Sudbury Town Crier
Thursday, April 5, 2007
TO THE EDITOR:
At our next Town Meeting, Articles 22, 23 and 24 provide $145,000
for further investigation into proposed Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. As
residents with the trail in our backyard, we want to encourage everyone
to support these articles. The feasibility study looked at engineering
issues and determined that it is technically feasible to create the
trail in Sudbury. Articles 22 to 24 take us to the next step. As in any
project, a full evaluation and design is required before any
implementation is considered. The SCRLS group says the town doesn’t
all the answers. They’re right. These articles will give the town
answers so we can make a well informed decision down the road.
The Sudbury Master Plan from 2001 calls for improving Sudbury’s
paths as a means of recreation and transportation. Though the planned
changes at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge will provide
recreational trails, it will not provide transportation trails.
So who might use this trail?
Massachusetts Central Transportation
has estimated that during good weather, about 300 people a day are
likely to use the trail between Sudbury and Lowell. Only a portion of
these will use the Sudbury section. Studies of other rail trails have
indicated that most users are from the local town or come to the town
via the rail trail. These will include senior citizens enjoying a walk,
dog walkers, parents with small children riding their bikes, students
going to school on foot or bike and some adults riding their bikes to
Studies show that proximity to the rail trail has a positive effect
on property values. A study by two realtors posted on the Sudbury town
Web site states that "... home sales near rail trails ... sold in an
average of 29.3 days as compared to 50.4 days for other homes." An
article in the Nov. 6, 2005 Boston Globe says "... being on or near the
Minuteman Bikeway can increase the value of a home by 4 or 5 percent."
In fact, the first real estate entry for Lexington in the April 1
Globe advertises its proximity to the trail.
What about the wildlife? Articles 23 and 24 address these issues.
These articles will provides the funds to investigate the impact on the
wildlife and the environment by the proposed rail trail. The
Conservation Commission’s input will be invaluable in this process.
Rail Trails are traditionally paid for by CPA funds in the initial
design phases. The remaining expenses are paid for by the state and
federal governments. In November 2006, Massachusetts gave Sudbury over
$1.2 million as matching grant funds based on our FY ‘06 CPA
collections. Articles 22, 23, and 24 do not represent an increase in
taxes, rather an approved usage for CPA funds.
As Sudbury residents for 15 years, we appreciate Sudbury’s vision
investigating the issues completely before moving forward with any
implementation of the rail trail. These articles are the responsible
stewardship of Sudbury’s valuable natural and financial resources.
Mara and Art Huston