Coogan Boulevard upgrades to be unveiled
Mystic — A roundabout, two lanes instead of four, a landscaped median.
Those are just a few of the possible improvements to Coogan Boulevard that residents can expect to see presented when the Stonington Economic Development Commission and Department of Planning hold a Feb. 28 forum at 6 p.m. at the Olde Mistick Village Meeting House.
Director of Planning Jason Vincent explained that back in 2017 the town held a forum to get input on what zoning and other improvements residents and businesses would like to see in the so-called Golden Triangle area. But he said those in attendance wanted to see ideas for possible improvements that they could comment on.
Vincent said landscape design students from the University of Connecticut then developed sketches that depict possible improvements. The students will unveil the sketches at the forum.
Vincent stressed that no decisions have been made on what improvements, if any, are appropriate but want to gauge the reaction of the public.
“It’s their community. We’re not forcing this on anyone. What I am forcing is the conversation,” he said.
Vincent said the four-lane road was overdesigned for the amount of traffic that actually occurs, which results in speeding and in turn creates an unsafe condition for pedestrians. The proposed improvements are designed to make the road more pedestrian friendly by slowing down traffic, possibly adding a bike trail and making it more of a boulevard.
If residents and businesses want the town to move forward, Vincent said the town would seek state and federal funding for design and actual construction.
Coogan Boulevard leads to Mystic Seaport, one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions; the soon-to-be-built Perkins Farm project, which includes a large Hartford Healthcare facility; Mystic Hilton; Olde Mistick Village; Masonicare; McQuade’s Marketplace and possibly two new proposed hotels behind the existing Holiday Inn Express.