The identification of safe places that bicyclists might use in North Haven is underway, following a meeting Friday where First Selectman Michael Freda, resident Deborah Mahon and Director of Public Works Lynn Sadosky were among the participants.
The meeting took place at North Haven Town Hall.
“It was excellent,” said North Haven resident Deborah Mahon, who arrived at the meeting with a petition now signed by more than 1,500 people.
Mahon had launched an online petition as part of her determination to see the Town delegate an area where residents can cycle safely following the death of 16-year-old Connor Kusmit, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding his bicycle Aug. 29.
Mahon said the town suggested that officials and residents explore the possibility of designating several areas where bike trails could be created, with the areas scattered throughout the town.
Among those suggested, according to Mahon, was Carina Park, which is at the intersection of South Avenue and Carina Road, as well as a park at the far end of Washington Avenue and others, such as one near the Hartford Turnpike.
“We had a wonderful first meeting,” said First Selectman Michael Freda.
He said that at a second meeting in three or four weeks Kerry Mattie, a landscape architect who serves on a committee Mahon has formed to work on the plan, would present site-specific sketches of what perhaps two parks would look like with bike trails.
Then, according to Freda, he or another official would visit residents who live near the parks to see how they would feel about the development of the bike trails, which would be dirt not cement, in areas close to their homes.
“This is different than a traditional skateboard park,” Freda said of the trails now under consideration. “There is a distinction."
Freda has also spoken with state Sen. Len Fasano. Both Fasano and State Rep. Dave Yaccarino, Freda said, have agreed to assist the town in pursuing any state funds that are available for bike trails.
“There’s a lot more to do here,” he said. He noted that the town budget was "really, really tight."
In addition to the development of safe places for cyclists as a way to pay homage to him, Connor Kusmit was honored last Saturday at a dinner at North Haven High School. There, according to Mahon, a bronze plaque donated by Hamden Monument was presented.
It will mark a cherry tree donated in part by Bell Nurseries that has
already found a place on the North Haven High School grounds.
“It’s so nice to see people do good things,” said Mahon, wincing, once again, at the thought of a young life unlived. “It really makes you feel good,” she said.