Town to Waveny Walkers: Use the New Footpaths, Not the Road

Frustration with pedestrians who walk in the main road through Waveny—rather than on new pathways specifically created for them—is quickly turning into action, parks officials say.

A road-walker in Waveny. Credit: Charlie Hobbs

According to Recreation Director Stephen Benko, despite the recent additions of three brand-new pedestrian paths that hug the roadway, many who come to the park to jog, walk their dogs or push baby strollers favor the roadway that’s meant for cars, raising traffic and safety concerns.

“Unfortunately, we might have to put up a ‘No Pedestrians’ ” sign,” Benko said of the rising problem.

He said that visitors may be walking in the road because of the seasonal dryness of the pathways—a problem that will soon be addressed. The Department of Public Works is currently contracted to lay down a .25-inch layer of stone.

A road-walker in Waveny. Credit: Charlie Hobbs

Regardless, Benko said he expects that the old habit will die hard, adding “I think people just like walking in the road.”

The comments are coming as town officials approve a $41,342 contract to carve out a new pedestrian path from the West Parking Lot to the park’s Lapham Road entrance—a popular route already for those who visit the park. Members of the Board of Selectmen—First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams—approved measure unanimously at their June 20 meeting.

A road-walker in Waveny. Credit: Charlie Hobbs

The new pathway is needed, according to DPW Director Tiger Mann, because it is one of the few remaining areas in the park that lacks a complete trail.

“In that area, people walk in the road rather than on the grass,” Public Works intern Christopher Harte said at the selectmen’s meeting in Town Hall, explaining that this only adds to traffic concerns.

A proper path would improve pedestrian safety and ease the flow of traffic. The path will be constructed using material consistent with the newer paths built under the Waveny Park Conservancy’s design. The town of New Canaan, however, will fund the project.

4 thoughts on “Town to Waveny Walkers: Use the New Footpaths, Not the Road

  1. “I think people just like walking in the road.”

    Um, no. There is no clear trail or walking path maps for someone to follow, and the paths on the Lapham road side are sitting half finished.

  2. The rock pieces on some of the paths are too big. I have almost turned an ankle several times trying to walk on those paths. Impossible to push a stroller and the dog dislikes them. Smaller gravel would be much more comfortable. Also, there are spots on the Waveny path parallel to the Merritt on ramp that are bare with no gravel at all and when muddy are very slippery and dangerous.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly that pedestrians on the driveways (hmm wonder why they’re called driveways in the first place?) are an annoyance.

    My bigger concern is why spend all these tax dollars paving (alright, so it’s not asphalt but the net effect is the same, a wholly unforgiving surface) paradise? If runners/walkers are interested in doing their thing on a prepared surface, certainly there are miles of other sidewalks in town that can satisfy them.

    What is the point of going for a walk in the woods if you’re effectively on a sidewalk? I used to enjoy the trails covered in leaves and branches. And even the tree roots attempting to trip me helped to focus both mind and body on the “hiking” experience.

    Perhaps the prepared surfaces are meant to be safer for those tuned into their music instead of their surroundings, I don’t know. What i do know is that the main reason I enjoyed walking the trails at Waveny was that it was easier on my arthritic knees. Not so much anymore.

  4. Why do we really care about this? Yes, people will use both, some prefer the solid surface, some prefer the path. Cars are going 15mph in the park anyway. Seems there are bigger issues in town to think about.

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