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Connecticut Towns Nix Highway for Greenway

10:41 AM EDT on September 26, 2012

This is probably the best news ever in history, or at least close.

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According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Connecticut towns of Norwalk and Danbury are building a greenway, which will also serve as an important commuter connection. But the best part is that the greenway is seen, in part, as an alternative to an expensive highway project that was rejected by locals and the state of Connecticut.

Jake Lynch at Rails to Trails has this report:

According to newstimes.com of Danbury, the concept of a Norwalk River Valley Trail was launched years ago when the Connecticut Department of Transportation admitted it would never build a proposed limited-access four-lane highway between the two communities -- a project opposed by locals for its nine-figure price tag. When the question arose of what might be done with the right-of-way the DOT acquired to build the road, the idea of a greenway, rather than a highway, got started.

In addition to providing a critical active transportation link between schools, offices and homes in this growing region, the Norwalk River Valley Trail would also connect to a number commuter train stations.

Now the hard task of funding and constructing the trail begins. The good news, however, is that the communities involved understand the trail would be much more than a pleasant place of recreation.

"You could take a train to work, then use a bike to get home," local trail planner Pat Sesto told newstimes.com. "We're quite serious about this."

This sounds like a public health and a transportation project rolled into one. Will other communities follow suit?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Cascade Bicycle Club reports Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has put together a budget proposal that really prioritizes cycling. Xing Columbus notes that one Ohio community seems to require sidewalks through parking lots, and while it's not the ideal pedestrian environment, it does represent an improvement over normal suburban retail development. And Cyclelicio.us looks at how individual California counties are performing on bike commuting mode share.

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