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Old 09-20-2007, 06:59 AM   #1
statler
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Biking in Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Globe
Pedal pushing
Menino mounting bid to make city a bicyclist's dream

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff | September 20, 2007

Potholes, narrow roads, mean drivers.

Riding a bicycle in Boston is something akin to combat. Cyclists routinely rank the city America's worst.

Stung by national criticism and hoping to take a bite out of traffic and air pollution, Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to change that. A newly converted cyclist himself, Menino will announce today the hiring of a bike czar, former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman, and a first phase of improvements to include 250 new bike racks across Boston and an online map system.

In the next several years, Menino said, he plans to create a network of bike lanes on roads such as Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay and the Fenway. Paths could also be constructed to connect the Emerald Necklace system of parks, and the mayor is looking at facilities like showers, bike storage areas, and automated bike rental systems that make wheels instantly available to anyone with a credit card.

"We need to get more people to take the bike around. It's good for their health, it's good for the environment, and there's less congestion on our streets," Menino said. "It's time for this issue to come to the forefront."

So far, the city's most ambitious plans are in a brainstorming phase and could change, officials said. No money has been budgeted for the improvements, and neither Menino nor other officials could offer any commitment on when or exactly what the city will ultimately do. By contrast, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently pledged 1,200 new bike racks by 2009 and 200 miles of bike lanes by 2010.

Boston officials said they are still collecting data from bike commuters about the roads they most frequently travel to guide the city's decisions about where bike lanes should go. To aid in developing a master plan, the city will hold a summit next month of local bike enthusiasts and national experts.

Freedman said the city is committed to becoming more hospitable to bikes and to achieving a large-scale transformation, though some changes could take years.

"Boston has unbelievable potential," Freedman said. "We're a compact city, we're flat, we have a young population and lots of tourists. If we do this correctly, we have the potential to be one of the best bike cities in the country. In three years, I think we will see some very dramatic changes."

Menino's proposals sound a lot like promises that the mayor has made before. In 1999, when Bicycling magazine first labeled Boston the least bicycle-friendly city in the country, Menino established a Bicycle Advisory Committee, and two years later hired a bike coordinator to find ways to make the streets safer.

By 2003, the advisory committee had disbanded and the coordinator, Paul Schimek, was laid off due to budget cuts.

Some bikers are skeptical that this time things will work out any differently. "We'll believe it when we see it," said Craig Roth, a bike messenger who said he rides almost everywhere he goes.

Still, there may be reasons to believe Menino is more serious this time. Several members of his administration have taken up cycling, and last month they persuaded the mayor to get a bike. The 64-year-old mayor now rides a silver Trek around his Hyde Park neighborhood each morning for exercise.

"I love it!" Menino said.

"The problem before was that it wasn't a priority," said Schimek, the former bike coordinator whose main achievement during his two-year tenure was getting nearly 250 bike racks installed. "Now, apparently, it is."

Meanwhile, cities around the country have begun making serious commitments, seeing bikes as a way to begin reducing carbon emissions and get cars off the roads. Chicago opened a $3.1 million Bike Station in 2004 at the downtown Millennium Park, where a $149 annual charge buys showers, towel service, and a personal locker. Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco announced a plan in May to see bicycles used for at least 10 percent of all trips in the city by 2010, and install 300 bike racks and 20 new bike lanes by then. Seattle recently announced a 10-year, $240 million plan for bike lanes and other improvements for cyclists.

Only 1 percent of Boston residents bike to work, according to 2000 US census data, compared with 3 percent of Somerville residents and 4 percent of residents in Cambridge. That city established a bicycle committee in 1991, has several miles of bike lanes, and is considered one of the most bike-friendly places in the country.

Boston is looking at installing bike terminals throughout the city so residents and tourists could rent a bike, ride it, and return it to any terminal in Boston. The concept, similar to Zipcars, was recently implemented in Paris with the aim of having 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations, or about one station every 300 yards. Credit cards are required for a deposit, but the rental is free for the first half hour, the time of most urban trips.

Boston's planners also hope to address a major concern: About one-fourth of respondents to a 2005 Internet poll of area residents said they would ride to work more often if there were showers available.

Officials plan to encourage businesses to offer shower facilities, and will try to encourage local gyms to allow nonmembers to use their showers. The city is also considering coin-operated public showers.

Boston has much to overcome if it's to be a biking mecca. Last year, Bicycling magazine put Boston on its list of worst cities for the third time since 1999, citing its "lousy roads, scarce and unconnected bike lanes, and bike-friendly gestures from city hall that go nowhere."

The Kryptonite lock company this year rated the Hub the third-worst place for bike theft, behind New York and Chicago - a trend evident by the bike carcasses spread throughout the city after thieves have pilfered parts and left the frame locked to the rack.

"It kills me," said Stephen Madden, a Dorchester native and editor of Bicycling magazine. But, he added, "I'd be derelict in my job not to put it on that list."

"My hope is to one day not just remove it from the worst places list but to put it on the best places list," he added. "The Red Sox won the World Series. Anything can happen."

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:15 AM   #2
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plans to create a network of bike lanes on roads such as Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay and the Fenway
And hopefully he means Mass and Cpmm Aves and not a network of side streets approximating their route. The "bike paths" in Cambridge all seem to run along inconsequential residential roads.
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by czsz
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plans to create a network of bike lanes on roads such as Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay and the Fenway
And hopefully he means Mass and Cpmm Aves and not a network of side streets approximating their route. The "bike paths" in Cambridge all seem to run along inconsequential residential roads.
Yeah, but oftentimes, these routes are a lot safer that the "bike lanes" on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge.


I think its hilarious the the overweight person in the Globe picture is a police officer.

Overall, this is another one of those things in Boston that makes the city look like it is the personal playground of Mayor Menino. Bike safety and conditions have been an issue in this city for years, with no action. Just recently, Hizzonor gets a bike and has been tooling around his neighborhood ... so all of a sudden bike issues are a big deal?

So much for responding to consitituents.

Sorry for the quasi-political rant. I won't be offended if it gets moved.

The real point is that improving conditions for bicyclists is a good thing. It helps bicyclists, it helps reduce traffic by turning drivers (or T-riders) into cyclists, maybe it will help to reduce potholes for all road users ...
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ckb
Overall, this is another one of those things in Boston that makes the city look like it is the personal playground of Mayor Menino. Bike safety and conditions have been an issue in this city for years, with no action. Just recently, Hizzonor gets a bike and has been tooling around his neighborhood ... so all of a sudden bike issues are a big deal?
Exactly.

How funny is that graphic showing public showers for bikers to clean up in? HAHAHA. That'll be the day.
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:51 PM   #5
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How funny is that graphic showing public showers for bikers to clean up in? HAHAHA. That'll be the day.
Yikes. Larry Craig would have a field day in one of those.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:00 PM   #6
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They're gonna have to come up with an automatic system that thoroughly washes and disinfects the showers at least 10 times after every use before people will even think about getting into a public shower.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:42 PM   #7
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It would need to burn itself down and regenerate itself for me to even consider it.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:11 PM   #8
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Biking sucks.

If you really want to lose weight, go for a jog or long walk.

You get prostate cancer. ( I know we all will when we're 80, but i'd rather not have to pee every 20 minutes when I turn 35 thank you)

Cars are faster.


The list goes on and on.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:19 PM   #9
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Huh, biking causes prostate cancer?

Sometimes bikes are faster. I can often get from Davis Square to the North End on a bicycle without once coming to a full stop. That's impossible in a car.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:36 PM   #10
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I can often get from Davis Square to the North End on a bicycle without once coming to a full stop.
Now I know who consistently clips me while rolling through a red light...
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:01 AM   #11
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If you're a Boston resident, biking is the way to go. I could get from my apt in JP to basically anywhere in Boston/Cambridge in under 30 minutes. No traffic or parking worries, no car insurance, minimal maintenance costs.
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Blah blah blah
Shut up.
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Old 09-24-2007, 01:15 PM   #13
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I'm a cartoon character stereotype of an annoying idiot!!
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen
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Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Blah blah blah
Shut up.
I would make the request that briv strike this post from the record or move it from this thread because it is not in line with the op.
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
I'm a cartoon character stereotype of an annoying idiot!!
Answer me this: when you're going for a ride from jp to Cambridge, when you get off in Harvard square, is your ass sore?

It is. Even with the seats designed to limit pressure on your ass.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
I'm a cartoon character stereotype of an annoying idiot!!
Answer me this: when you're going for a ride from jp to Cambridge, when you get off in Harvard square, is your ass sore?

It is. Even with the seats designed to limit pressure on your ass.
So you're saying that riding a bike is a waste of time because it hurts your ass? Or maybe you're saying that it's a waste of time because dirty hippies in JP and Cambridge do it? I really can't tell. Please enlighten.

For the record, I don't own a bike. I just think you're really, really stupid.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:13 AM   #17
bosdevelopment
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Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
I'm a cartoon character stereotype of an annoying idiot!!
Answer me this: when you're going for a ride from jp to Cambridge, when you get off in Harvard square, is your ass sore?

It is. Even with the seats designed to limit pressure on your ass.
So you're saying that riding a bike is a waste of time because it hurts your ass? Or maybe you're saying that it's a waste of time because dirty hippies in JP and Cambridge do it? I really can't tell. Please enlighten.

For the record, I don't own a bike. I just think you're really, really stupid.
Dirty Hippies do ride bikes but that's besides the point. Designers even make seats for people that don't want to put pressure on their prostate:

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...=17880&src=TSC

For the record, you're a gay.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:26 AM   #18
PerfectHandle
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Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
I'm a cartoon character stereotype of an annoying idiot!!
Answer me this: when you're going for a ride from jp to Cambridge, when you get off in Harvard square, is your ass sore?

It is. Even with the seats designed to limit pressure on your ass.
So you're saying that riding a bike is a waste of time because it hurts your ass? Or maybe you're saying that it's a waste of time because dirty hippies in JP and Cambridge do it? I really can't tell. Please enlighten.

For the record, I don't own a bike. I just think you're really, really stupid.
Dirty Hippies do ride bikes but that's besides the point. Designers even make seats for people that don't want to put pressure on their prostate:

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...=17880&src=TSC

For the record, you're a gay.
I'm so happy you said that. You're such a ridiculous person. I love it.

When you get a chance I'd like to find out if you're more concerned that a bike seat will give you prostate cancer or that it will turn you gay.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by bosdevelopment
Answer me this: when you're going for a ride from jp to Cambridge, when you get off in Harvard square, is your ass sore?
No. I rode 55 miles on Sunday (http://www.HubOnWheels.org). My legs were a bit sore afterwards, but not anything else.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:59 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Globe
State eyes extensive bike trail expansion
Parks agency plans an $82m network

By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff | October 8, 2007

As officials cut a ribbon tomorrow to launch construction of a 6-mile bicycle "rail trail" from the Lowell-Chelmsford line to Westford, top state parks planners say it could be the first in a latticework of more than 100 miles of bike trails they are planning statewide.

The state's parks agency, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, has mapped out a dream plan of $82 million in trails that it says would one day allow riders to bike 120 miles from Lowell to Westfield, or up the Ware River Valley almost to New Hampshire, or along the Mystic River to the beaches of Lynn.

The plan, DCR officials say, is a blueprint that could take years, if not decades, to make a reality; rail trails - bike paths built on abandoned rail beds - are notoriously difficult projects to complete, with delays often caused by opposition from abutters, squabbles over funding, and plodding bureaucracies.

But state officials and trail enthusiasts are feeling more optimistic than they have in years about the prospects for making the state a national showpiece for off-road biking, hiking, and rollerblading trails.

"Bike trails involve modest investments of public resources but pay enormous dividends in public health and well being," said state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles, who oversees DCR. "A small program of investment, over time and with mostly federal dollars, can result in an extensive network of trails where citizens can walk, ride bikes, and enjoy the great outdoors."

Advocates see a host of factors falling into place: Existing trails such as the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Minuteman Bikeway through Lexington and Arlington have proven to be immensely popular; Governor Deval Patrick has begun working to maximize state access to federal rail-trail funds; public concern about global climate change and childhood obesity has increased interest in more and better bike trails; and the growing market of nature- and trail-loving "eco-tourists."

"There's potentially a big logjam that's about to break," said Steve Winslow, president and founder of Bike to the Sea, a group campaigning for a "Northern Strand Community Trail" along an old railroad from Everett to Lynn whose supporters earlier this year laid down 40 tons of stone dust for a 500-foot Everett stretch. "The Commonwealth is getting a little more involved, which is great, because they're realizing that someone needs to marshal the communities and get them to work together."

Even as the Patrick administration faces a $19 billion backlog of transportation maintenance, Bowles said he is confident bike-trail spending is affordable and a good investment.

Dan Driscoll, the DCR's senior "bikeways and green infrastructure" director who earlier in his career helped spearhead development of miles of new trails along the Charles River, recently completed the agency's statewide bike trail plan.

The plan includes existing trails and potential new ones being pursued by state and local government and private groups. Driscoll said the state could construct crucial trail segments, including connections from the Minuteman Trail to both Charles and Mystic River trails, for $82 million - a small fraction of $19 billion in transportation spending Patrick identifies as needed.

Several new trail segments are getting underway:

DCR and the MBTA are negotiating terms of a 99-year lease by the parks agency of an old rail corridor the T controls between Waltham and the Central Massachusetts town of Berlin. Nonprofit local land groups, including Wachusett Greenways and the East Quabbin Land Trust, have begun working on upgrading the rail line for cyclists and strollers west of Berlin to connect to the existing Norwottuck Trail from Belchertown to Northampton.

The Massachusetts Highway Department is scheduled later this year to award an estimated $550,000 contract for a 1-mile stretch of new rail trail in Mattapoisett that would link to an existing Fairhaven rail trail and serve as a key link in a future route extending through Marion and Wareham to the Cape Cod Canal.

Meanwhile, officials on several fronts are working to reduce common objections to rail trails. For example, in response to concerns from residents in some rural areas about the urban look of paved trails, DCR is considering the use organic soil additives to create firm, smooth surfaces in the Ware River Valley and the Southern New England Trunkline corridor along the Rhode Island border.

State Senator Pamela P. Resor, an Acton Democrat who leads a caucus of legislative bike-path supporters, said pending legislation to make sure land owners face no legal liability from accidents on paths using their land or easements could remove one significant obstacle to path development.

Trails often face opposition from homeowners and business owners who fear the impact of hordes of bikers and other trail users. Plans for one trail north of Boston are being battled by a Topsfield group called the Coalition for Children's Safety and Serious Concerns Regarding the Proposed Topsfield Rail Trail Project. In Concord and Sudbury, homeowners battling planned trails say the trails are bad for the environment because they could threaten habitats for endangered species, arguments state regulators have not ruled on.

Driscoll, battling assertions by some groups that trails could bring crime to nearby residential neighborhoods, cited several national studies that conclude bike trails have no impact on crime or reduce it. "Nationwide, all the concerns over crime and vandalism - they never happen," Driscoll said. "There are not many groups they don't make happy, with the exception of abutters."

Peter J. Howe can be reached at howe@globe.com.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Globe
A look at several rail trail projects underway across the state, from west to east

October 8, 2007

Pittsfield/North Adams, Ashuwillticook Trail: Pittsfield studying 3-mile extension of Ashuwillticook Rail Trail from Lanesborough line. Department of Conservation and Recreation considering northern extension to Adams with spur to Mount Greylock State Park.

Southwick: Massachusetts Highway Department and federal funding approved for 6-mile extension of Connecticut's 25-mile Farmington Valley Greenway.

Northampton: $4.5 million renovation of existing DCR trail planned, also $2.2 million extension from Look Park to Leeds

Belchertown: Town Land Trust controls 6 of 9 miles of former Massachusetts Central Railroad, envisioned as the spine of a 150-mile cross-state rail trail.

Hardwick, Ware: East Quabbin Land Trust developing rail path, with $750,000 state planning grant to Hardwick.

Ware River Trail: State owns 15.7 miles of abandoned rail corridor from Smithfield village of Barre to Baldwinville village of Templeton, but Route 2 embankment now blocks path.

Oakham-Rutland-Holden-West Boylston-Sterling: Wachusett Greenways, towns, others have developed 11 of 30 miles, built four bridges, raised $1.2 million of $2 million for construction. Bridge over Route 140 in Boylston, tunnel under Route 56 in Rutland needed.

Berlin to Belmont: DCR and MBTA are negotiating 99-year lease for parks agency to control former Massachusetts Central rail corridor, but Weston residents in 1997 voted not to participate.

Southbridge to Webster: $200,000 state funding committed for 11-mile trail design and preparation through Dudley and Thompson, Conn., to Webster.

Millbury to Uxbridge: Blackstone River Bikeway connections being planned by DCR to 8-mile path now open in Cumberland and Lincoln, R.I.

Douglas to Franklin: DCR developing plans for $10 million upgrade of 23 miles of old Southern New England Trunkline railroad from Boston to New York, including unpaved/rustic areas for mountain bikers and horse riders.

Upper Charles: Holliston officials have negotiated unsuccessfully for 10 years with CSX Railroad to buy rail line. A 3.5-mile path section opened in Milford this summer.

Bruce Freeman: Ribbon-cutting tomorrow for construction start for $4.2-million, 6-mile stretch from CrossPoint Towers in Lowell to Westford. Westford-Acton-Concord-Sudbury stretch is planned, needs funding. Last 4.6 miles from Sudbury to Framingham still owned by CSX Railroad.

Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown: DCR developing bikeway connections from Minuteman Bikeway along Alewife Brook Reservation to Mystic River Reservation ($2.5 million) and along old Watertown branch rail line from Fresh Pond to Charles River bike paths (cost unknown).

Bedford: Town planning 2.2-mile Minuteman extension.

Newton: DCR estimates 1.2-mile connection from Riverside MBTA station over Route 128 and Charles River on abandoned rail line to Wellesley Lower Falls would cost $1.75 million.

Neponset River: State master plan complete for $5 million bikeway/greenway from Central Avenue to Paul's Bridge and half-mile link from Freeport Street to Morrissey Boulevard.

Malden: Mayor in September signed lease with MBTA for Malden stretch of 10-mile Everett-Lynn "Bike to the Sea/Northern Strand Community Path."

Danvers-Wenham-Topsfield: Metropolitan Area Planning Council hopes to open 8.2 miles of Border-to-Boston Trail by 2017.

Swampscott: Town planning 1.4-mile connection from Walker Road to existing Marblehead Trail.

Hingham-Cohasset: MBTA building Wompatuck Corridor path connection as Greenbush commuter railroad mitigation project.

Fairhaven-Wareham: Mass. Highway Department scheduled to award contract for 1-mile extension in Mattapoisett of 3.5-mile Phoenix Trail in Fairhaven, part of a future rail-trail extension through Marion and Wareham to the Cape Cod Canal.

Falmouth: State in April gave town environmental approval for 6-mile extension of Shining Sea Bike Path north from Carlson Lane on disused rail line.

Yarmouth: $114,000 Cape Cod Commission planning funds committed for extension of Cape Cod Rail Trail west from South Dennis.

Nantucket: $1.9 million state funding earmarked for Cliff Road path.

PETER J. HOWE
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