Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity Project
Updated March 11, 2020
The Town and the Cape Cod Commission (CCC) have completed a Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) to Drive-In Parcel Bicycle Path Feasibility Study which investigated the potential for a north-south bike path connection along a large swath of Town-owned land between the CCRT by Bayberry Hills Golf Course, and Route 28 in the vicinity of the former Drive-In site at 669 Route 28 along the Parkers River. The full Report can be viewed at the link below as well an excerpt of the Summary & Recommendations portion of the Report.
The origins of the bike-path extension concept came from a recommendation in a 2017 Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel (ULI-TAP) assessment for enhancing economic activity along Route 28. To vet this idea, the Town worked with the Cape Cod Commission (CCC) through the District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) grant program to identify and evaluate opportunities and impacts for a range of alternative routes, as well as providing typical pathway cross sections, material options and rough cost estimates. An alternatives analysis was also conducted to identify potential issues for each alternative route related to hunting areas, town land management operations, water and wastewater facilities, cranberry bog operations, wetlands, private property impacts near Route 28, and land restrictions associated with wellhead protection and conservation lands.
Town and Commission staff received a great deal of public input on the bike path alternatives through two public workshops, a public survey, and direct comment through email and by phone. Workshop attendees generally expressed interest and support for the bike path idea but with concern about road crossings (especially Route 28) and cost. Survey responses were less supportive. Although the number of responses in support was roughly equal to the number in opposition, a significant number of respondents said they have concerns about a bike path impacting wetlands, bogs, open space, existing trails, and wildlife; along with concerns about road crossings, safety and high project costs. Survey respondents did express support for providing bicycle accommodations along existing roadways rather than making new paths in undeveloped areas. The email and phone input was overwhelmingly and strongly opposed to the bike path extension idea. Many commenters indicated that they appreciate the existing trail system the way it is and enjoy its tranquility and natural state, especially as so much of the Town is developed. Concern about cost was also a frequent comment.
Given the extent of routing challenges associated with providing a bike path through the town-owned land between the CCRT and the former drive-in parcel, as well as public opposition and concerns, Commission staff recommended that the Town consider options other than the routes through the undeveloped Town owned land to advance similar objectives and improve bicycle accommodations and connectivity. Town Staff has summarized these recommendations into short-term and long-term next steps as outlined below:
Short-Term Next Steps:
1. Bicycle Accommodations along Existing Roadways: Design is currently underway for a 10’ wide shared use path along the east side of Higgins Crowell Road from Buck Island Road to the roundabout. This pathway will provide critical connections between the CCRT, the Sandy Pond Recreation Area, woodland trails, schools and residential neighborhoods. The Town is continuing with design, permitting and identifying funding for the project including grant opportunities. The DPW recently submitted a MassTrails Grant application for partial funding of the project.
2. Advocate to MassDOT for improved bicyclist accommodations on Route 28. Town Staff participated in a recent Road Safety Audit conducted by MassDOT along Route 28 from Iyannough Road to the Parkers River Bridge. This Audit suggested evaluating the feasibility of constructing a shared use path along the south side of Route 28 or including bike lanes. The Town can continue to advocate with MassDOT on improving bike accommodation as part of any planned work, including the Route 28 repaving project.
Long-Term Next Steps: The following are longer term steps that can be taken, however, staff workloads and prioritization of other on-going Town initiatives may impact the viability of moving forward in the short term.
1. Evaluate participation in the Complete Streets program – The MassDOT Complete Streets program provides opportunities for towns to obtain funding for bicycle/pedestrian improvements following adoption of a complete streets policy and development of a prioritization plan. This funding could be used to make bicycle and pedestrian improvements along existing roads to build out the network of connections.
2. Consider establishing a bicycle and pedestrian committee. Bicycle committees can help communities identify needs, goals, and priorities for improving pedestrian/bicyclist travel and safety, as well as identifying the challenges, funding opportunities and implementation strategy.
3. Evaluate expanding bicycling accommodations along other existing roadways. Several roads in the project area could provide bicycle connections between the CCRT and Route 28, including Forest Road, Higgins Crowell Road, and West Yarmouth Road. Forest Road has an existing shared use path that could be extended to connect to Route 28 and the CCRT.
For further information, see the links below:
- CCRT to Drive-In Parcel Bicycle Path Feasibility Study – Summary & Recommendations
- CCRT to Drive-In Parcel Bicycle Path Feasibility Study – FINAL REPORT – Feb. 2020
- Yarmouth Bike-Ped Connectivity Workshop PowerPoint Presentation – August 7, 2019
- Bike-Ped Connectivity Map – North Side – August 6, 2019
- Bike-Ped Connectivity Map – South Side – August 6, 2019
- CCRT to Drive-In Parcel Trail Connection – Alternatives Development Report – February 2019
- Riverwalk Park and Looped Boardwalk Plans and Amenities - 2018
- Yarmouth ULI-TAP Report (October 2017)