How to connect two Upper Cape bike paths is the subject of a soon-to-be-released draft feasibility study by the Cape Cod Commission’s Transportation Department.
The Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth and the Cape Cod Canal bike paths in Bourne are well used by both residents and visitors alike. They are components of a region-wide network that allows users to travel across Cape Cod in a healthy, sustainable manner.
This study examines the feasibility of connecting these two facilities to further expand the Cape’s trail network. In addition, the Commission is working with its partners to expand the existing Cape Cod Rail Trail from Bourne to Provincetown. Completion of all the components would create a separate bike path from Woods Hole in Falmouth to Provincetown.
The Cape Cod Commission engaged state and local agencies, officials and advocacy groups for possible use of the existing 6.25 mile rail line from County Road in North Falmouth to the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne. The draft will be released for their review and comment.
There are no preferred options, but an identification of issues and advantages of each. Preliminary estimates of costs associated with each option are also presented.
The “rail-to-trail” option includes replacing existing rails with a paved multi-use path and upgraded bridges at existing bridge crossings. “Rail-with-trail” involves fencing and grading for construction of a paved multi-use path adjacent to the existing rail line to maintain rail viability. This would require new bridges at water crossings. Road crossings would be either via new bridges or at-grade.
Commission staff has participated in meetings with local organizations that have shown an interest in the project. Meetings and workshops attended include those hosted by the following organizations:
Friends of Falmouth Bikeways
Bourne Transportation Advisory Committee
Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail
Bourne Council on Aging
Military-Civilian Community Council (MC3)
Upper Cape Transfer Station Board of Directors
The draft is planned to be released in the coming month. Its findings will be presented to the Cape Cod Joint Transportation Committee at a future meeting.