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Zoning Commission Approves Plan to Extend Bike Path

Konover Development Corp. will foot the bill for multi-use path.

In a unanimous vote, the Canton Zoning Commission approved an amendment to the plans to install a sidewalk on Lawton Road. The sidewalk, part of a development project that revolves around a new CVS store on the corner of Lawton and Route 44, will now be modified to include a bike path.

Konover Development Corp. has offered to include a multi-use path at no cost to Canton residents.  This bicycle-acessible path will extend the existing Farmington River Rail Trail about 400 feet. 

"We're willing to accomodate it," said Stan Glantz, Konover's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer last week.

The approved the idea at their July 11 meeting by a vote of 4-1.

Town Planner Neil Pade spoke to the commission in detail about the plan on Wednesday evening. "This is the last segment of the Farmington River Rail Trail," he said. "There are a lot of challenges trying to connect this last piece to make it a unique, 28-mile loop."

The selectmen had expressed concern over how bicyclists would cross Route 44 safely. Pade came to the commission prepared to show that four crosswalks could be installed on Route 44, Lovely Street and Lawton Road so that cyclists would be safe to cross.  "Push a button and all the traffic stops," said Pade.

Having dealt with that issue, Pade addressed the second concern on the commission's mind: landscaping.  With the addition of the multi-use path, which increases the width of the path by three feet or more, some landscaping  would have to be eliminated.  Pade said that 82 plants, in fact, would have to be removed, leaving the plan with still well over 1,200 new landscaping items. 

"I really think it's a masterpiece," said Pade. "It's a really well thought out landscaping design."

When the time came for the public to speak, everyone was in support of the change and the wisdom behind accepting a free offer like this one from Konover. "We've been behind this project from day one," said Kevin Jackson, chairman of the Economic Development Agency. "We see nothing but up-side."

"This brings us one pedal stop closer to connecting Canton with the bicycle-friendly town of Simsbury," said Jan Tanner from Benidorm Bikes.

Commission Chair pressed Pade to tell him how long Canton would have to wait to complete the trail if the town did not take this offer. "I don't expect it would happen in the next five years," said Pade.

Jackson said discussions are still being conducted with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to see if the trail could be extended onto their property at a later date. He and others would also like to see The Shoppes offer a parking site for cyclists.

Weatogue Willy July 19, 2012 at 10:51 AM
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Gone are five acres of wildlife habitat for an unneeded drug store and only a few hundred feet of bike path. Yup, it is a good beginning for the loop, no question but now there is going to be more traffic , noise, and pollution there. It that a good deal ?
Wyatt July 19, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Wildlife habitat? I'm all for open space and an active donor to many open space organizations, but the lot where the CVS is going up is not valuable wildlife habitat. When looking at property to determine its value as wildlife habitat, you look at many factors, none of which were present at that site. In fact, it was probably one of the most appropriate sites for development in all of Canton.
SteveS July 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Just great, another delay and longer lights on 44. Does the bike bath really have to cross a major commuter highway?
Thomas July 19, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Agreed! Maybe Konover would put up a foot bridge over 44?
Chris McCahill July 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Steve, Unfortunately for everyone, the trail does have to cross there. On the bright side, the trail system adds value to the community, as opposed to large roads, which simply move people through the community at high speeds. You might appreciate this perspective... http://www.pps.org/how-walking-and-biking-add-value-to-your-community-and-change-the-system-an-interview-with-john-norquist/
SteveS July 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Chris, I get it, and I am not against the trails. I do use the trials, but I find myself going to the area off of Thompson road in Avon or up to Simsbury for access. I don't like the new trail in Canton/Collinsville because of where and how it crosses the road even though this is the closest access point to my house. I am also probably like 90% of the people who use these trails are just in it for a nice place for a causal family walk or bike ride, not a 10 mile trek across the state. Do we really need miles and miles of connected trails/
Wyatt July 19, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Steve, I think the popularity of the trails in Canton/Collinsville (they are always PACKED when I'm using them) suggests that Canton certainly could use more paved trails - it is apparently what the people want. Talking to people in town, especially young families, and the bike trails are always on the top of the list of what they like about Canton. Simply because you personally don't like the new trail, and prefer other trails instead, is not a reason to limit trail options for everyone in town. Chris - Thanks for the great link.
Weatogue Willy July 19, 2012 at 09:24 PM
As we continue to lose open space, certain parcels become isolated and therefore prime targets for development . As such you accept the mentality of having a best place for a CVS . That piece of land doesn't meet the criteria as a good spot for even a lowly June bug . Pave it !!! Unfortunately the squirrels , rabbits , birds , and trees cannot be represented here . They must depend on the wisdom that we have .
Wyatt July 19, 2012 at 09:26 PM
I guess you can take the approach of being 100% development. However, I do not find that to be practical, reasonable or realistic. In the real world, development happens and it is important to place development in the most appropriate spots - even if it means moving a rabbit.
N. Jon I. Twist July 19, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I get it Steve S is going to donate a trail bridge over Route 44, so he will not have to wait for someone to cross Route 44. He is always in sutch a bigg hurry, bnecause he stated out late. I fell so sorry sor him, maybe he should move to Avon, then he wouldn't have to wait for the trail users in Canton
Weatogue Willy July 19, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Development is good especially where it is needed like in undeveloped countries and not in Canton , CT. Save something for your children to see in Canton besides a CVS . " Mommy what is a June bug ? " Some of us are outside every day on our bikes or in our kayaks . Giving money to the open space organizations doesn't impact what the few of see daily. It might reconcile matters with your conscience , but it it is not a matter of the heart !
Andrew Ziemba July 24, 2012 at 02:20 AM
I love the trails, but for Christ sake, with all the money they are spending on it, I wish they would figure out an intelligent way to deal with those atrocious tree roots. The part along the river going away from Collinsville is like off roading with no shocks!
Andrew Ziemba July 24, 2012 at 02:36 AM
People still think that when big places like CVS come into town that it will lower the taxes on the tax payers. I don't know how anyone still falls for this big, fat, old lie. I wish people in Canton could respect the incredible history that this town holds in Connecticut, and for our country. I am surprised that more people don't care. Well, actually I shouldn't be. After all, just look at all the drug addicts who can't live without CVS. I can't believe that the Collinsville axe factory hasn't been torn down yet. I thought perhaps they could just put a water park in there. Oops, the cat is out of the bag now.
Steven english July 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Hey Andrew put down the crack pipe!! "I wish people in Canton could respect the incredible history that this town holds in Connecticut" "I can't believe that the Collinsville axe factory hasn't been torn down yet. I thought perhaps they could just put a water park in there"

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