Cyclists passing through Connecticut — on their way to New York City, Montreal, or points in between — now have the option to turn off their devices, ignore the maps, and enjoy the scenery, without fear of missing a turn. With funding from the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area (Housatonic Heritage), each of the 12 towns in Connecticut that U.S. Bicycle Route 7 passes through was furnished with the green and white signs, posts, and fasteners, necessary to keep riders on track, whether north or south-bound.
“We were delighted to provide the materials,” said Dan Bolognani, Executive Director of Housatonic Heritage, “but this effort would not have been successful without the partnership of the individual municipalities, whose highway departments installed the signs, and the many volunteers who identified signpost locations, and delivered materials to each of the towns.”
Also known as the Western New England Greenway, USBR 7 runs from Norwalk, Connecticut, to the Canadian Border, covering 3 states and 400 miles. It was designed to connect the East Coast Greenway with Quebec’s Route Verte, and provide local as well as touring cyclists with a safe and scenic alternative to the region’s main thoroughfare: U.S. Highway 7.
While signing U.S. Bicycle Routes is optional, Adventure Cycling Association highly recommends taking that step. It helps brand the route, provides wayfinding for cyclists, and increases safety by alerting drivers that cyclists are on the road. In coordination with state DOTs, participation from stakeholders like Housatonic Heritage and Western New England Greenway helps carry out USBRS signing projects across the country.
“Putting up the signs is not simply about navigation,” said Tom O’Brien, coordinator of the project for Housatonic Heritage. “It’s a powerful statement from a dozen towns in our state that bicycles are legitimate vehicles with every right to share the road.”
Following Connecticut’s lead, efforts are now underway to sign Massachusetts’ portion of U.S. Bicycle Route 7.