Residents have been advocating that the town of Fairhaven, Ma clear the MUP (Multi Use Path), or as it’s more commonly know, the bike path, for three years now. More and more residents have started to make noise about this issue. It seems that because people consider this a recreational path there is no need to keep it accessible to the public. The Phoenix Bike Trail, a rail to trail project, has been around for over 10 years. It has been plowed of snow in the past by the town Department of Public Works (DPW), a selectman, a town policeman and a private citizen on a riding lawn mower with a plow attached. The last three are a testament to the popularity and necessity of this route.
The main grip is that this MUP is the only alternate route to the busy and shoulder-less, US Route 6, part of IKE’s Grand Army Highway System, for those residents on the east side of town. For days and sometimes weeks after a snow storm, town residents are forced to walk this busy and fast highway. Most walk with the flow of traffic which means they have their backs to the oncoming traffic.
The Fairhaven DPW consistently uses the bike trail as a shortcut to the town yard. Trucks equipped with snow plows use this shortcut but are not allowed to drop the plow and clear some of the snow. The latest excuse is that the plows will tear up the pavement. Even the most casual observer knows that during the first pass of snow clearing, nothing comes in contact with the blacktop. The first pass always leaves an inch or two of snow. It takes multiple passes and also salt/sand to get any road down to the pavement. None of that is necessary in this case. All of the path faces south, and all of the path in the winter gets a full day of sun as the trees are bare of leaves. Getting the snow down to an inch or two, one pass of a plow, would be more than enough of an aid to the natural melting and clearing of the path. One day of sunshine would make the MUP passable and prevent people from taking the risk of walking on a state highway. Most of all twelve year olds would not be forced to ride their bikes on this dangerous, shoulder-less high speed road.