4. Capitalize on Opportunities
The City of Groton has some unique opportunities due to its:
- location within the region
- coastal amenities,
- excellent road access,
- available utility infrastructure,
- array of community facilities, and
- overall quality of life.
While two of these opportunities have already been mentioned (enhancing sense of place in the city, and encouraging and promoting economic development), there are others which will attract residents, businesses, and visitors and enhance the quality of life in the city:
- enhance pedestrian / bicycle transportation, and
- diversify our housing portfolio.
Due to the scenic character of the city and its adjacency of the City to Long Island Sound and the Thames River, the city has significant potential to be a magnet for walkers, runners, bikers, and others.
People are seeking ways to be more active in terms of walking, running, biking and the City is in a great position to take advantage of this. The city already has a good pedestrian and bicycle network in place and can supplement this to have a superb overall system. Plus, with the shoreline location and local amenities and destinations (Thames Street, Five Corners, Fort Griswold, UConn Avery Point, Outer Light Brewery, Paul's Pasta) and regional amenities and destinations (New London, multi-use path over the Gold Star Bridge, water taxi, Nautilus Museum, Bluff Point, etc.), people will know Groton because of the amenities it has. This type of system (built on attributes the city already has) will enhance the quality of life for residents and attract residents, businesses, and visitors in the future.
The City intends to establish, maintain and enhance an overall pedestrian / bicycle network in the City. The eventual goal is to interconnect all of elements (sidewalks, paths, trails, bikeways, etc.) into a cohesive overall system. This includes the establishment of a boardwalk or other pedestrian access along the Thames River, where feasible.
In 2005, the Town of Groton completed a Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Master Plan which included an inventory of existing trails, sidewalks, and bike paths and recommendations for proposed. The City Planning and Zoning Commission endorsed the Plan. The city should continue to refer to this Plan and act on opportunities to implement its recommendations.
The city intends to consider adopting a "complete streets" philosophy where existing streets, as feasible and appropriate, will be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for walkers, runners, cyclists, and other users of all ages and abilities in addition to the traditional focus on people driving automobiles.
In addition, the city intends to look at ways to develop a better network of pedestrian and bicycle trails in open space and greenbelt areas.
The key issues associated with improving "pedestrianism" in the City include:
- Closing gaps in the current sidewalk system,
- Adding sidewalks and connections in key areas,
- Extending sidewalks to serve key destinations,
- Replacing existing sidewalks that have deteriorated.
Travel Lane Widths
The Connecticut Department of Transportation has adopted a statewide policy to restripe roadways with eleven-foot travel lanes when opportunities arise (such as paving or line painting projects).
This policy change will expand the space available for non-motorized transportation users on a number of State highways and will be almost imperceptible to the motorist (and may slow traffic speeds).
The City of Groton may consider adopting a 10-foot or 11-foot travel lane width, where appropriate, in order to create more space on road shoulders for walkers, runners, and bikers.
Strategies To Enhance Pedestrian / Bicycle Transportation
|1. Seek to provide for an overall pedestrian and bicycle network in the city (on-road and off-road).
|EDC BPC Staff
|2. Work closely with SECCOG to be a leader in pedestrian / bicycle planning and improvements in the region.
|3. Undertake campaigns to educate walkers, cyclists, and motorists about appropriate road use and etiquette.
|4. Adopt a “complete streets” policy in the City of Groton.
|PW Police Staff
|5. Evaluate opportunities to create “complete streets” in the city and retrofit existing situations to create “more complete streets.”
|6. Consider establishing 10-foot travel lanes on local roadways and encouraging DOT to implement 11-foot travel lanes on State highways when restriping as a way to promote traffic calming and make space available for other users.
|PZC Police PW Staff
|Walkers / Runners
|7. Continue to appropriate municipal funds to extend, connect, and repair sidewalks throughout the community.
|8. Continue to seek opportunities to extend, connect, and maintain off-road trails throughout the community.
|BPC Staff TOG
|9. Work with local bicycle groups, bicycle shops, and others to establish and nurture a system of bicycle routes in the City.
|BPC TOG SECCOG
|10. Create and publish a map of appropriate bicycle routes in the city.
|BPC TOG SECCOG
|11. Investigate ways to create a system of signs / pavement markings to identify appropriate bicycle routes in the city.
|PW Police TOG SECCOG
|12. Seek to be officially recognized as a “bicycle-friendly” community.
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As stated previously, the City of Groton already has a diverse and balanced housing mix and this "housing portfolio" helps meet the housing needs of people from a wide variety of social and economic situations. This is one of the strengths of the city.
And, as housing needs change in the future due to the changing age composition of the region and the state, the city can continue to help address these needs. Groton can provide for a wide diversity of housing densities and types (due to the availability of water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure and other amenities).
As people live longer, there will be more people seeking alternatives to the single-family home in a suburban setting for lifestyle, health, or economic reasons. While some people will continue to live in that type of residence, other people may wish to relocate to smaller units in pedestrian-oriented locations with an array of activities nearby.
The City has housing units to help meet this need and locations with coastal views and nearby amenities where more could be built. This type of development will also support some of the other recommendations of the Plan (promoting compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development). Such units could also meet the housing desires of younger persons and families.
"The Plan shall make provision for the development of housing opportunities, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity, for all residents of the municipality and the planning region."
"The Plan shall promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low- and moderate-income households, and encourage the development of housing which will meet the housing needs."
- CGS 8-23
The City of Groton has a number of housing units which are either:
- Naturally priced at affordable levels,
- Financed or deed-restricted to sell or rent at affordable levels.
As a result, the City is in conformance with the statutory provisions cited above.
To help older residents of the City "age in place" with financial or other assistance, the City intends to consider allowing for accessory apartments or live-in help. Such arrangements can also provide housing opportunities for younger persons and families.
Strategies To Diversify Our Housing Portfolio
|1. Continue to seek ways to support new and different housing opportunities to meet the needs of diverse population segments.
|2. Support the establishment of new housing developments (with coastal views and lifestyle amenities) to meet changing housing needs and promote compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development
|3. Consider allowing for accessory apartments or live-in help in existing single-family housing units to help meet the housing needs of residents aging in place.
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