Letter Concerning the Wellfleet Bike Trail Extension

from Tom Schardt

Letter to the Editor:

I reviewed the coverage on Cape Cod Today for February 16, 2019, regarding the safety concerns on the current State DCR and DOT plans for a bike path in Wellfleet.   As an avid cyclist with a home in Wellfleet, I share the safety concerns and hope they will be addressed.

However, I did want to provide my comments about the suggested alternative in the video to put the bike path under the power lines in Wellfleet going north towards Truro.

I attended the October 22, 2018 meeting in Wellfleet when the DCR presented the State’s vision for a Wellfleet bike plan, including their Rail Trail Extension and the DOT’s Route 6 bike path.   A question from the audience was raised on why didn’t they consider putting the proposed path under the power lines instead out to and along Route 6.   As a Wellfleet property owner with land under the power lines, I was interested in the DCR response.  They were clear in their response. They reviewed this option but ruled it out for several reasons, including the terrain not meeting the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, the prohibitively high cost, and that there many property owners with land under the power lines.  As they pointed out in their presentation, the current State plans for the bike path are on State owned land that follows the old railroad corridor or in the Route 6 right-of-way.

I followed up with one of our State representatives in January 2019 who met with the DCR about the powerline option.   He was told that the DCR ruled this out due to the issues listed above.

To better understand the utility land use, I corresponded with Eversource in January 2019.   They outlined that the property owners own the land specific per the language in the easement/deed for each property.  Their rights do not provide for public access.

In reviewing the Wellfleet Assessor office maps, I noted dozens of people who own land under the power lines going north to Truro.   I took the time to reach out to many of them.   Each one of them adamantly opposes this alternative and using their private property/back yards for a bike path.    Many have written to their State Representatives, DCR, Cape Cod Commission, and the Wellfleet Board of Selectman voicing their strong opposition.

In summary, the alternative plan suggesting the bike path under the power lines is not a viable option.   

Tom Schardt


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