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Local News

March 12, 2014

Danvers hopes to reroute part of rail trail

Path would avoid Agway parking lot, go through Putnamville Park

DANVERS — Rail trail enthusiasts have come up with a plan to improve the trail and get joggers, walkers and cyclists out of the busy parking lot at the Danvers Agway store.

They want to refurbish Putnamville Park on Wenham Street, which is next to the Agway parking lot, and reroute the rail trail to go through it.

The rail trail currently runs through and along the edge of the parking lot. Routing the trail through the park would make it safer and enhance the playground, which does not get much use, rail trail proponents say.

The proposal goes before the Conservation Commission tomorrow at 7 p.m. in a meeting to be held at Danvers Senior Center, 15 Stone St.

Charles Lincicum, chairman of the Rail Trail Advisory Committee, said safety has been paramount in the development of the 4.3-mile rail trail from Peabody to Wenham. A short stretch just south of Wenham Street has proved vexing because it mixes pedestrians and bicyclists with cars and trucks in the parking lot of a store.

“We’ve got to separate the people from the cars,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential.”

The trail was constructed following the path of an old MBTA railroad, along the edge of the Agway parking lot. The area can be a tight one for parking, because no parking is allowed on Wenham Street. Tractor trailers also back into the lot to make deliveries.

This part of the trail has proved popular, with 300 to 400 people a day using it in good weather, Lincicum said.

The plan is to have the trail jog right into the park, Lincicum said. The problem is there is a 30-foot-wide wetlands area between the trail and the park, so the plan needs approval from the Conservation Commission. The trail has to cross into wetlands because there are two telephone cabinets at the southern tip of the parking lot that cannot be moved to make way for the trail.

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