Rails-to-trails push encroaches on future transit options

The Cape Flyer arrived in Hyannis from Boston last month.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File

The Cape Flyer arrived in Hyannis from Boston last month.

The editorial “Cape train breaks pattern of slow, costly transport projects” (Aug. 4) rightly points to the fact that the existence of the rails from Middleborough to Hyannis is what made the project possible in the first place. The editorial further mentions the existence of many unused rail routes. Unfortunately, the MBTA is deeply engaged in a “rails to trails” process in which existing rail rights of way are being converted to bicycle paths with no thought for possible future use of these as rail routes.

Once the conversion has taken place, there will be little possibility of reversing it, as the bicycle lobby would combine with the NIMBY set along the right of way to fight such a move. The rail rights of way are a precious resource that should be banked for the future, not discarded to a purpose unrelated to real transportation.

Ernest V. Loewenstein


The writer is vice president of the Association for Public Transportation.

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