Letter to the Editor: Against the Rail Trail
I am writing in response to the June 20, 2018 letter in the Lynnfield Villager and also the Lynnfield Patch article regarding the Rails to Trails from the medical professionals. I agree with their comments that exercise is beneficial to physical and mental health. My family and I have lived in Lynnfield for over 40 years and we exercise regularly, even during our harsh winter months. I am able to walk on our street and sidewalks because they are plowed. Most trails are not, but if the trail was plowed, it would be an added expense to our ever increasing tax bills. There are bikers, walkers, runners, baby carriages, dog walkers and etc. all over town. We have miles of sidewalks and a multitude of safe neighborhoods in Lynnfield where we can enjoy these activities. What I have realized is that exercise is a Choice not an infrastructure, and Lynnfield has served us well.
I would like to point out a few other issues. There would be only two entrances to the proposed trail, Pillings Pond Road and Summer Street, and the majority of people in town would have to ride their bikes on the streets of Lynnfield to access them. Isn’t the argument of safety then defeated? Or if they drive their cars, they would have to park on the abutting roads. There just isn’t adequate parking for both residents and non-residents to drive their cars to the trail.
Also, the Department of Environmental Protection has concluded that all railroad beds have some kind of contamination, and if they are disturbed, they can be dangerous. If we disturb the railroad beds to build the trail, we run the risk of possibly contaminating our water and air. Please keep in mind that half of Lynnfield is on well water. We exercise, we eat organic to stay healthy, but then the Rail to Trail could expose us to contaminated water and air. The MBTA will not permit us to test the railroad bed before we sign the lease. The MBTA also requires that the town of Lynnfield will hold the MBTA harmless. Doesn’t this make you just a little suspicious?
Newburyport found contamination during construction of their Rail to Trail even after they tested the railroad bed, and a trail in Miami has been shut down because of contamination they found after millions of dollars were spent to build the trail and millions of dollars for the cleanup. It could happen here as well.
DEP felt so strongly about possible contamination that they published a white paper entitled “Best Management Practices for Controlling Exposure to Soil during the Development of Rails to Trails” which outlines actions a town should take before committing to signing the MBTA contract. These actions need to be followed.
There are many factors that need to be considered before we commit to building the proposed Rail to Trail, and every citizen of Lynnfield should be informed.
I believe we should do all we can to keep our environment clean and to minimize the number of environmental cancer cases here in our beautiful town.