02-Jan-2002: Five hardy souls walked the westernmost section of the path, to introduce the potential intern, Martha Podren, from Groundworks. The meeting that followed had the following conclusions or notes:

Whole Vision: The merits of two strategies for path building were discussed:

  1. Push to build the easy parts first. Hope that extending the current path increases pressure to complete the path.
  2. Reject building a partial solution, hold out for the complete vision. This "averages" the hard parts of the path with the easy ones. The longer more complete path presents a more regionally significant proposal for the state & federal funding agencies.

Alignment: Despite concerns about chasing too many options, it was agreed that there are two active scenarios for how the path might be built:

  1. The path gets built down in the right of way, ignoring the future Green line. The understanding is that the path may be moved should the Green line be built. Some at the T put a 5% chance on the Green line project ever happening, so why spend money that may be wasted?
  2. Build the path to avoid the MTBA's and/or City's preferred Green line alignment.
All agreed the path must avoid embroilment in Green line indecision and politics. The notion was presented that the role of the Friends is to create vision & political pressure, and that detailed design and alignment will ultimately come from the agencies (city, MBTA, MassHighway). Note that Jeff Levine of the city prefers the alignment on the embankment. This alignment has the most access points, and avoids interfering with either the city or MBTA green line alignment.

Lexington report: Bryce reported that the Lexington Friends of the Minuteman advised that contacting all the abutting property owners, very early on, and listening to, and responding to, concerns, was crucial to success. The Lexington Friends advised "immediate if not sooner" action to contact every abutting property owner, especially those who will ultimately object to the path.

Possible tasks for intern: Several possibilities were discussed for the 150 hours of work: a written strategic plan, art (murals, ceramic tiles for later use in the path), mapping, coordination with other paths (with a goal of creating a regional network of greenways), community outreach, grant applications. In general the discussion favored using this 150 hours to design & start the implementation of a community outreach program (and perhaps for other aspects listed above).

Priorities: The following list of major priorities emerged:

  1. Collect letters & tangible indicators of support (an ongoing task for the life of the project).
  2. Ask the Mayor specifically to: * Transfer assesor's maps & land proposals to the MBTA. * Assign an individual staffer to spend time on the path. * Make grant proposals.
  3. Reach out to all abutting property owners, using residents of each block to host meetings or knock on doors.
  4. Seek significant East Somerville representation in the Friends.
  5. Work on seeking MBTA commitment: * First, to provide end-to-end ROW for the path, with the exact alignment unspecified. * Second, to provide detailed promises to transfer specific land parcels, as design proceeds.
  6. Learn the costs associated with each ROW and alignment option (such as moving freight tracks, building ramps). Continue to learn what funding options the city has.
  7. Finish contacting the last abutting property owner, and then start seeking favorable media coverage.
  8. Continue to monitor the status of the project at all active levels (city, state, federal, private) and provide the needed squeak to keep the wheel turning.
  9. Repeat the outreach program as design procedes.
  10. Repeat the outreach program as construction begins.
  11. Bicycle from Bedford to Boston. Wooo hoo!

The Friends may decide to apply for an independent grant (e.g. $5K DEM Greenways, $10K Bikes Belong, $50-$100K MassPike).