The Shelton Trails Committee is asking city officials to consider putting in a crosswalk and a sidewalk to make it safer for people using the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path at Lane Street.
Committee member Terrance Gallagher told a Board of Aldermen committee that some kind of a crossing to get across Huntington and Church streets — close to the Huntington Fire Company building — would make it safer for people who park at the Shelton Community Center when using the path.
Gallagher also said extending a sidewalk on Lane Street to reach the rec path would provide additional safety.
There is only legal parking for a few cars on Lane Street, a dead-end road off Huntington Street where the trailhead — or, one end of the path — is located. This means many people using the path have to park closer to the Huntington Green, such as at the community center or nearby businesses, when using the trail.
A crosswalk could perhaps go across Huntington and Church streets near where the traffic island is located, adjacent to the Huntington firehouse.
People driving fast
Alderman John C. Papa agreed that crossing the road in that area is dangerous, especially for families with young children. “That’s suicide alleyway,” Papa said of how people drive in that vicinity.
Papa asked whether a painted crosswalk or a crosswalk with brick pavers — to make it more noticeable to drivers — would be best. He said using pavers would add to the cost but perhaps be more effective with drivers.
He said visible signage would be important as well. Papa suggested getting the Police Department and city engineer involved in the process.
Gallagher said whatever is done to create a crosswalk, it should be built so it doesn’t negatively impact municipal snowplowing operations in the winter.
In addition, Gallagher said better aprons between existing sidewalks and the roads should be put in to improve handicapped access in the area.
Lane Street sidewalk
Gallagher said building a five-foot-wide concrete sidewalk on Lane Street would be ideal. Now, a sidewalk goes from Huntington Street to the other side of a small bridge and then ends.
The Lane Street bridge over the Far Mill River may be replaced in the near future. If that happens, it’s presumed the new bridge will include a pedestrian walkway like the current structure.
Alderman Jack Finn pointed out that Lane Street is covered by the scenic road ordinance and that some of the land needed for a sidewalk may belong to the cemetery association, depending on how far off the road the city right-of-way goes.
Finn said the sightlines for drivers pulling out of Lane Street are being impacted by overgrown shrubs and trees. “We have to address the vegetation,” he said.
‘More families are using it’
Gallagher said the rec path’s growing popularity means more people are walking to the Lane Street trailhead after parking their vehicles nearby. “More families are using it,” he said. “There’s more [bicycles].”
Gallagher also said the Huntington Street roadway from Lane Street to the Beechwood Market is less wide than other parts of that road, and this is a cause for concern when it comes to pedestrian safety.
Papa said the request from the Shelton Trails Committee would be forwarded to the Board of Aldermen’s Street Committee, headed by Alderman Eric McPherson, for potential action.