Friday, July 14, 2006
Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee charts its path
Before the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee (PBSAC) can continue with any of their planned town pathways, they must resolve the problem of weed control on the paths that have already been built. You may remember that the Board of Selectmen voted one year ago to allow the PBSAC to perform a test along a short section of the pathways to compare the efficacy of the Roundup herbicide versus Burnout, an organic formulation of acetic acid, for controlling weeds. This prompted the Board of Health to express their dismay on the use of pesticides and herbicides on the public pathways and to request the Selectmen to seek their input before authorizing herbicide use. Other related Boards and Commissions joined in with various misgivings. This placed the problem back in the laps of the Selectmen, who then formed a task force to study the problem.
Chair John Troast of the PBSAC hopes that a solution is at hand. Troast and two other members — John Bakewell and Debra Belanger - met on July 6 to review the responses to the Land Use Team forum held on April 27. The forum allowed relevant boards and committees to share information on the strengths and weaknesses of three alternative surfaces: gravel, asphalt and organic binders. The proposed solution had to take into account the cost, maintenance and aesthetic challenges that must be balanced to address overall safety needs. The resulting proposal is composed of two parts:
Bedford Road: Retain existing pathway surface of crushed stone. Improve the surface by adding additional stone material and recompacting. This involves skimming off the existing surface, including weeds, with a Bobcat and then applying new finely ground and compacted stone material containing organic binder.
Other Roads: Install stone surface with organic binder in the Historic District and asphalt surface outside of the District. On East Street, this would mean that the stone surface would end just before Blaisdell Drive and then asphalt would be used for the rest of the way to St. Irene's Catholic Church.
The PBSAC requested a formal written response to this proposal before June 8 from the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission and the Planning Board. All complied and Belanger read each written response to the PBSAC members. The Board of Health was in general agreement with the proposal as long as no pesticides or herbicides are used. The Conservation Commission urged that the surface be stable - no erosion or runoff - but otherwise they gave the proposal their OK. Neither the Historical Commission nor the Planning Board had any objections to the proposed pathways solution.
Thus empowered, the PBSAC can now complete a preliminary cost analysis of the proposal and present it to the Board of Selectmen for approval. The next meeting of the PBSAC is scheduled for Wednesday, July 19 at 8 p.m.
© 2006 The