Rail Trail Links Dennis and Yarmouth

A Wicked Local Yarmouth article written on July 1st, discusses improvements to the statewide trail system and how they have positively impacted the Cape.

Rail Trail Links Dennis and Yarmouth

Wicked Local Yarmouth

Susan Vaughn

July 1, 2017

Gov. Charlie Baker and a delegation of Cape state legislators and officials appeared over the crest of the new Cape Cod Rail Trail Bridge over Route 134 in Dennis and walked down the steep incline to a large gathering of bicyclists, walkers and local officials in the parking lot of the new trail extension that connects Dennis to Yarmouth with new bridges. The occasion June 28 was a celebration of the extension and a chance to announce improvements to the statewide trail system.

Stephanie Pollack, secretary of Massachusetts Department of Transportation who served as emcee for the ceremonies, pointed out the joint efforts of the Trails Team, comprising the governor’s office, the DOT and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The DOT increased funding for the trails to a total of $265 million that will provide trails in nearly 50 towns, she said. Pollack called it a transportation and recreation investment for the commonwealth.

“Making strategic investments like this improve the quality of life,” and “help people connect,” as well as a benefit to tourism, Baker said in his brief remarks. He noted the 12-mile connector to the west from Dennis now adds to the existing 22-mile trail east as one piece of a big initiative on the Cape. “We’ll just keep going until we run out of land and get to the ocean,” he said to cheers, and concluded, “I look forward to seeing all the folks in the spandex going up the bridge.”

Matthew Beaton, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said he did arrive in spandex, riding his bike from Nickerson Park, but changed to street clothes for the ceremonies. The trails team has created trails across the state to Adams, he said. The funding for municipalities has increased 60 percent from $1.1 million to $1.8 million, he said. “I know what it means to so many people.”

State Rep. Timothy Whelan, R-Brewster, spoke for the other Cape legislators present: Randy Hunt, Will Crocker and Sarah Peake, thanking all the local and state officials who were involved in the trail project. He said the extension into Yarmouth has already had an effect on the economy with empty buildings being rented in anticipation of the full opening, which is expected later this summer.

Whelan also announced that the George Allaire Bridge on the bike trail over the Bass River will soon open in honor of the late Yarmouth public works director who championed the trail project for many years.

Dennis, Yarmouth and Barnstable town officials and many others attended the event as did several Cape bicyclist groups in support of the trail. Joan Sacchetti, who rode to the site with other members of the Harwich-Chatham Newcomers Club, called the new bridge and trail extension an exciting development for cycling enthusiasts.

Alice Howe of the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail board, was handing out cards explaining the group’s efforts to extend the Shining Sea Bikeway 6.25 miles from Falmouth through Bourne to the Cape Cod Canal Recreation Path.

Before the state officials arrived, Dennis Selectman Bob Mezzadri noted how the trail extension will be beneficial to Dennis. “It will become a gateway, bridging all the towns,” he said. Before it was just a starting and ending point to the trail, he said.

After the speeches, the bridge was open to everyone to walk or ride over for the first time.

Read the article here.