Friday, April 18, 2003
Committee seeks support for pathways Article
After many years in the planning, a project to construct footpaths connecting the town center will come before voters at Town Meeting on May 5. How to rally public support for the pedestrian and bike path Warrant Article was the subject of the open meeting held by the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Committee on Monday night.
The paths would alleviate what many see as a significant pedestrian safety issue in the town center and along many of Carlisle's major roads, said Deb Belanger, chair of the committee. The paths will help both school children and adults walking in the center by providing a designated safe area away from traffic lanes, she said. As envisioned, the paths would be multi-use with both pedestrians and young children on bikes using them.
The plan asks for a total of $150,000 in funds to be spent over five years to construct a school loop path in the town center, with further paths traveling from the center down parts of East Street, and Lowell, Concord and Westford Roads. The project would be completed with the help of the Department of Public Works to defray costs, and also using outside contractors.
The proposed school loop is the first priority of the project. It would run from the Carlisle School along School Street down to the corner of Bedford Road where it would turn and follow Route 225/Bedford Road past the Gleason Library and the post office and down to Church Street, where it would return again to the school.
The path would be separated from the road by existing natural boundaries of stone walls and trees when possible, or a grassy strip to help remove the foot path from the road. Plans call for the paths to be 4-5 feet wide and made of crushed, compacted stone dust, rather than asphalt, to blend into the natural scenery. An example of what the paths look like is at the Carlisle School.
The Warrant Article is a one-time debt exclusion that would not permanently raise the tax base, as a budget override does, said Belanger. This means property taxes would rise only until the time the project is completed. In order to pass, the debt exclusion article requires a two-thirds vote from Town Meeting and a two-thirds vote by ballot on Election Day.
Residents from the five major roads, Bedford Road, East, Lowell, Concord, and Westford Streets, volunteered to contact their neighbors to attend Town Meeting and vote for the Article.
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