Belmont bikers and walkers unite! After months (years? decades?) of hemming and hawing, Belmont’s Selectmen are moving toward a final decision on the question of whether to extend the existing bike path from Alewife to Belmont Center with a meeting this evening from 7-9 PM this evening (January 22) at The Beech Street Center.
The purpose of the meeting is to serve as an abutters’ forum organized by CPAC – the Belmont Community Path Advisory Committee. It will be the last public forum before CPAC submits their report to the Selectmen on the feasibility of an extension of the existing bike path from Brighton Street through to Belmont Center (and beyond).
While there’s broad support in town for extending the bike path to Belmont Center – providing easy access by foot or bike to Alewife (and therefore Somerville, Boston and Cambridge), as well as The Minuteman Trail (with connections out to Concord), there is also considerable resistance by a tiny, but vocal minority of residents- almost all residents of Channing Road, which the path would back up to.
Concern about the impact of the path on quality of life for Channing Road residents is totally understandable, and tonight’s forum will be an important opportunity to hear those concerns and try to find a way forward. But it’s also important to make decisions based on facts, not fear. The event tonight is an opportunity for Belmont residents who support more infrastructure for walkers and bikers to come out and voice their support. Belmont has an unfortunate history of NIMBY-ism and I’m sad to say that we’ve turned away some fine proposals in the past because of fear of change or fear of the unknown. Let’s not let that happen with the bike path!
If you’re interested in getting involved, Sustainable Belmont has a great page that provides some links to resources, including the Friends of the Belmont Community Path Google Group and the Belmont Community Path Facebook group. Finally, there’s an online petition here to show your support!