Phase 1 (currently under design): A shared use path along an old railroad right of way from
Washington Street Extension to Goose Pond Lane, and a section of bike lanes
along Orange Street from Goose Pond Lane to Spruce Street AAA
Future Phases: Widening of Washington Street, between Commercial Street and Francis Street, and Orange Street, between Spruce Street and the Rotary, to accommodate 4 foot wide bike lanes on both sides of the street.
Project Overview: The “In-Town Bike Path” was first cited as a priority bikeway project in the "Nantucket Bikeway Master Plan" prepared by the Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission (NP&EDC), 1977. In October 1993, the NP&EDC approved the "Long Range Transportation Plan", which specifically cited the In-Town project as "an important link in Nantucket’s bikeway network". The NP&EDC then approved the "Nantucket Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan”, prepared by VHB, in November 1994, which designated "the lack of an integrated system of bicycle routes connecting the town center with the outskirts of town" as the "most pressing issue related to bicycle transportation in Nantucket". On April 3, 1995, the NP&EDC confirmed its bicycle facilities priorities, rating the In Town Path as its highest priority.
In 1996 the County of Nantucket acquired the right of way along Goose Pond Lane, as well as a portion of a raised berm originally constructed in May 1880 for the Nantucket Railroad. By 2007, the NP&EDC had completed a review of design alternatives and options, which included the evaluation of a boardwalk. Ultimately a 10 foot wide shared use path along the old railroad right of way, along with bike lanes along sections of Washington Street and Orange Street were selected as the preferred alternative.
Preliminary design plans for the first phase of the project was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in January 2012 for review, and the NP&EDC programmed the project into the regional Transportation Improvement Program to received federal and state construction funding. In May 2014, with no direct impact to the abutting wetlands, the Nantucket Conservation Commission issued an Order of Conditions for the construction of the first phase of the project, and other permitting needs are being finalized. Construction of this phase of the project should begin in 2015, and design of the future phases of the project would begin soon after.
Timeline & Relevant Documents
1977: Nantucket Bikeway Master Plan
1996: In-Town Bike Path Washington Street Ext Easement Plan
1997: Town Meeting appropriates $140,000 for design funding
2012: MA Dept of Transportation Plan and Profile of the In-Town Bike Path (25% Design Plan)
2013: Status of In-Town Bike Path Update to Board of Selectmen
2014: MA Dept of Transportation Pan and Profile of the Orange Street & In-Town Multi-Use Path (75% Construction Plans)
2014: Town Meeting appropriates $50,000 in supplemental funding
2014: Conservation Commission approved Order of Conditions dated May 29, 2014 (approved Plan)