Friday, October 19, 2007
ConsCom gives a nod to trails, to review pathways next
If the October 11 Conservation Commission (ConsCom) agenda is a harbinger of things to come, pedestrians of either a cautious or rugged bent have reason to cheer. Deb Belanger of the Bike/Pedestrian Safety Task Force attended the meeting to ask the commission to set aside a substantial portion of its October 25 agenda, in order to evaluate plans for completion of the four-way Town Center pathway network. Her brief presentation followed two far more modest Trails Committee requests for a go-ahead to install four boardwalks on conservation land trails.
needs several permits
In her brief appearance Belanger thanked Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard and Commissioner Roy Watson for their contributions to date and informed all that the project is now ready to move forward as approved by the 2004 Town Meeting. The Planning Board has already approved plans for pathways on all four components. The Historical Commission has done the same for the Bedford Road and East Street sections, but has not yet closed on the Lowell and Concord Street specifications.
Belanger warned the commission that the application contains some tricky features, because all four sectors either border on, or require crossings of, wetland resource areas. Promising a written review prior to the hearing, she invited the board to accompany her on a conducted tour of what are admittedly problem features. The commissioners said they would be happy to oblige.
Davis Corridor to be improved
Trails Committee member Louise Hara was the spokesman for a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA), a filing that short-cuts an application for work that the applicant believes poses no threat to nearby wetland resources. Her project proposed installation of a four-foot-wide, 30-foot-long boardwalk in a wet area along an existing trail on the Towle Conservation Land off Bingham Road.
Her team had encountered a vaguely-defined property line that required extensive hand measurements, but aside from that, projected no difficulties. The boardwalk called for the same concrete bumper/wooden plank construction in regular use by the committee, and received the desired "Negative Determination."
Also approved was a Trails Committee plan for three boardwalks within the Davis Corridor, a conservation parcel that runs from Bedford Road to Two Rod Road, roughly parallel to Stearns Street. As introduced by Trails Committee member Steve Tobin, this RDA described a 70-foot section near the Bedford Road entrance that the construction volunteers plan to complete this fall.
A 37-foot span on a trail near the junction with Two Rod Road is scheduled for completion next fall.
The only problem is how to get materials in without an arduous hike through rough terrain. "We're hoping to get Gary Davis [DPW Superintendent] to drive us in on the Two Rod trail" Tobin hazarded.
As for the third and longest section, a 250-foot span that may involve a small bridge, his team will need to get approval from The Trustees of Reservations, which holds a conservation restriction on the Malcolm Reservation at the trail terminus.
Problems with trail users
Before the commissioners issued a project approval, neighbors of the existing trail, Eric and Lynne Swanson of Baldwin Road, appealed to members of both committees to do something, if at all possible, about trail users who repeatedly intrude onto their property. "They've scared away our Great Blue Herons, torn down signs and even removed a section of our stone wall," Swanson reported. The couple received plenty of sympathy, but no promising solutions.
© 2007 The