Imagine Arlington without the Minuteman Trail. Since opening nearly fifteen years ago, the Trail has enhanced civic life and given area residents an alternative to busy Mass Ave. Indeed, the Trail has become Arlington's #1 attraction - a three-mile continuous sidewalk of human movement that has come to define the Town of Arlington itself.
And yet, every year when the snow comes, tens of thousands of trail users are denied safe access to a crucial community resource. At the very time when safety concerns are highest, these thousands are forced onto sidewalks and streets that are narrower but with traffic that remains dangerous. Trail users are deprived of the peace, calm and traffic-free pace. Wheelchairs and strollers are snagged in the rutted ice and the potential for injury is high.
Year round trail maintenance is not unprecedented. The neighboring commuties of Somerville and Cambridge have managed to seamlessly integrate trail maintenance into their snow-removal plans resulting in year-round access for both commuters and recreational users. Northampton recently implemented a snow removal plan on the Ryan Bikeway. This recreational trail has evolved into a transportation trail and city officials have realized that not plowing the trail and allowing it to remain snow-covered for limited user groups, such as cross-country skiers, is unwise public policy.
Arlington currently provides snow removal from Lake Street to the Cambridge line to the benefit of hundreds of users daily. CTI hopes to educate Arlington officials that the time has come for a comprehensive maintenance policy that provides full access to this crucial community resource.
The Clear the Trail Initiative has developed a list of frequently asked questions to separate the facts from the myths regarding trail maintenance. We have also compiled a contact list for town officials so that you can voice your support for Trail clearing. In addition, we have links to other community groups around New England that have successfully lobbied to have their local Trails cleared of snow, to great community benefit. Want to stay informed? Join our email list.
It's 2006. It's time to Clear the Trail.