Cyclists pedal through Dartmouth to support bikeway

Sep 16, 2018

When Karen Payton saw a poster for a bike ride along the South Coast, she was quick to sign up, and recruited fellow Natick riders John Buck and Ed Chornoboy to join in. 

She rode 52 miles on September 16 through Dartmouth, New Bedford, Acushnet, and Westport as part of the South Coast Bikeway Alliance’s “Pedal for the Path” fundraising ride.

“I work at UMass Dartmouth, and so I saw the posters and thought ‘oh that’s cool,” said Payton said. “We’re going to do a century in a couple of weeks and thought this would be a good warm-up and practice.”

While the distance was ideal for Payton’s century ride prep, it’s also of special significance to the alliance, as it is about the length of a planned bikeway linking all South Coast towns together. Even the route reflected the mission. 

“I went for safety and scenic views, and also [the route is] on parts of the bikeway,” Medeiros said of the route. “We’ll be on the [New Bedford] Blue Lane, the New Bedford Cove Walk.”

The planned bikeway would connect several existing segments and bike paths, along with new paths and greeways in areas lacking access, to ultimately connect South Coast cities and towns together. Plans in both Mattapoisett and Wareham are advancing, with construction of portions of the bikeway in each respective town set to begin soon. But in Dartmouth -- and possibly Westport -- a clear path forward is needed.

That’s why the group secured community preservation funds from Dartmouth, and is working on a community preservation proposal from New Bedford, to study potential routes to connect the two cities through Dartmouth on a greenway.

The alliance is working with property owners including Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, the Parks Department, and New Bedford Water to pitch a path through protected lands in North Dartmouth, north of Interstate 195.

“A big part of this feasibility study is we’re trying to raise money through grants we’ve been applying for, and one of the things we need to do is demonstrate our own ability to raise funds,” added Bob Espindola, president of the alliance. “That’s what we’re going to be doing now.”