It has recently come to my attention that a significant part of the charge given to the Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) is as follows:
“The UCTC will … develop and steward a planning process that includes extensive community input, and that fosters openness and inclusion through dialogue and communication with stakeholders.”
In addition, under the 10 items in its charge, Items 2 and 3 discuss working with the community and neighborhoods:
“2. Ensure that the development plan reflects the community’s aspirations; 3. Provide an assessment of the broader neighborhood context and the appropriateness of the Upper Charles Trail in a specific location, given the quality of life and visual characteristics of the area valued by the community.”
It appears to me that the UCTC has failed to carry out these responsibilities. To my knowledge, none of my neighbors were informed of the committee’s decision to extend the trail down Hayden Rowe Street, nor has the committee surveyed the residents regarding their input on the wisdom of that decision and how it would affect their “quality of life and the visual characteristics of the area valued by the community.” Therefore, the lack of transparency suggests that the committee has failed to carry out its charge and at least raises the question that there are other “behind-the-scenes” forces at play.
Personally, I believe that the UCTC proposal increases safety issues to both pedestrians and vehicles on Hayden Rowe as a highly trafficked thoroughfare, is far more costly to the town than the Trails Club proposal in the woods, and is undesirable to those who wish to take a “peaceful” or “restorative” walk or run. This suggests to me that the proposed UCTC trail is likely to be very under-utilized and may be wasteful of town resources.
— Richard Cunningham, Hopkinton
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