In response to a citizen discussion on Facebook, at the Board of Selectmen meeting last night I brought up appointing a citizen “Sidewalk Study Committee.” I have been advocating for better planning around sidewalk construction ever since I noted years ago that the then process seemed ad hoc and came mainly from DPW Superintendent Ken Feeney. I thought the town needed more thoughtful and robust planning, and a process open to resident participation.
Last night, in response to my suggestion to appoint a citizen “Sidewalk Study Committee,” Mike Sullivan opined that he preferred using the moribund Safety Committee, which is where sidewalk planning was sent to die several years ago (as that committee was then newly created with Mike, Ken, and the MPD Chief and had only one independent resident member). After sidewalks were turfed to that then newly created Safety Committee by my then selectmen colleagues, about five to six years ago, we never heard back from that committee about sidewalks.
Last night my fellow selectmen did not support appointing a citizen study committee at this time, but Mike Marcucci opined about the need for a more robust planning process about future sidewalk construction and also financing their construction via bonding – as we cannot easily afford to pay for them out of the operating budget. That makes me hopeful that a majority of the selectmen want planning about sidewalks, and to actually spend money to build them.
To me it all about making safe connections to the downtown from each part of town. I can imagine that trails could also be used. In my part of town, the Bay Colony Rail Trail when built could connect and funnel most of the North side of town down to Harding Street at West Mill Street – and then the connection to the downtown would have to be figured out from that point. Although we really need to also look at the more direct route along Harding Street from the town line at Dover.