Wellfleet Residents Seek End to Route 6 Bike Plans with Petition

WELLFLEET – A petition signed by more than 1,100 people will soon be presented to the state’s highest official challenging a bike trail extension and infrastructure along Route 6 in Wellfleet.

The petition calls for halting plans by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop a 50-spot parking lot and bikeway terminus on Route 6, along with a MassDOT project for a bikeway along the busy roadway.

Concerned Citizens for a Sensible Wellfleet Bikeway, and Wellfleet and Outer Cape residents, believe safety is a major concern.

“It’s directly across the street from a memorial ghost bike where a young man from Wellfleet was killed a few years ago,” said Dale Donovan, a member of Concerned Citizens for a Sensible Wellfleet Bikeway.

Donovan said the planned two mile extension of the bikeway would enter Route 6 in its busiest portion between Provincetown and Orleans.

The petition was also signed by more than 200 residents from other Outer Cape communities who believe they will be impacted by the project narrowing driving lanes on Route 6 to make space for the two-way bike path.

“It’s simply not going to work there because it is a very narrow road,” Donovan said. “They are very limited in what they can do.”

Concerns have also been raised over ending the Cape Cod Rail Trail at a terminus on Route 6 and the construction of a parking lot next to the terminus.

“The town fought, with some vigor, to prevent an expansion of Cumberland Farms, which is right up the street and would have nothing compared to the impact of this operation,” Donovan said.

Donovan said if this was a private project it would never receive Cape Cod Commission approval.

“A 50-car parking lot on Route 6 in a very busy spot – it just makes no sense,” he said.

The petition effort follows a town meeting vote that directed the Select Board to address the issue with state officials to postpone the plans and reevaluate the situation.

“The [select board members] to date have done nothing on it,” Donovan said.

The Select Board appointed a Bicycle and Walkways Committee, which unanimously supported the town meeting article.

“They have been basically given the back of the hand by our board,” Donovan said.

The group hopes to present the petition to Governor Charlie Baker, Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr and State Representative Sarah Peake.

“Senator Cyr and Representative Peake has had staff members at all of these meetings and so they are very aware of the problem and have been pretty supportive,” Donovan said.

The petition also directs the state departments to collaborate with the town on alternative bikeway projects.

“There are other ways that could be used for a bicycle path and there are some people who have real knowledge of the town who have suggested such a thing,” Donovan said.

He said bicycling on the Outer Cape is not used for transportation as much as it is for recreation.

“It involves mostly tourists who aren’t familiar with the area who may not be experienced bikers,” Donovan said. “Most of the experienced bicycle people, including the people who own bicycle shops, think this is a crazy idea.”

Donovan said they want a better path with a goal of taking it all the way to Provincetown, but that this plan is not the right way to accomplish that.

He said serious cyclists realize that the plan would create a real serious problem.

“They would much prefer to have a path off Route 6 that would extend farther to Provincetown,” Donovan said.

The group hopes the petition will lead to the Select Board to take action

Donovan said it is frustrating to see other communities like Dennis, Orleans or Eastham with multi-million dollar bridges or other infrastructure.

“We are sort of getting the short end of the stick and creating a very dangerous situation that our rescue and police officers will have to deal with when the inevitable accidents occur,” he said.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.

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