The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. The Merritt Parkway was designated a National Scenic Byway in 1996 for its significant design which brilliantly integrates the engineer and the artist.
The mission of the National Scenic Byways Program, which funded this study, is to provide resources to the byway community in order to create a unique travel experience and enhanced local quality of life through efforts to preserve, protect, interpret and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways.
Since 1992, the National Scenic Byways Program has funded 3,049 projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In recent years the need to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic has become an important part of National Scenic Byway designation and funding.
In addition to determining the feasibility of the trail concept, this study will explore the opportunities and constraints of enhancing the visitor experience on the Merritt Parkway and the surrounding area. It will identify locations for way-finding signage, bus and recreational vehicle parking, and transit connections.
The study will identify locations to enhance the scenic and cultural resources through overlooks and signage that describes the historic bridges and other features. From its storied design and its role in the development of Connecticut, to its indelible imprint on the American landscape, the Merritt Parkway has a rich history to share.