, Newburyport, MA


April 7, 2014

Safety issues with Rail Trail phase 2

To the editor:

Your coverage of the DOT Newburyport Rail Trail phase 2 hearing completely missed comments entered into the record concerning critical safety issues and concerns of neighbors. These views represent an important part of the story.

My inputs as made were: “The current design of rail trail 2 at and near the intersection of Purchase and Harrison St. is dangerous to human safety and an intrusion in the neighborhood ...

“a) The two-way trail is within a few feet of a home and is so narrow one wonders how people and bicycles can possibly pass each other without spilling off the trail into the street, which itself is narrow with driveway access in the area — a really poor, unsafe design.

“b) Bicycles are a special problem and will the DOT consider requiring bicyclists to dismount and walk to a point where the trail widens? There is precedent for such a requirement.

“c) We request that the design allow no area in the neighborhood where people can stop and gather — save that opportunity for the Joppa Park area.

“d) We request that DOT recognize the burden on homeowners and preserve as much of the limited parking as possible.”

Rail Trail phase 1 does wind through neighborhoods and the implementation is well done, but the plans we have seen for Rail Trail phase 2 are much more intrusive to the neighborhood (very narrow and congested) and we wonder when some responsible party will seriously address the issues. So far the emphasis has been on getting the project done, not on addressing the issues of safety or the intrusion in the neighborhood.

Jim Furneaux


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