I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of this month's Assabet River Rail Trail grand opening (Sept. 24, 9 am to 3 pm, Hudson & Marlboro). How many years now have we heard that this would be the year at least a portion of the Cochituate Rail Trail would open to the public? (The crtrail.org's Framingham section helpfully advises that "the Town expects to open a short section of trail sometime in 2004." Sigh.)
At the Framingham Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee this week, I heard comments that the Assabet trail is quite nice, including a beautiful tunnel under the I-290 connector. Committee members also expressed confidence that the Cochituate trail will be even nicer; but at this point, I'd happily settle for usable, safe, reasonably appealing and open sometime this decade. This is NOT meant a criticism of the people working on the Cochituate trail, by the way - a group of very dedicated and hard-working individuals.
But I'm a bit baffled as to why it seems to take just a few months from concept to construction for, say, a new Lowe's store on Rte. 30 in Framingham (I haven't seen the final plans, but I fear it will significantly more pedestrian-hostile to the streetscape than the NE Telephone building that was there before it); yet plans for a trail for walkers and bicyclists in Framingham and Natick are going on half a decade. Sure, Lowe's will be paying property taxes. But so do the walking and bicycling citizens around here.