Milton council approves Rails to Trails plan

Project must be completed by June 1
January 8, 2021

Milton Town Council has approved, via a 5-1 vote at its Jan. 4 meeting, a proposed lighting plan for the new Rails to Trails extension.

Town Manager Kristy Rogers said the next steps are to work up cost estimates and see if the lighting plan works within the town’s $195,000 budget. If it does, she will proceed with putting out a request for proposals. If not, she said she would present the cost estimate to council in February for their input on how to proceed. 

The town has planned to share the costs 50/50, with the town contributing $97,500 and a state grant accounting for the other $97,500. However, the state funding is contingent on the town completing the project by Tuesday, June 1. 

The lighting plan submitted by an ad hoc committee chaired by Councilman Sam Garde is broken down into three segments.

From Federal Street to the trestle bridge, the committee recommended installing four lights, supplied by Delmarva Power, consisting of three GranVille-style, acorn-shaped lights, and one shoebox-style light. The first light would be 80 feet from the trail entrance, with other lights placed 150 to 176 feet apart. The shoebox fixture would be closest to the bridge and would include additional shielding to keep the light from shining too much in the direction of homes in Wagamon’s West Shores.

At the little hill where the trail splits, the committee calls for five lights – four GranVille and one shoebox – again supplied by Delmarva Power. The shoebox fixture would be closest to the bridge followed by three GranVille lights between 136 and 160 feet apart. The last GranVille light would be across West Shore Drive in front of the trail entrance. The fixture would be shielded to cut down on the amount of light shining toward nearby homes. 

Finally, from the little hill to the end of the trail on Lavinia Street, there would be a series of bollard lights, which are low to the ground and can be shined directionally. The lights would be positioned to shine downward toward the trail and shielded to prevent light behind and skyward. While a specific number is not called for, the bollard lights would be 60 feet apart and no higher than four feet tall.

The bollard lights would be contracted out, not provided by Delmarva Power. The contractor would be responsible for installing the conduits, supplying the lights and installing all the lights in all three trail segments. The committee recommended Delmarva Power install the three connection boxes for the lights in existing utility easements. The committee recommended having one contractor perform the work on all three segments in order to expedite project completion. 

Mayor Ted Kanakos was happy with the committee’s work, which was hashed out over four meetings from late November through mid-December. The committee consisted of town officials and residents of the Wagamon’s West Shores development, which backs up to the trail. 

“In my six years – two as councilman and four as mayor – I have never seen a more thorough and professional committee report,” Kanakos said. 

Still, Kanakos asked for changes to the recommendations, specifically the distance between the bollard lights on the Lavinia Street section.

Garde said while the council was free to do what it wanted, the committee considered its work done and wanted to see an up-or-down vote on the recommendations. 

Councilman Michael Cote, the lone no vote, asked whether the committee’s plan works within the town’s budget. 

“We have no idea if this will comply with the grant budget,” Cote said. 

Garde said the committee was charged only to come up with a lighting plan, not to examine costs.

The idea of lighting the trail has been under discussion for nearly two years, with the town wanting to install lights in order to improve pedestrian safety and residents in Wagamon’s West Shores opposing because, in their view, lighting would encourage 24/7 use of the trail and diminish their quality of life. Seeking a compromise while under the gun to use the state funding, the committee was formed to work out a plan. 

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter