Wareham Bike Path sets sights on Minot Avenue
Residents got a chance to hear and talk about proposed changes to Minot Avenue Wednesday evening during a presentation on the Wareham Community Pathway, a biking pathway in Wareham that could connect biking/jogging pathways from Fairhaven all the way to Cape Cod.
Michael Langford, chairman of the Wareham Bike Path Committee spoke to about 30 residents at Minot Forest Elementary School about the route through town, the improvements that will need to be made and what the next steps are for the path to become a reality.
The route through Wareham is tentatively set to connect with Marion on Blackmore Pond Road, then travel along an abandoned rail-bed corridor, then head north to Fearing Hill Road, connect to Main Street, then to Narrows Road and Minot Avenue, then head down Onset Avenue, around Onset Village via West Boulevard and eventually onto Cranberry Highway and over the bridge to Buzzards Bay.
The meeting was about the section to be put on Minot Avenue, connecting Main Street to Onset Avenue. Langford said the sidewalk along Minot Avenue would be expanded a few feet on each side to make it a ten-foot wide off-road path for bikes, joggers, strollers, etc. He said this would include some challenges such as moving some fire hydrants and making wetland considerations.
But he also said that in expanding the sidewalk and narrowing the road it would make Minot Avenue safer by forcing cars to slow down and making it impossible to pass.
"Part of this deal is reimagining of Minot Avenue to slow cars down," Langford said. "It doesn't make sense to allow passing, especially by a school."
Langford even mentioned the possibility of a rotary at the intersection of Minot Avenue with Depot Street, Great Neck Road and Onset Avenue, claiming that it would make traffic in that area much smoother and safer for pedestrians, bikers and drivers.
The Committee has been working on the Wareham Community Pathway for a decade and in 2013 was able to bike lane markings down Onset Avenue.
Langford said the pathway project is a combined project with 90 percent of funding coming from the state and federal government and 10 percent by the town. The next step for the Committee is to complete a draft of a "master plan" for the entire length of the pathway and get project approval from Mass DOT for funding.