There Is No Alternative Bike Route
To the editor:
The Independent reports that the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation “continues to believe that the safest and best approach for users of the Cape Cod Rail Trail and for Wellfleet residents of all ages will be to continue the Cape Cod Rail Trail on the former railroad corridor to a new terminus trailhead at Route 6” [“DCR’s Route 6 Lot Is ‘Not a Parking Area,’ ” Nov. 18, page A8].
The DCR is right. We have wasted a year looking for alternative routes, even though several prior studies concluded that there is no practical alternative. It is not surprising that the bike and walkways committee — composed of people who joined because they opposed the extension — rated the Rail Trail extension last. Their scoring system did not give adequate weight to feasibility or environmental impact.
None of the alternatives is remotely feasible, given opposition by land owners, the Seashore, and Eversource, and all would require cutting a new path through the woods or paving the power-line corridor.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d be happy if there were a good route that avoided Route 6. There isn’t. We all agree riding on Route 6 is dangerous. So, let’s make it safer.
Instead of blocking the extension, the town should concentrate on how to make the connection between the Rail Trail and the redesigned Main Street intersection as safe as possible. Adding marked bike lanes on Route 6, a bike/pedestrian-controlled crossing signal, and sidewalks will make the route safer than it is now, even with increased usage.
Phase 2 of the Rail Trail extension is funded, designed, and shovel ready, but has been postponed by the search for an alternative. I’d like to see it built in my lifetime. Let’s not force it into a multi-year delay like so many other Wellfleet projects.
Aggrieved by the Cloverleaf
To the editor:
Land Court Judge Diane Rubin’s opinion, as reported here last week [“Plaintiffs Ordered to Post Bond,” Nov. 18, front page], that only one of the plaintiffs in the Cloverleaf suit is entitled to a presumption of standing, is at best myopic and at worst misfeasant.
Far more than those immediately abutting the proposed abuse to the town will be negatively affected by the Cloverleaf development.
In fact, every person in town who feels aggrieved by the proposed monstrosity should have legal standing as a plaintiff, for the development will negatively affect traffic, vistas, and water quality. I believe the system proposed for waste purifying will never be properly monitored and, should it fail, will never be fixed in time to keep ill-treated effluent from entering the water supply.
The Cloverleaf will, eventually, lead to the first traffic light in Truro.
It’s simply incorrect and socially irresponsible to rule that only abutters have standing.
Truro and Westport, Conn.
‘Which Is to Be Master’
To the editor:
With respect to the final lines of your Nov. 11 Letter From the Editor invoking Humpty Dumpty’s cynical view of language, the complete passage is even more cynical — and more apt — than the snippet would suggest. It’s worth recalling at greater length:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone [note the adjective], “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
The passage could stand as a text for our times.
Significantly, the incident is to be found in Through the Looking-Glass, not Alice in Wonderland. The exchange is à propos of Humpty’s lesson about why birthdays are overrated: a birthday offers a single occasion for a present, whereas there are 364 days when you might get an un-birthday present.
As Humpty says, “There’s glory for you!”
My nieces and nephews would agree.
A Bad Night for Pilgrims
To the editor:
In his article about oysters and the Pilgrims [“Eating Oysters, With Gratitude,” Nov. 18, page B9], Mac Hay says: “There’s not actually a whole lot known about the harvest feast the Pilgrims had in Plymouth in 1621 with the Indians…. I always guessed that seafood didn’t play a big role on this holiday menu because the Puritans were farmers, not fishermen or foragers or even good hunters, for that matter.”
But we do know one thing about the Pilgrims and seafood from the entry in Mourt’s Relation for their very first day in the New World, Nov. 11 (Old Style), 1620, the day they first anchored in Provincetown Harbor after having written and signed the Mayflower Compact:
And every day we saw whales playing hard by us, of which in that place, if we had instruments and means to take them, we might have made a very rich return, which to our great grief we wanted. Our master and his mate, and other experienced in fishing, professed we might have made three or four thousand pounds worth of oil; they preferred it before Greenland whale-fishing, and purpose the next winter to fish for whale here. For cod we assayed, but found none, there is good store, no doubt, in their season. Neither got we any fish all the time we lay there, but some few little ones on the shore. We found great mussels, and very fat and full of sea-pearl, but we could not eat them, for they made us all sick that did eat, as well sailors as passengers; they caused to cast and scour, but they were soon well again.
We can guess what “cast” and “scour” mean. Maybe that’s why the Pilgrims stayed away from seafood!
To the editor:
I read the first sentence of last week’s Letter From the Editor and turned to my wife. “Oh no,” I said, “Ed has committed dangling participle,” wondering how many readers in this world, in which so many are not former English teachers, would even notice, or, if they did, care.
Then I read the second sentence. Whew.
I’ve come to accept and even appreciate the democratic impulse in the terrible “Me and my buddy Jane went downtown,” now ubiquitous among millennials and younger, and even creeping into respectable arenas of print.
But the illogic of the dangling participle is something up with which I will not put (as Winston Churchill said of the old rule of never ending a sentence with a preposition).