At their next scheduled meeting in two weeks, the Board of Alders will vote on whether to allow Mayor Toni Harp to authorize easements extending the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway, a bike lane that cuts through private property on several streets throughout the city.
The Greenway, a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists, is estimated to be completed in the spring of 2017. The proposal under discussion would allow the city to further develop the public Greenway on privately owned land and extend the lane to the New Haven Harbor. It currently covers a route of approximately 84 miles from Connecticut to Massachusetts, including 18 miles that run through the Elm City.
The city has been attempting to negotiate the Greenway’s completion since 1999. The proposal for easements was originally brought before the board during its Jan. 28 meeting by Director of the City Plan Department Karyn Gilvarg. Previous attempts to complete the final portion of the Greenway, which will stretch from Hillhouse Avenue to the New Haven Harbor off Canal Dock Road, have up until this point been stymied by property owners, who were reluctant to give the city permission to build on their land.
“Hopefully this is the end of the process,” Gilvarg said of the negotiations. “We’ve been planning this for over a year.”
Seven easements in total will be under negotiation at the meeting. These would allow the Greenway to pass through property owned by the Creative Arts Workshop, the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, the Neighborhood Music School on Audubon Street, the Grove Street Garage and the Foundry Condominiums. The property owners will not charge the city for the easements.
New Haven Director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking Douglas Hausladen ’04 said that the process of negotiating with these properties one at a time significantly prolonged the process.
“I hope that they get this approved,” said New Haven resident Emily Ford. “It’s a beautiful route.”
In addition to passing through the aforementioned businesses, the canal trail currently cuts through Yale-owned land on Temple Street, Hillhouse Avenue and Prospect Street. Yale has already signed an easement for the public use of that land.
The project to complete the Greenway will be financed by federal funds, and the New Haven section of the Greenway will be monitored by both New Haven and Yale police.