Town Should Re-Think The Wauwinet Bike Path

John A. Martin •

To the editor:
Patrick Reed, Transportation Program Manager and the NP&EDC are following a 45-year-old plan to construct a bike path along the Wauwinet Road. Much has changed in 45 years. In the old plan, bike paths provided access to public beaches in Madaket, Cisco, Surfside and Sconset right at the end of the paths. The old plan proposes paths to Quidnet and Tom Nevers where there is public access to beaches. Most of these destinations also have food vendors and lavatory facilities. Missing from the 45-year-old plan is a path along Bartlett Farm Road which would provide access to Cisco Brewers, Bartlett Farm Market and eventually the beach.

Conversely a Wauwinet bike path would terminate at the Trustees gate house. A view of the harbor is a 0.3 mile walk away and the Trustees' reservation with public access to beaches is a 1.5-mile walk. Unlike 1977 when we stayed at the Wauwinet Inn, the current inn property is for guests only.

The only reason to pursue a Wauwinet bike path is a possible Federal grant of $1,283,200. Just like the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska which was built for no reason except that federal money was available. The better possibilities for new bike paths are being ignored because of federal money.

However, when the Federal Highway Administration – Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division realizes that federal land being accessed under the Federal Land Access Program is a difficult six-mile walk from the end of the proposed path, and that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed this federal land to the public, these funds may evaporate. Nantucket needs to provide $320,800 in matching funds to obtain the federal grant. What happens to that money if the feds pull out? Why not use this money toward some path that is more worthy of the effort.

Finally, the total $1,604,000 proposed is for only half the length of the Wauwinet path, where does the money come from to finish it?

The powers that be need to re-think the Wauwinet bike path.

John A. Martin, Wauwinet

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