Category Archives: Quinebaug Valley

Killingly Commons, 50 Years Ago

Aerial survey of the Killingly Commons area, 1965
(pre-madness)
Current: Google Maps (Dayville, CT)

392238_10150419253748176_721861342_n

Intersection of Route 101 and unfinished 395, Dayville, CT

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LTE: Brooklyn & Killingly’s Obvious Needs

A letter to the editor (Norwich Bulletin)
In response to:
“Leaders say Brooklyn town study flawed” (August 24, 2013)

Brooklyn and Killingly have their share of “Suicide 6,” made more dangerous with every new traffic light, curb cut, and ‘stacked’ car. We have abandoned and partially deconstructed mills, while pallets of new bricks sit waiting for some new project (whatever it may be). We have historic family housing and a day care facility in East Brooklyn, vacant despite demand.

IMG_20121119_150142

Quinebaug Mill – Quebec Square “Historic District”

Our Quinebaug River Trail connects to nothing, and our best natural features are under overpasses or behind barbwire. We have costly, sports themed education facilities with no sidewalk approaches and our awkwardly placed goods and services force us to stare at a lack of cross traffic, seemingly in order for traffic to queue.

These observations didn’t require a study, multiple salaries, or a bureaucratic pipeline. They are apparent, obvious issues; in need of attention and vision. This multi-generational, irrational use of space has created a public nuisance on items once seen as public good. ‘Economic Development’ must abandon the notion that a new big box, liquor, or dollar store will fix our problems—rather, all it does is stack them up while ignoring the most pressing issues.

Daniel Malo – P&Z (Alternate), Town of Canterbury

Good read: Forbes – Do We Really Need 40,000 Dollar Stores?

*I think this LTE made me lose out on a couple jobs (watch who/how you criticize)

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The Unfinished Quinebaug River Trail

Originally published at Global Site PlansQuinebaug River Trail through trees in the fall, Danielson, Connecticut

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.

Route 12 Quinebaug River Trailhead, Danielson, Connecticut

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.

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Historic Aerials: Main St. Over the Quinebaug, Danielson

1934

Danielson, Connecticut and Quebec Square
google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/eNmJ6
UCONN – Historical Aerial Photographs
http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/1934.html

1952

1970

1995

2014

And again, if you’d like to play with the maps:
Danielson, Connecticut and Quebec Square
google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/eNmJ6
UCONN – Historical Aerial Photographs
http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/1934.html

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This River Needs A Footbridge

The Quinebaug River, Danielson, Connecticut.
Related post: Historic Aerials: Main St. Over the Quinebaug, Danielson

The Route 6/Route 12 interchange I hope to...change.

The Route 6/Route 12 interchange I hope to…change.

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Eastern Connecticut’s Scenic Byway

Originally published at Global Site Plans

Route 169; Canterbury, Connecticut.  Fall trees line paved road.

The Route 169 National Scenic Byway is located in Eastern Connecticut in the Quinebaug River Valley, and features farms, orchards, and historic inns & homes along its entire length. The right-of-way has been in use since the 1600’s and the colonial houses, old churches, pastures, and stone walls lining the road take you back in time. The rural nature of the route also makes it one of the best New England Fall foliage drives and there is local concern for “Protecting the character of Route 169.”

Starting in the town of Lisbon, Connecticut, the route travels north-south for thirty-two miles through five towns, ending at the Massachusetts border.

The scenic byway begins without a sign, by taking Exit 83A off of 395 Eastbound. The westbound side of the interstate does not service Route 169. The exit deposits you anonymously at 169, however the beat up signs and highway exit litter do not point out the direction of the scenic route. Take a left.  The first sign announcing it is a third of a mile north of the exit. The region could do well to advertise the presence of this scenic route from the interstate.

First Northbound Sign in Lisbon, Connecticut.  Blue sign reads "Scenic Road Next 32 MI." Fall trees line the road.

Route 169 intersects major east-west Routes 14, 6, and 44. The intersections are typically flashing four-way stops, usually the only automated traffic control in any of the towns. The intersection of Route 6 is the sole exception. Near these intersections, signs designate a “Wine Trail;” In the northern towns of Pomfret and Woodstock, cafes and restaurants can be found adjacent to 169.

It’s a road where you can take your time and catch the view while you drive. Occasionally, you’ll pass a classic car show, or an ice cream stand. Unfortunately, there are very few safe spots to pull over. You may encounter a local tail-gaiter in a hurry to get somewhere, or, during the harvest season, you could be stuck behind a tractor. Fortunately, there are clearly marked passing zones.

Route 169 & Route 6 Intersection; Brooklyn, Connecticut

As I have grown up, I’ve seen orchard and farm space disappear, and warehouses and McMansions spring up along Route 169, many of which have a “for sale” sign in front. Perhaps there isn’t a demand for these “out of character” types of land uses along this route.

A nuisance neighbor who decides on a four car garage can rile up a neighborhood every so often, and along the route, there is an occasional junk yard. A rusted bus or two can also be spotted, but they provide character. Garish raised-ranches on what was obviously once a cornfield can make jarring counterpoints to the beauty of the route, but the semi-frequent abandoned and falling barn blends in, without disruption, a pleasant aesthetic fit.

The biggest disruption to the route’s character has to be public road signs and roadside trash upkeep. It seems that only one out of ten signs stands upright, wherein they give the appearance of being litter. Could the signs be mounted to telephone poles? It would certainly make the drive safer and more scenic by removing roadside obstacles. While the towns along Route 169 have ordinances relating to commercial signs, state road safety signs are beyond the town’s purview.

Being a state road, the Connecticut Department of Transportation or the state legislature should revisit rural road sign policies to assist the local preservation effort.

How does state or federal policy impact the character of where you live?

Credits: Images by Dan Malo.  Data linked to sources.

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