FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield will add bike paths to the sides of one of its roads for the first time ever in the near future. Mill Plain Road will get the additions in early 2013.
The Department of Public Works will add lines, signs and bike stencils to both sides of Mill Plain Road between Unquowa Road and Brookside Drive. The work will be covered by a state grant through the Fairfield Health Department. Public Health Educator Sarah Levy said that the program qualifies as a program to cut down on cardiovascular disease, which made it eligible for the state health-care grant program.
The Bike-Walk Coalition has been working with the town to add more options for bicyclists and walkers. They chose Mill Plain Road as the first step in adding bike lanes because it connects the Fairfield Center area of the Post Road with a popular walking area along the Mill River on Brookside, said Andrew Graceffa, chair of the Fairfield Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Advisory Committee and president of the Fairfield Bike Walk Coalition.
Town Engineer Bill Hurley also said that Mill Plain was one of the easiest streets to add a bike lane in Fairfield. It is already wide enough to accommodate both cars and bikes, so the town won’t need to do any extra work beyond painting lines and putting up signs. Drivers will still be allowed to park on Mill Plain, Hurley said.
“Trying not to be controversial and eliminating parking, we decided to just do white shoulder lines,” Hurley said. “There will be no elimination of parking.”
The Representative Town Meeting agreed to accept $15,070 in state funding for the project at its meeting Monday night. Graceffa and the Fairfield Bike-Walk Coalition hope that the decision will be the first of many bike routes to come to Fairfield.
“[Our] plan stresses a cohesive approach through education, enforcement, encouragement and infrastructure,” Graceffa said. “[This] is just one piece of the infrastructure section.”