Sidewalk forum

Cumberland resident Jose Costa shares his thoughts on sidewalks in town with officials at a community forum in the town’s public safety complex last Thursday.

CUMBERLAND – Several citizens gave their thoughts during a June 16 community forum on how they would like to see Cumberland officials proceed on a new initiative to make the town more walkable with better and more sidewalks.

The late afternoon forum, hosted in the community room at the John J. Partington Public Safety Complex on Diamond Hill Road, featured large maps on easels showing existing sidewalks and crosswalks in each of the town’s council districts.

Mayor Jeff Mutter, in an announcement for the event, noted that the Town Council in February approved his administration’s request to fund a comprehensive sidewalk study for the entire community.

The study, to be completed by Pare Corp., will inventory existing sidewalks, prioritize locations for new infrastructure, collaborate with major stakeholders such as the School Department on school walking zones, initiate mapping, and more, he said.

Last week’s drop-in forum was the first piece of community engagement for the important project, said Mutter. A smattering of residents showed up over several hours, most with specific thoughts on sidewalks and pedestrian safety, and officials summarized their points on paper.

Jose Costa, of Carpenter Street, told officials that the sidewalks near his home are in tough shape. He said he would like to see better maintenance and more continuity of the sidewalk.

Ray and Pat Doeg, of Blacksmith Road, said they’re hoping the town will avoid disrupting life on side roads with sidewalks that aren’t needed, and focus on main roads to promote access to different points in town and for students walking to schools. Sarah King, community outreach coordinator for Mutter, said they won’t have to worry about that, as the main roads will be the focus going forward.

Other residents had similar points, some suggesting sidewalks for certain stretches of dangerous roadway where residents don’t currently feel safe as pedestrians.

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