Thursday Night: Wicked Important Meeting On Community Path. Plan to attend.

Hey Blogging Belmont. Paul here. Just a note to my loyal readers that there’s a really important – no…wicked important meeting tomorrow evening, Thursday, March 7, from 7-8 PM at the Beech Street Center. (It will also air on Belmont Media Center.)

The purpose of the hearing, hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT), is to present the 25% Design plan for the Community Path with the public so that we have the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the final design for the proposed Community Path (Phase I) project. The Community Path is Belmont’s piece of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail.

25% Design On The Agenda

The views and comments submitted at the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible, according to a flier (PDF) circulated by Mass DOT.

For those of you that are new to town or otherwise unfamiliar with the Community Path: Phase 1 is a new, paved shared-use path that will run adjacent to the Fitchburg Commuter Rail from Brighton Street and the end of the Fitchburg Cutoff Pass (which runs to Alewife Station) all the way to Belmont Center. Phase 1 also includes the construction of a new concrete underpass beneath the railroad tracks at
Alexander Avenue to provide a connection from Channing Road and the Winn Brook neighborhood to the Belmont High and Middle School campus – a huge improvement that is expected to provide safe passageway for students and residents and greatly reduce the flow of cars from Winn Brook to the Middle/High School each morning.

At last….

This hearing has been a long time coming, as my loyal readers know. I’ve been covering various hearings and twists/turns in the Community Path saga for more than a decade. But the debate about the Community Path has simmered in Belmont for much longer – dating to the late 1990s. I’ll note – with just a bit of irony – that our friends in China will have built more than 23,000 miles of high speed rail lines in the time it has taken Belmont to just break ground on a strip of asphalt less than a mile long and solely for pedestrian use. Between then and now: scores (hundreds?) of public hearings, debate, rancor, wrangling, and bureaucratic delays. That..umm…says something about the state of affairs in our country, and our state. And it ain’t something good!

But, whatever. At long last, we’re ready to review the plans and get started. So put this meeting on your calendar and plan to attend in person or virtually.

Attend the meeting in person or online

The meeting info is:

When: Thursday, March 7, 2024 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Where: Beech Street Center, Multi-Purpose Room | 266 Beech Street Belmont, MA 02478
How: Follow along LIVE on Belmont Media Center GovTV | Ch 8 (Comcast) | Ch 28 (Verizon)

See you there!