WELLFLEET — Following a heated exchange on Monday with a crowd opposed to the extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail extension to Route 6, the Wellfleet Select Board voted against sending a letter to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker about it. The letter would have asked the governor to temporarily stop work on the current bike trail plan.
In a 3-2 vote select board chair Janet Reinhart and members Justina Carlson and Kathleen Bacon argued that the state Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) staff is planning to return to Wellfleet later this month for another discussion about the controversial bike trail, at which point the questions about safety may be addressed.
“It’s common sense to look at what they come back with in October,” Carlson said. “I did talk to [state Rep.] Sarah Peake who has to deal with realities as an elected official and she said this money might not come around again. I’d like to see what they come back with and see if our safety concerns are dealt with.”
But select board members Michael DeVasto and Helen Miranda Wilson, who together drafted a letter to the send to the governor, agreed with a group called the Concerned Citizens for a Sensible Wellfleet Bikeway. Rebecca Noble, a group member, played a voicemail from Dan Driscoll, of the DCR, which he had left her on Sept. 24. In the voicemail, he said the DCR’s plans are moving forward with “no big changes.”
Late Tuesday, a DCR spokeswoman seemed to confirm this by saying that design of the trail is “90 percent complete” and that the DCR plans to hold a third and final meeting in early 2020 with the full plan. Notification of the meeting date will be posted soon, according to the spokeswoman.
Noble’s group has circulated a petition against the bike path extension plan, asking that the extension stop at Old County Road before arriving at Route 6. It has over 1,000 signatures, DeVasto said.
“The DCR and the DOT plans needlessly compound dangers in a congested stretch of US Route 6 with multiple curb cuts, already known for traffic accidents and fatalities,” the petition states, in part.
The DCR’s plan includes paving the state-owned former railroad right-of-way for two miles to extend the existing bike path from Lecount Hollow Road to Route 6, where the state has purchased land to build a parking area about a quarter-mile south of the intersection with Main Street.