In Town Bike Path
The Town of Nantucket is currently overseeing a project to provide the community with a safe, dedicated bike and pedestrian facility from downtown to the Milestone Rotary as an addition to the Town's extensive Bike Path Network (PDF). The project is currently divided into phases and includes a shared use path along an old railroad berm from Washington Street Extension to Orange Street as part of the first phase, and bike lanes along Washington Street and Orange Street as part of a future phase.
Phase 1 (currently under design):
May 2017 update – A shared use path along an old railroad causeway, originally built in May 1880, is currently under construction from Washington Street Extension to Goose Pond Lane, with a short section of bike lanes along Orange Street from Goose Pond Lane to Spruce Street part of this initial phase. Much of the construction, including base pavement of the path and roadway, was completed by the 2017 summer season, with remaining activities to be finished before the 2018 summer season. This 2.4 million dollar construction project is funded with federal and state aid and is overseen by MassDOT. Design and permitting was primarily funded locally with private contributions and Town capital funds.
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
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 (PDF))
2013: Status of In-Town Bike Path Update (PDF) to Board of Selectmen
2014: MA Dept of Transportation Pan and Profile of the Orange Street & In-Town Multi-Use Path (75% Construction Plans (PDF))
2014: Town Meeting appropriates $50,000 in supplemental funding
2014: Historical Concerns Presentation (PDF) to Board of Selectmen