Sudbury Town Crier
Thursday, March 8, 2007
TO THE EDITOR:
It is easy to get the impression from recent letters to the editor
that most Sudbury residents are opposed to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
But this would be misleading. In fact, the Friends of the Bruce Freeman
Rail Trail (dedicated to promoting its construction) is one of the larger
organizations in Sudbury, with over 600 supporters in town-- about 1
for every 9 households. And this greatly understates support for the
Trail, because most people don't publicly state their support for
everything they feel should be done. The Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail recently released a colorful map breaking down support by
neighborhood, viewable at www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org/maps/sudbury-support.html.
A fraction of the several dozen Trail abutters remain opposed.
Experience with other Trails has shown that this is often the case
before they are built. Afterwards, many abutters change their minds
because of the recreational and social benefits. The increases in
property values that usually follow probably don't hurt.
In Sudbury, Trail opponents have expressed concern that 1) the Trail
won't be used much at all like lesser-used trails in Sudbury
conservation land, and 2) the Trail will be used by enormous crowds
the Minuteman Bike Trail. Sometimes they express both concerns
simultaneously, as with Jim Nigrelli's Feb. 21 letter. But the
experience of Hudson suggests neither concern is justified. Although
Hudson completed most of its Assabet River Rail Trail by last summer,
haven't notice any ten-thousand strong crowds flocking to Hudson
recently. But bicycling through Hudson, I've seen Hudson residents
running, roller-blading, cycling, walking and generally enjoying
Trail. As for the Minuteman, anything routed through the most heavily
populated parts of New England will be crowded.
There is a lot of unsubstantiated fear-mongering over cost, but
and other towns with Rail Trails have found the cost of policing to
quite small and the cost of maintenance too small to be measured.
Years ago, Sudbury citizens formulated the Long Term Master Plan for
Sudbury, known as "Sustainable Sudbury." This strongly recommended
the town explore the development of both the north-south and
rail beds for multi-use paths, in part to relieve traffic on the
That process has continued, slowly, while the Trail's planners work
anticipate and avoid potential problems involving the environment and
concerns of a handful of abutters. (Many of these concerns, including
Mr. Nigrelli's, are addressed on the FAQ sheet on the town's Rail
web site.) It's very difficult to please everyone, and our system
government was not built for speed.
It's now time to take the next step in the process. At this
Meeting, we can move forward with the next phase of gathering
information concerning the Trail. At least hundreds, probably
of Sudbury residents are looking forward to getting outdoors on the
trail; some to walk, others to roller-blade, and others to bicycle
commute. Personally, I can't wait to run with the jogging stroller