The Quinebaug River Trail* in the Danielson borough of Killingly, Connecticut is a well-maintained, 9ft. wide asphalt bike path that mostly parallels the Quinebaug River. It extends southward for approximately five miles, all the way to the Plainfield town line. From a certain standpoint, the path is a complete and a total success. While town planners might see their obligation to the trail as done, there is plenty to improve. This article’s criticism is in the spirit of addressing the longterm needs of this local prize.
The Quinebaug River Trail’s most commonly used parking lot, located on a curve, on a stretch of Route 12, near Route 6 and the Interstate off-ramp, is dangerous to enter and exit. Signs clearly remind you of a VERY DANGEROUS intersection, and it takes a good amount of time to be able to safely leave. Other lots exist, but this is the only one that puts you right on the trail without having to cross one of the busy roads mentioned above. Safer pedestrian crossings are necessary for those locations. Killingly may even want to reconsider this parking lot’s role as a trailhead/hub.
While this parking location is attached to youth baseball fields, they are dilapidated and adjacent to a waste water treatment plant. You must drive the entire length of the plant in order to reach the trail. Once at the parking lot, you face a chain-link fence and barbed wire, which surrounds an abandoned industrial operation next-door. It would be a coup for the trail if that land were to become available and remediated. My hope is that with completion of new ballfields just a mile away, that Killingly has something better in mind for this spot—at the very least, a safer entrance.
Currently the southern trail abruptly ends, blocked off and diverting into a private (or semi-private?) cul-de-sac in the town of Plainfield. From Google Maps, a footpath is clearly seen continuing along the Quinebaug, but no trail construction is apparent. It would seem that any further trail construction is in the hands of the town of Plainfield. I intend to follow up on this matter with the town. On all of their maps, the East Coast Greenway Association shows a connection to both of these areas as ‘under development’. No timetable or project information is available.
If the trail were to be extended, two miles south of the cul-de-sac trailhead is the village of Wauregan, and another two miles downriver is the larger village, Moosup (both are villages of Plainfield). Someday, the Quinebaug River Trail could provide a safe and convenient bicycle route connecting these places to Danielson. If trail spurs are within budget, Quinebaug Lake is ¼ mile away, and Old Furnace State Park lies just beyond that. Hopefully those connectivity considerations are not an oversight.
Do bike paths connect to destinations where you live? Would you bike more if they did? What recent bike improvements have been made where you live? Share your city's stories in the comments below.
*This post discusses the "Southern Trail."
Credits: Images by Dan Malo. Data linked to sources.