During the first of two Special Meetings of the ad hoc Old Saybrook Bikeways Committee on Thursday evening, members of the public listed problem areas of which they were aware that cause hazards and impact the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on town roads.
About 20 residents turned out for the meeting, which was chaired by Kathy Connolly, who gave a short presentation on the history of the committee before seeking input from the members of the public on specific cycling and pedestrian hazards they had encountered on and around the roadways of Old Saybrook.
The Bikeways Committee, which was formed in September 2008 by the Old Saybrook Board of Selectmen, is developing a list of recommended infrastructure changes and other investments that will require funding from the 2011-12 budget, which it will then take to the board of selectmen later in the year.
Committee member Julie D’Ambrosio described a survey she is conducting with members of Girl Scout troops to collect traffic, pedestrian and cyclist data at the middle school as part of the “Safe Routes to School” project. Connolly hopes that funding for infrastructure improvements may be available through a grant from the program. The Town of Essex has already received a $400,000 grant for physical improvements and Clinton is reportedly working on a similar grant application.
Several members of the public provided personal examples of dangerous situations they had experienced while cycling locally. One of the most hazardous areas identified was The Causeway between Saybrook Point and Fenwick, which several residents reported as being particularly dangerous for cyclists.
Great Hammock Road, Elm Street under the Amtrak bridge, and Route 1 over the railway bridge between CVS and Pat’s Kountry Kitchen were also identified as areas of concern. Proposed solutions included widening roadways where possible, changing road markings and reducing speed limits.
Connolly noted all comments and will incorporate them into her recommendations to the board of selectmen.
A second special public meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Town Hall.