One of the most significant aspects of the Greenway is its potential to build community. This linear corridor, from Springdale to Hunt Drive, would allow friends and neighbors to take a relaxed stroll right from the center of town.
To the Editor:
I read March 23rd’s letter to the editor: “Too many questions for proposed trail,” and I’d like to offer a different perspective. The author contends that the Friends of the Dover Greenway painted an unrealistic view of the rail trail in their recent newsletter, due to images of a stone arch and horses side-by-side with people. She goes on to suggest that the project is “loosely understood and loosely represented,” and that Dover “already has an abundance of trails,” making this Greenway unnecessary. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
One of the most significant aspects of the Greenway is its potential to build community. This linear corridor, from Springdale to Hunt Drive, would allow friends and neighbors to take a relaxed stroll right from the center of town. It would also provide safe passage all the way to the middle and high schools. I believe that the archway photo, that the author refers to, came from the nearby and much-loved Holliston trail. However, I’d also like to think that its use was symbolic of the connections that can be made through this unique opportunity for our town. I’ve grown up sharing trails with horses in the Blue Hills, and I know that it can be done. With careful planning this asset can be enjoyed by all.
In citing Needham’s trail as a “very wide, treeless, barren swath,” the author fails to recognize that the excessive cutting done on some sections of the Needham trail was not due to the rail trail developers at all. Rather, the clearing was done by NSTAR to protect their transmission lines that ran near the trail. This disregard for the environment by utility companies is something the Friends of the Dover Greenway hope to avoid by leasing the MBTA corridor for recreation and local control.
The author’s claim that the project is “loosely understood and loosely represented” appears to completely ignore the fact that this project has been seven years in the making: It has been comprised of many hundreds of hours of diligent effort by Dover townspeople; two years of discussion, study and outreach conducted by a citizens committee formed by the Dover Board of Selectmen in 2011, as well as a separate Technical Feasibility Study completed by Beals & Thomas in 2015 and presented to the town in 2016. The result is a deeply considered and very well-defined project plan that addresses all the risks and concerns that have been put forward. These documents are available on the town’s website for all to see, and I would encourage readers to review them. Furthermore, the Friends of the Dover Greenway group have hosted numerous community outreach events to listen to and address questions and concerns for all stakeholders in the project.
Lastly, the author suggests that this trail is unnecessary due to the abundance of pre-existing trails in our town. Though I too appreciate the trail network that exists in Dover; however not one of our current trails is fully accessible by everyone in Dover. Those who need a level and easily navigated path are left to walking on our dangerous roads or poorly maintained sidewalks. Approximately 25 percent of Dover’s population are seniors, many of whom need a safe and stable path to allow them to get around town and enjoy the fresh air. When my kids were younger, I took them out many times in a jogger stroller or on their bikes. Unfortunately, we’ve been exposed to winding roads with low visibility and very little shoulder. I’ve even been called irresponsible (and much worse!) for taking my kids on our scenic roads. A path such as this can allow all ages a beautiful, serene way to enjoy the outdoors.