We are excited to present our first Local TrailBlazers spotlight with Sean Polay of the Sandwich Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee. Through the committee, the Town of Sandwich is working to enhance the community with innovative biking and walking resources that will improve local transportation and recreation options as well as the regional economy. Sandwich Bikeways is an important partner organization for the Friends as we work towards our goal of connecting region to the rest of the trails of Cape Cod.
We recently interviewed Sean to learn more about the exciting work being done in Sandwich.
What is the Sandwich Bikeways & Pedestrian Committee?
The committee’s mission is to preserve, promote, and enhance the Town of Sandwich’s biking and walking resources. Appointed by the Board of Selectmen, the committee recently steered a master-planning effort as it works toward connecting the Cape Cod Canal bike path with a planned off-road path along Service Road -- which will join a broader network of trails, both completed and in development, from Woods Hole to Provincetown.
What projects are considered priorities for Sandwich?
The committee will leverage the master plan that was completed last year to explore both near-and-long-term options to expand safe walking and cycling routes to link residential neighborhoods to points of interest throughout the community. Specific areas of focus in 2019 include:
Development of a mountain bike trail system in the Maple Swamp Recreation Area, a key adjunct of the future Service Road bike path and the region’s mountain biking trail network.
Advocating for infrastructure improvements on Freezer Road to better connect the Cape Cod Canal Path to Tupper Road and the community.
Improving pedestrian crossing infrastructure on Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads to ensure safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the many businesses on Cotuit and existing and future recreation areas on Quaker Meetinghouse (Oak Crest Cove, plus the future skate park and tennis/pickleball courts co-located with new public safety complex).
Why is it important to support bike and pedestrian projects on Cape Cod?
We’re hyperfocused on the economic impact that improved cycling options can have for area businesses. As we work on connecting the canal and Service Road paths, it’s important to our committee that we ensure cyclists can make their way into Sandwich village, which provides a natural point of respite and refreshment for cyclists heading from Bourne to Barnstable and beyond -- or vice versa. It’s equally important to us that improvements in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improve the quality of life and safety for Sandwich residents for both recreation and commuting.
What does the Bourne Rail Trail represent for Sandwich Bikeways?
The BRT would provide a direct, long-term benefit to Sandwich by directly connecting the Cape Cod Canal pathway with the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth and serve as an important milestone in the realization of Vision 88 -- a regional effort to build a continuous shared-use path from Woods Hole to Bourne, Sandwich, and onward to Provincetown.
Bourne’s effort dovetails with work in our town to connect the Cape Cod Canal pathway through Sandwich village to a planned shared-use path along Service Road. That path will eventually connect to the Cape Cod Rail Trail extension in Barnstable.
It is vitally important to us that Vision 88 becomes a reality, and the 6.2 mile gap in Bourne is a critical connection. Completion of the BRT Phases 1 and 2 will have immense short-term benefit to Sandwich cyclists by creating a continuous path from Sandwich to Monument Beach and Monks Park -- two areas frequented by Sandwich residents for recreation. It also will provide greater attraction for cycling tourists who instead of terminating their ride at the Tidal Flats Recreation Area near the Railroad Bridge may continue on into Monument Beach for refreshment at several businesses there. Conversely, cycling residents of and visitors to Monument Beach may more safely reach the Cape Cod Canal pathway, enabling them to bike directly to Sandwich too.
How can BRT supporters get involved with Sandwich Bikeways?
The SBPC recently submitted an application to The League of American Bicyclists to be assessed as a Bicycle Friendly Community. Part of the application process includes an online public survey for residents, cyclists and advocates to share their experiences and perceptions about cycling in Sandwich.
The survey is available now through March 24, and should take 10-15 minutes to complete: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/app_BFC_SP19. Aggregated, anonymous responses will be shared with SBPC as part of the Bicycle Friendly Community Feedback Report. Regardless of whether Sandwich meets the conditions to be designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community, the assessment provides a road map for making the town more bicycle-friendly.
Of course, we also welcome BRT supporters to attend our bike rodeo in April and Bike Your Park Day in September.