The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 7, 2003


Selectmen hear roadside footpath plan

Funding was seen as a major obstacle to implementation of the footpath plan proposed by the pedestrian and bike safety advisory committee. The committee described their plan at the January 28 meeting of the Carlisle Board of Selectmen.

The proposed basic footpath plan includes about eight miles of footpaths, extending about a mile or a mile and a half outward along each of the town's five major roads. The target users are school children, family cyclists, strollers and joggers, and others who want to walk to places in and around the town center.

Committee member Art Milliken read from Carlisle's 1973 annual report, which recommended construction of bike/footpaths to improve safety along town roads. The committee asked the selectmen to read and comment on their plan. Milliken hoped the selectmen would reach a consensus in favor of a multi-year implementation program, with the understanding that the funding level and sources may vary from year to year. The committee hopes to bring the pathway plan to Town Meeting this coming spring.

Chairman of the selectmen Doug Stevenson said he supported bringing the plan before the long-term capital requirements committee and the Town Meeting in order to gauge the community's level of support. He said of the project, "No one has ever had to vote on this."

Several funding options were discussed. The committee estimates that with a yearly expenditure of $90,000, the pathway system would be completed in five years. On the other hand, if the yearly expenditure is reduced to $12,000, then DPW labor, when available, would be relied upon more heavily, and the project would take 14-20 years to complete.

The town has used state aid for transportation systems, Chapter 90 funds, to help pay for the pathway recently built near the school, but town administrator Madonna McKenzie warned that these state funds are being cut back. Stevenson said that if Carlisle strongly supported building pathways, then Town Meeting might approve bonding the construction costs.

Recreation commission chair Maureen Tarca was present at the meeting and suggested that private donations might help finance the project. She thought many people in town might be interested in "buying a linear foot" of pathway. Cindy Nock, who has served on both the recreation commission and school committees, agreed, and suggested private donations be used to finance the pathway construction, and the town pay for maintenance costs.

The selectmen thanked the pedestrian and bike safety committee for their work, and agreed to study the pathway plan.

Footpath, sidewalk, or trail?

The plan prepared by Carlisle's pedestrian and bike safety advisory committee states, "The most important distinctions among these three types of paths are their design and location. Sidewalks are placed immediately adjacent to the roadway, are bordered with granite curbing and are constructed with either a smooth asphalt or cement surface. Our trails are cleared, natural terrain surfaces and are located in our fields and woods. Footpaths differ significantly from both. The footpaths recommended here are not granite curbed sidewalks but rather country paths located away from the road in a meandering design."

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito