by John Dieckmann
As reported previously, the town of Belmont has set aside $100,000 from its capital budget, and the state of Massachusetts has also allocated $100,000 for an in-depth engineering feasibility study of the routes outlined in the report from the Community Path Advisory Committee (CPAC). This is a key step in construction of a bicycle and pedestrian path through Belmont, from Brighton Street to Waltham, as part of the Mass Central Rail Trail from Boston to Northampton.
In essence there are two primary route alternatives, one on each side of the commuter rail tracks. On the south side of the tracks, there two East Belmont variants, one close to the tracks, one closer to Concord Avenue.
Last autumn and this winter the Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee (CPIAC), working with Senior Planner Jeffrey Wheeler, with input from the Board of Selectmen, developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the feasibility study. The RFP was released to potential bidders on March 23. Twelve firms attended the preliminary meeting for potential bidders, held on March 30. Proposals were due on April 22 and six engineering firms responded. (Actually, one proposal was from a single firm; the other five were from teams of two or three firms). Four of the six teams have been interviewed as of the publication date of the Newsletter. Final interviews will be held soon with two finalists, with selection of the winning bidder shortly thereafter. The overall goal is to have a contract in place for the feasibility study before the end of May. The state funding was authorized for the current state fiscal year, which ends on June 30, so it will be necessary to have the contract in place and the funds obligated before then.
For more details, consult the Community Path Feasibility Study web page on the town web site, where the RFP and the proposals are posted, along with other relevant information: http://www.belmont-ma.gov/community-pathimplementation- advisory-committee/pages/ belmont-community-path-feasibility-study-rfp
John Dieckmann is a director of Belmont Citizens Forum and a town resident.