Linear trail, food truck hub, planned for Research Parkway in Meriden

MERIDEN — A paved linear trail with parking spaces for food trucks could make Research Parkway a destination for cyclists and walkers.

Members of the City Council Public Works and Parks & Recreation Committee recently discussed plans to build a two-mile paved linear trail along Research Parkway, which is home to various commercial properties, including professional offices and industrial businesses.

The adjacent Pomeroy Avenue also features a hotel and luxury apartments.

The trail project is designed to include parking spaces with electrical connections compatible with food trucks — which could make the area a destination spot for Research Parkway employees, local residents and visitors.

Members of the committee showed unanimous support for the project, which could be completed by October 2022.

During the June meeting, a resolution was presented by Sonya Jelks, chair of the committee and city councilor, saying the project will be partially funded by the state Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives program. The anticipated cost of the project is $2,180,000. The state is responsible for 80 percent of the total cost of the project and the city for 20 percent or $436,000. 

Construction of the trail could start in the spring, according to Public Works Director Howard Weissberg.

While a concrete sidewalk exists in parts of Research Parkway, “there is significant right of way left over,” Weissberg said. 

The proposed trail would be along Research Parkway from East Main Street to the Wallingford town line.

Weissberg said in the future, the trail could link up to Route 68 in Wallingford if that’s something officials in the neighboring town choose to do.

Meanwhile, Meriden has to focus on selecting companies for the design and construction of the trail, Weissberg said.

Weissberg said the trail would help connect businesses along Research Parkway to commercial properties on East Main Street. He said the project is also desirable because it could bring more economic development opportunities to the city.

Bob Williams Jr., city councilor and member of the committee, said he supports the project.

“At this point and time with the information I know, I feel pretty comfortable about it,” he said. 

Joseph Feest, economic development director, noted Research Parkway is wide, providing an opportunity for expansion. With the trail, employees of nearby businesses will be able to go outside and walk. He’s also excited about the possibility of food trucks in the area.

“Now not only can you exercise, you can get your lunch and then work your lunch off on your walk back to the office,” he said.

Tim Coon, city manager, said anytime city officials can provide “safe and useful” facilities that provide connectivity for residents, they take advantage of that. He stressed the proposed area for the trail is in a “good location” that connects to various “important” portions of the city. 

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