Opinion: Mattapoisett should reconsider sidewalk plan

Nov 20, 2023

To the editor: 

The November 14 meeting of the Mattapoisett Select Board concerning Trees and the Main Street to Marion Road project brings us back to the removal of many trees. The public should be made aware that the Select Board’s vote to approve Proposal 4, with sidewalks added to the south side, will require the removal of many of the old heritage trees in the Village. And because the electrical wires are on the north side of the street, no new trees will be planted on that side of the street, leaving our Village void of trees between Barstow and North Street and unable to plant new trees in this area.

The electrical review submitted to the Select Board by Carlos DeSouza, PE suggests ½ mile of the roadway be put underground. This will not only save trees, it alleviates wires crisscrossing the roadway, and it avoids unsightly extensions on the utility poles for mandated clearances. Yes, this option should have been discussed earlier, and now that it has been brought up, are we doing enough to convince Eversource that this is the time to take ½ mile of the many miles of utilities that line our streets of Mattapoisett and put them underground?

Further down the road on Beacon Street, where Proposal 4 only has a sidewalk on the north side of the street, adding a south sidewalk will again require the removal of many of the old heritage oak trees. And while sidewalks are a good thing as noted during the meeting for the runners and walkers going to Ned’s Point, Ned’s Point Road does not have any sidewalks and we all manage this route. Therefore, adding the south sidewalk on Beacon Street does not need to happen if adequate crosswalks are put into this road plan.

Sidewalks and crosswalks, when properly placed, enhance walking, safety and access;  equally heritage trees in our town enhance Town character and provide needed shade. We can have both without the removal of large parts of our tree canopy.  Join me in asking the Town to reconsider their recent decisions to remove so many stately oak trees from Water and Beacon Streets.

Sandra Hering, Mattapoisett