The City of New Britain has completed the first phase of the “Stanley Loop Trail,” which is a new multi-use trail at A.W. Stanley Park that will be extended to Stanley Quarter Park within the next two years—creating multiple miles of paved walking and cycling trails.
The City’s contractor, Tobacco & Sons, recently finished paving a 10-foot wide bituminous path over a portion of an existing multi-use trail loop that’s located on the eastern side of the 92.7-acre A.W. Stanley Park near Lower Pond. The 1.25 mile paved multi-use trail offers walkers, runners, and cyclists a new recreational amenity at one of the City’s parks. The site is located just north of some of the City’s most densely populated neighborhoods in New Britain and is close to Central Connecticut State University—home to more than 10,000 students.
An official ribbon cutting will be held on Friday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m.
“This path opens up new recreational opportunities for residents and visitors from surrounding communities,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “This trail network brings people closer to nature and affords residents a chance to be active right here in our City.”
“We know from ‘community health report cards’ that many of our students are falling short in reaching physical education standards and that our community has high rates of asthma and cardiovascular disease. A trail system like this could help in reversing these trends, if used frequently, and could improve the wellbeing of our residents,” Stewart said.
A connector trail was also added to connect Village Square Road to the park. This 200-foot long connector trail in the northeast portion of A.W. Park allows easy non-automotive access to the trail for residents who live in one of the hundreds of apartment units located in this area.
“The idea with this project is that even though we have been installing a lot of bike infrastructure around the City, there was a need for families to go and ride or access natural environments aside from Walnut Hill Park,” said Public Works Director Mark Moriarty. “I’d also like to acknowledge the Friends of A.W. Park for their input during this process and helping to improve the usability of the park that we can all continue to be proud of.”
Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Stanley Loop Trail projects are funded by grant awarded to the City after a competitive process, and the combined grant award to the City for the two projects is over $3.0 million.
The “Stanley Loop Trail” stems from the City’s Bike Connectivity Plan, which was developed in 2013 and has helped the City to earn a “bronze” level status as a Bike Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists. New Britain is one of only nine towns in the state to have received this status.
Future work will include bridging a connection to the western portion of the 124-acre A.W. Stanley Park and eventually to 138-acre Stanley Quarter Park, where a paved multi-use trail will also be added. This would allow riders to access bike lanes on Eddy Glover Boulevard and connect to other parts of the City, which has more than 30 miles of bike lanes and sharrows.
Funding for phase one of the project comes from the Connecticut Department of Environmental and Energy Protection Recreation Trails Grant ($94,000) and LoCIP funding ($270,000), along with an allocation from the City. Phase two of the project comes from a federal Transportation Alternatives grant in the amount of $1,438,246, which is administered through the Connecticut Department of Transportation.