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Letter to the Editor: Trail proposal has multiple safety issues

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Letter to Editor

The Upper Charles Trail Committee’s proposal to put the Upper Charles Trail on Hayden Rowe Street creates immediate dangers. Hayden Rowe (Route 85) is a main thoroughfare for ambulances traveling to Milford Regional Hospital as well as for fire and police vehicles heading south out of town during an emergency. By putting the trail on the east side of Hayden Rowe, which is a “soft” pullover, there will be no space for cars and trucks to pull off the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass as, I assume, both sides of the road will be curbed for safety purposes. This, then, becomes an inherent danger to all vehicles and drivers on the road as well as any users of the trail.

Also, the UCTC proposal creates another danger as this plan requires users to cross 15 driveways along the route. It is already difficult to get out of my own driveway onto Hayden Rowe; the road from the Chestnut Street intersection to the cutoff near Marathon School is a straightaway and drivers travel at excessive speeds. Trying to monitor backing out onto the road as well as look in both directions for runners, bikers, skateboarders or walkers on the trail creates an inherent safety situation for all involved.

Second, there is already heavy usage on this road at all times of day. In the morning and afternoon, traffic backs up heading north or south because of the four schools located on this stretch of road. Add to this the regular commuter traffic on Route 85 as well as the traffic light at the Chestnut Street intersection, and what you have are impatient and aggravated drivers who could potentially endanger those trail users trying to cross Hayden Rowe at the three designated crossing sites. Adding speed bumps or narrowing the road as some have suggested will only add to the existing chaos. We need only remember the young man who was tragically killed or the woman who was hit by a car near EMC Park to see that this possibility is a real issue. Lastly, the traffic is also clogged every day with the stopping of UPS, FedEx and Amazon trucks.

Given these safety issues, it seems to us that the “western alternative” offered by the Hopkinton Trails Club is the safer alternative for all concerned. It virtually eliminates all of the real and serious dangers mentioned above.

— Richard and Michele Cunningham, Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton

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