The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 24, 2000


Town supports footpaths, survey says

The response to the footpath questionnaire distributed to the town by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee was substantial, with 82 percent of respondents favoring footpaths, reported committee chair Deb Belanger at the Special Town meeting on November 14. "We received 520 questionnaires and continue to see surveys trickle in."

The report of the committee dealing with the results of the footpath survey appears below.

Committee Report

We were formed in 1998 by the Board of Selectmen to study pedestrian and bike safety in Carlisle. We serve as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen. The questionnaire was distributed and completed over a period of about three weeks. The purpose of the questionnaire is twofold: first to provide guidance to our committee's efforts. It is not viewed as a decision making tool, instead providing important information of preferences and concerns. The second purpose is to incorporate these results in a town-planning document currently in first drafting stage. This planning document is the third item I would like to update you on, but let's first see the tallying of the questionnaire responses.

Footpath questionnaire results:

As I indicated earlier, we had some 520 questionnaires in. The tallying reflects 515 of these responses. The information contained in the tally is essentially straight totaling of numbers.

Major roads near where you live:

If there were pathways along the major roads near you....?

Where would you go?

Ranking of interest in paths:

Number of #1 rankings received:

How far do you live from the rotary?


How often do you walk?

Do you bike or drive to the places where you walk?

Do you have children at home?

If so, how many in each age group?

Do they walk or bike along major roads?

If not as often as you would like, this is due to......

If there were pathways, would your children walk or bike to/from school, after school program, or sports?

(17% already do)

Do you agree that paths...

Improve Safety 82%

Improve Quality of Life 66%

Reduce Car Dependence 23%

Not necessary 28%

Diminish Rural Quality 30%

How much would you be willing to pay through a town budget item (annual, 5 to 7 years per household)?



Drafting a footpath plan

These results will be incorporated in the drafting of a Carlisle Footpath Plan, the third and final topic. As part of our research, our committee has looked at some 8 towns with footpath systems to learn about approaches and issues. What we have seen is that there is one thing common to all successful programs: there is a drafting of town wide plan, a feasibility study, and questionnaire. Together these three elements comprise an overall Footpath Plan. This plan is then presented to town meeting first for adoption. If adopted, the plan is then developed into an implementation document, which is again presented to the board of selectmen and town meeting at each significant decision

point. We have begun this process. We have completed a first, skeletal draft of the narrative plan. We have distributed this plan to all the committees, boards, and private groups who may have a formal or informal view on footpaths.

We have met with six groups and hope to complete this first review and comment step by the first of the year. We do need to complete the third leg of a stool before we have a complete, informed document on which Town Meeting can form a decision and that is the feasibility study. The feasibility study subjects the pathways proposed to a test of if each length of path can be completed at a reasonable cost given environmental and rights of way issues. We hope to have a completed plan for your review and adoption at next April's Town Meeting.

For all those interested, our next meeting is scheduled for November 30

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito