From a scenic and economic perspective, the RiverCOG is well suited to cycling, walking and hiking. There are many roads that are suitable for bike travel for families and recreational bicyclists. Some of these roads fully or partially link economic and population centers in the region.
With creative and innovative design and improvements to either on road, dedicated bike lanes and solutions for off road multi-use regional paths, there is considerable potential for increased use and connection. When these pathways follow routes that connect our village, town and city economic centers, transit routes, recreational trails, open space areas, job and education centers, there is terrific potential for a cohesive economic growth in the RiverCOG region.
Unlike many parts of New England, a sizable portion of the RiverCOG region is relatively flat and distances between towns are short; hence, the conditions are conducive to creating alternative pathways such as bicycle lanes, paths, and sidewalk connections. Many of the region’s largest employers are located close to population centers; thus, many employees could easily use a bicycle or walk to work. Approximately two-thirds of those who live within the region also work within the region.
Another vital factor in assessing the potential in our region is that current reliance on the car accounts for upwards of 90 percent of our transportation infrastructure. The private automobile is a costly generator of air pollution, road improvements for safety, road congestion, and unsustainable land use decisions. In a rural area such as the RiverCOG region, the bicycle for instance can play an important role in the transportation system. The RiverCOG region has many back roads and neighborhood streets with lower traffic volumes and speed that are potentially good bike routes. These roads are part of a grid that links into employment and commercial centers. Bike lanes on these roads with links to commuter lots, bus, rail, and village centers can support short trip access to work and shopping. Also, a system of inter-connected bike routes would improve bicycle travel throughout the region for recreation supporting the tourism industry.
The RiverMPO through staff support is at the initial stage of writing a comprehensive plan for bicycles, trails, and pedestrians. During the Fall of 2013 and Spring of 2014, the current regional bicycle- pedestrian subcommittee will be expanded in membership to help create the scope and vision for this plan. The basic structure will incorporate all aspects of the bicycle- pedestrian network. For instance, there are three types of bike routes in our region. They include:
In addition to the skill level of the bicyclist, other factors, which must be considered, are these different type of bicyclists. Look for more information on this page as the process unfolds. The region’s bicycle-pedestrian comprehensive plan will incorporate many of the recommendations found in the State Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan and individual town plans, such as those in Middletown and Old Saybrook (links below). The RiverMPO is also working on the Route 1 Corridor Plan which will incorporate innovative concepts for bicycles and pedestrians. For more information call Richard Grant or Janice Ehlemeyer at (860) 581-8554 or email at email@example.com.