Friday, November 22, 2002
After the school loop, committee envisions town-wide pathways
Deb Belanger, chair of the Carlisle Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Subcommittee, updated the selectmen on November 12 on the committee's short- and long-term plans for creating pedestrian paths along Carlisle's roads.
School loop pathway
The committee is making progress on the proposed school loop pathway . Plans call for this footpath to run from the town center east along Bedford Road to Kimball's Ice Cream, to return toward the center along Church Street, and then to turn up School Street to the Spalding school building. Two sections of the school loop have already been com-pleted: the 110-foot strip at the Gleason Library and the 900-foot section from the Spalding driveway on School Street to the main school parking lot on Church Street. The paths look like dirt trails, but are made of hard-packing materials for a surface less vulnerable to erosion.
Additional work is scheduled for this winter and spring. Easements are expected to be signed soon with three abutters on the 940-foot section along Bedford Road from the post office to 7 School Street. Construction will begin as soon as approval is granted by the historical commission.
The next portion to be tackled will be along Bedford Road from Kimball's to just opposite the Banta-Davis driveway. Sections to be completed later include the stretch along Bedford Road from the post office to the Banta-Davis driveway, and the section along Church Street from the school's main parking lot to the end of Spalding Field.
Belanger said there is $21,950 left from the committee's original $30,000 allocation of Chapter 90 funds to complete the school loop, and there is also about $9,400 available in the town's pathway account.
Like the school loop, the town-wide pathway system proposed by the advisory committee would run along roads. The goal is to improve safety for pedestrians and casual bikers who face increasing traffic. In Carlisle's 2001 Annual Report, the committee recom-mended constructing seven to eight miles of pathways along the town's five main roads. The pathway system is different from the system of trails maintained by the trail committee, although the two systems may someday connect in places.
Additional funding will be needed in order to construct more pathways. Sources include federal funding, additional Chapter 90 allocations, possible Town Warrant articles, or funds contributed from private sources. According to planning board regulations, developers may make a contribution to the pathway account in exchange for a waiver of the requirement to provide a sidewalk along a new subdivision road.
The committee voted against seeking federal funding as the pathways would be built by the Massachusetts Highway Department according to standards that specify greater width, asphalt or cement surfaces, and handicapped-access cuts at regular intervals. Belanger said the committee felt these standards would "produce a pathway inconsistent with the goals of the committee and desires of the town."
The committee plans to request $50,000 a year from the town for the next five years to fund the full pathway system, though the town's long-term capital requirement committee (of which she is a member) did not approve the idea for FY03. Belanger said that with annual funding of $50,000 the town could make "great progress" on pathways, but that "reasonable progress" could be made with $10,000 a year.
The top priority of the committee is to continue building the school loop. The next is to finish the plan for the town-wide pathway system, present it to the public, and ask for more formal town endorsement. They also hope to draw up a series of implementation plans, depending on the annual funding.
The selectmen thanked the com-mittee and encouraged them to seek public discussion and approval of a town-wide pathway system.
Next meetings include:
• Tuesday, November 26 with the his-torical district commission;
• Thursday, December 12 with the conservation commission;
• Monday, December 16, A preconstrucion public hearing on the school loop
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito