While everyone is anxious to expand pathways to get people out of their cars, Friends of Alewife Reservation remains terrified of the impact the plan will have, without careful consideration of where the pathway is. There has been so very little attention to the rare wildlife reserve that the pathway will transverse. We have lobbied since the beginning of the plan to push the pathway forward with solid, environmentally sound stone dust, and found dead ears everywhere despite its ability to hold tons of weight. The cheapest and best means has been black oil-based asphalt which may very well leach into the wetlands and surrounding steep swales, if there is no attention to the rare Reserve conservation needs. The pathway without careful consideration, may become a heat island and speedway where it is now a cooling and edge habitat for deer, coyote, fox, turtle, muskrat and even beaver. Birds use the pathway now, as they see the berries and seeds better that drop there. on the stonedust. Without consideration for the area, the wildlife, strollers, birders, families and hundreds of employees on Cambridge Park Drive may be negatively impacted. While Mass Highway promised careful consideration of these matters, we have been blocked from any communication with them, and from discussing this further, other than they have listened to us. We were also promised a wood bridge to enter into the Reservation, and have not heard on that either. Although no porous asphalt or concrete has been agreed upon, gray asphalt was suggested and we grabbed the suggestion. We now have no idea whether that will be implemented as well. We are terrified of this fast track bike plan, without consideration for how it is presently used and how to carefully implement this plan to the satisfaction of all interest groups.
Friends of Alewife Reservation
ps. We have worked very hard to bring this pathway about but were pushed out early from the discussion, although our organization understands the abutting wetlands and wildlife needs better than anyone, as we have had the area assessed professionally for wildlife. Now that the MWRA-Cambridge-DCR storm water basin has been given the green light, to our great delight, now is the time to take the true inhabitants of the area seriously, before many of their lives are taken away. A bit of forethought will be helpful here and we are ready to assist in making these projects environmentally sound.
Thanks, Ellen, for all that you do and for your consistent attention to the wildlife perspective on the Alewife Reservation. You add a lot of value and your voice has definitely been heard both by MassHighway and the Cambridge Conservation Commission. They may not accept all of your recommendations, but they certainly have been very respectful of your contributions.
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