Main Street to Jarvis Street.
Several Cheshire dignitaries are expected to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony including Town Manager Michael Milone, Parks and Recreation Commission chairman Jim Nankin and members of the Parks and Recreation commission and Public Building Commission.
“We’re excited about opening this new part of the linear trail,” Cheshire Parks and Recreation director Bob Ceccolini said. “The linear trail has become one of the most popular parks in town.”
The West Main Street to Jarvis Street section is one of three final sections in Cheshire needed to be constructed to complete the linear trail between New Haven and Southington. The 2.5-mile section from Jarvis Street to Southington is under construction and Ceccolini said it is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The final 0.7-mile section between West Main Street to Cornwall Avenue is expected to be completed next year.
The final phase of the West Main Street to Jarvis Street project was installing a HAWK crossing light beacon in an effort to have walkers, joggers and bikers cross West Main Street safely. HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. The beacon stays blank until a pedestrian presses the button when a flashing yellow light comes on, then solid yellow and then solid red light for several seconds to allow the pedestrian to cross.
“The HAWK system addresses safety concerns for pedestrians crossing West Main Street to get to the linear trail,” Ceccolini said. “It’s the safest solution. People have to be wary of what they are doing when trying to cross the street, wary of the traffic and when they can safely cross. If they are with children they need to watch their kids and make sure they cross when it is safe. Motorists need to be aware of the pedestrians and be wary of the HAWK system when it is initiated by a pedestrian.”
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter at the New Haven Register for 36 years.