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Select Board opens survey about Upper Charles Trail Committee

by | Jun 19, 2023 | News

The Select Board announced Monday that it has opened its survey about the Upper Charles Trail Committee. The survey will remain open until July 2.

The survey was sparked by Town Meeting’s resounding but nonbinding vote to disband the UCTC and make it a subcommittee of the Trails Coordination and Management Committee.

The Select Board discussed the most appropriate path forward and determined that a survey of residents would help. UCTC meetings have been put on hold until the matter is addressed.

In the introduction to the survey, it is noted that “because the UCTC was created by the Select Board, only the Select Board may dissolve the committee or take any action relative to the committee. However, the Select Board is cognizant of the Town Meeting vote and the message it sent. This survey is being presented to give the Select Board public input for the desires of the town residents relative to the committee.”

A major part of residents’ dissatisfaction with the UCTC is the committee’s work on a segment of the Upper Charles Trail that would have it run along Hayden Rowe Street and cross the busy street multiple times. However, the survey does not address any proposed route.

“Because no route options have been presented [to the Select Board], nor has the physical attributes of a proposed trail been presented, route options and the physical attributes of the trail are not part of this survey,” the introduction reads. “Route options and physical attributes will require public outreach and public input as part of the development plan, however it is premature at present. Such public input and public outreach are required as per the UCTC charge.”

The survey can be accessed here.

3 Comments

  1. Peter LaGoy

    A couple issues; the intro to the survey notes that Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) compliance is required and an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) is required. That is only true if certain thresholds are exceeded; there is no clear indication that such thresholds would be exceeded (except if the trail were paved) and therefore, at this time, this statement is incorrect, a fact pointed out to the Select Board with opinions by two wetlands experts. I would also note that there is only one right answer for question 15, which asks if the trail should be paved, stone dust or both. The almost completed bike path on Main Street is paved, the Center Trail is not paved, and a conservation restriction prevents it being paved, so the answer is both, based on what already exists. The Board needs to listen to the town’s opinion, expressed in the vote over a month ago.

  2. John Ritz

    The survey is challenging to complete. I handle outreach for the Hopkinton Trails Club, and spread word about the survey via our website, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Several folks have commented that they found it difficult or confusing, and some quit before filing their responses. The details about the committee make-up (# of members, voting rights for associate members, liaison members) seemed unnecessary, and using generational nicknames (“Silent Generation”?) for the age question was just odd. A question about users (all users or just certain users) was problematic. Does “all users” include ATVs, hovercraft, pogo sticks, etc.? Yes, I’m being silly, but a free-text comment area on each question would have allowed the respondents to clarify their choices. It would be interesting to know the abandonment rate (how many people started the survey and exited before completing it).

  3. Jim Ciriello

    It was not the “town’s opinion” that was expressed at ATM. It was a small group of residents wound up and present to support their article. It was not an “overwhelming majority” of the town. Town meetings are what they are: stacked with those in favor or opposed to articles that affect them personally. The vote at ATM was no surprise. Had the UCTC gone door-to-door seeking support and stacked the opposition to this article, the results could have been the opposite. Now, with the fictional stories that have been spun about the qualifications, diligence, progress and success of the UCTC, there is an on-going arbitrary and biased process to decide not only the fate of the UCTC but also the fate of the Upper Charles Trail itself. The on-going process is ridiculous and actionable.

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