VHB Surface Questions

- Trish drew a blank on where the example stone dust or alt surface
trails recently approved by Mass Hi-way are. Can you tell us?

- The variable available width of the trail has been a special
interest of mine. I heard you say the bed varies from 10.5 to 20'. Do
you have a drawing/map showing the width? I've considered proposing
that the trail could actually be two trails at places, paved and stone
dust, as way to accommodate the strong feelings about surfaces. There
is very pretty meadow out towards the Rt 62 end that would be a great
place to have an alternative parallel path, and other places where the
trail was cut, there is high ground. How wide is the Town owned strip
and could we consider a double path at appropriate places? At the east
end there is an alternative path from South Rd through the Elm Brook
Conservation Land that then connects in with the rail trail by the
brook crossing. Through the Trails Comm. public easement project we
hope to make that path a public access and it would be a great
alternate path.

- The State design guide says the town must justify why they are not
using the preferred asphalt. Do you know what the justifications have
been recently?

- Arsenic (and other nasties) are almost always present in rail beds
You confirmed it is present on WBRT. What was the extent of your
testing? For example, did you test enough multiple spots to determine
whether it's pervasive or not along the entire rail bed?

- According to a Globe article a couple years ago about BFRT, the DEP
says the recommended procedure is to cap the bed to prevent exposure
to the arsenic with "asphalt or an equivalent amount of stone dust".
Do we know what the "equivalent amount" is and whether it depends on
how it's stabilized? Is the 'permability' argument used by some folks
favoring natural stone dust countered by the argument that you need to
contain the arsenic with something that is not permeable?

- Carlisle chose stone dust for their town sidewalks/trails, and then
a couple years later redid (almost) all w/ asphalt because the grass
grew over them. The MM Nat. Park trails are clearly not ADA compliant
and barely bikeable in some parts. I'm told the Fort Devens stone dust
paths are a mess. DCR seems to keep up the Charles River trail when I
visited it but Batchelor mentioned that Driscoll does get good support
for his trails. Bedford's narrow gauge stone dust is rutted and poorly
maintained. I believe you specifically mentioned that volunteers keep
the Wachusetts greenway in good condition but w/ a lot of work. Can
you provide a list of stone dust trails that are still in compliance
with ADA requirements after a couple years? And I suppose the tougher
question is how do you even determine that?

- The 12 year comparison costs was good. I believe you included only
the major costs and not the seasonal or yearly items necessary for the
softer surfaces. Is there an existing soft trail where we could get a
good idea of the time and $$ for that? Perhaps talking to the
Wachusetts volunteer group or somebody at DCR to find out how often
they have to do it to keep the trails in top shape?

- In-line skaters clearly can't use stone dust. Does Mass Hi-way
consider the potential users of a trail when deciding whether the town
can opt out on asphalt? Batchelor clearly stated in his 2007
presentation in Sudbury that the State prefers not to 'engineer out'
certain types of users. I heard you or Trish mention that some answers
the State will only give over the phone and not in writing because of
the implications. I guess the question I'm trying to ask is the one I
tried to ask at the presentation - do the projected types of users for
a trail have a big influence on whether the State will accept
alternative, or has this decision become the town's decision? We have
usage counts (for Cathy Lewis) on our paved 1 mile MM showing that
it's very popular w/ skaters and commuters and lunch time exercise

- And finally, and perhaps the most important question - are there
questions we should be posing about the trail that we haven't asked?

I see you are a volunteer consultant for Mass bike on engineering
items. Can we (Bedford/Lex/Burl Bike Comm's) approach you sometime in
the future for a consult? Do we have to wait until your VHB
responsibilities are concluded w/ the Town of Bedford? I would like to
cost out and identify funding sources for a pedestrian/bike bridge or
tunnel to tie Burlington with Lexington and Bedford via Burlington's
landlocked parcel Burlington will eventually develop the property
commercially since they have little incentive to keep it open space
w/o access.

I believe I can guarantee you some quality ride time on Joel's cargo
bike you took a liking to if we can get you to come out to Bedford
again ;v). Thanks for your time.

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