Do the people of Hopkinton want a multi-use trail connecting us to the Milford and proposed Ashland trails? Designated trails improve community connections, safety and environmental impact and provide a place for healthy exercise. We have seen the success of the Upper Charles Trail in Milford and Holliston.
Town Meeting voters have an opportunity to decide the future of Hopkinton’s trail on May 1. Two significant articles on the warrant address future developments.
Article 47 is a citizens’ petition to disband the current Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) that was appointed 10 years ago by the Select Board.
Article 48, also a citizens’ petition, would end public funding for development of the trail along Route 85, called Section 7.
The Upper Charles Trail Committee was asked to propose two or three routes. Several routes have been explored, but they cross wetlands or private property. Members have studied maps, talked with landowners, and outlined a proposed route that doesn’t take any private property by eminent domain.
If Article 48 is passed, there is currently no identified viable alternative route.
An engineering study to determine the feasibility of the UCTC route is underway. Once the facts/possibilities have been established there will be more discussions before a route is finalized.
All UCTC meetings are public, and the committee has repeatedly asked for input from Hopkinton citizens. To date, most of this input has come from citizens who oppose decisions made by the committee. Unfortunately, misleading information has been circulated. Perhaps the trail goals of hikers and runners are different from those of bikers and other users of a multi-use trail.
Committee members have spent a lot of time developing the plan. There is a website on the Town of Hopkinton site with facts and frequently asked questions.
Please check it out.
An informed discussion of the issues is our best hope for reaching the best plan for all our citizens.
For what it’s worth, I would love to see a multi-use trail! Biking is one of my favorite sports. I have listened to the discussions for years because my husband is a member of the committee.
— Sally Snyder, Hopkinton
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First, after 10 years, the UCTC has not proposed a viable route. The route along Hayden Rowe would of necessity either require taking multiple private properties (and despite spending thousands of our dollars on a survey, they don’t know how many would be affected) or would require a complete roadway re-route costing millions of dollars and years of disruption. The UCTC’s 2017 report notes that private land taking would be required, yet this was not mentioned in their meetings throughout 2022; did all members forget those findings? The current UCTC has not listened to safety issues, has not addressed public comments, and continues to rely heavily on an urban commuter trail-focused engineer. I agree with the writer that getting informed on the issues is key. In my opinion, an informed decision suggests that change is needed to move this trail forward.