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Letter: Resident Opposes FCCW Project Proposal

The Town of Woodbridge was recently granted $600,000 of Federal Transport Use funding for new bicycle and walking paths.  The Town is proposing to construct a new sidewalk (approximately 350’ long and up to 13’ wide) on the east lawn of the First Church of Christ (FCCW) property along the western edge of Newton Road beginning across from the Amity HS driveway and extending to the southeast corner of the church property at the junction of Newton Road and Meetinghouse Lane.  At this time, church officials have received no notification of this proposed use of its property.  City curbs, storm drains, and street lighting are already in the proposal.  Will traffic lights and crosswalk lights at the intersection eventually complete the urbanization of the center of Woodbridge?

Since 1954, students have walked from the high school across the east lawn and labyrinth on the church property either to their homes, the library, or to a parent’s vehicle waiting on the driveway that fronts the church or on Meetinghouse Lane.  In the winter, when the lawn is snow-covered the church driveways and walkways are kept snow-free, students walk up the driveway at 20 Newton and take the lighted, redbrick pathway around the east side of the church to the front driveway.  They may continue on the path across the church green to Meetinghouse Lane where, if they intend to cross, they can clearly see oncoming traffic.  These existing walking routes are far safer for students than the proposed sidewalk which would run along the very edge of busy Newton Road and have them cross Meetinghouse Lane at a very dangerous, five-lane, intersection where school buses and many other vehicles are turning in all directions.  I encourage parents, high school students, and concerned citizens to express their concerns to the Woodbridge First Selectman.

The First Church of Christ, Woodbridge campus is a civic, historic property that is protected by its listing both on the National Register for Historic Places and as part of the Woodbridge Historic District.  The proposed use of the eastern border of First Church of Christ property would be considered a ‘Last Resort’ under the National Advisory Guidelines put forth by the Department of Interior who work in tandem with the Federal Highway Administration to enforce Section 4 (F) of those Guidelines that protect historic properties.  The justification for this sidewalk is absent.

For all the reasons stated herein, I strongly oppose the proposed project on the FCCW property and request that the Town of Woodbridge WITHDRAW THIS PROPOSAL FOR AN UNNEEDED AND DANGEROUS SIDEWALK and consider instead the urgent need for such sidewalks in the Woodbridge business district.

Joyce Simpson, Woodbridge resident and member of the FCCW

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