To the editor:
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Think globally, act locally.” With the climate crisis affecting our weather systems so profoundly — fires from Alaska to Hawaii, floods from Vermont to Pennsylvania, water shortages and droughts from California through the Southwest — one often feels overwhelmed by the problem. However, we can begin mitigation right here and now. There is money to improve our rail trail. We have been informed that it will be allocated to replace the two small bridges at the Salem end. As someone who bikes this path many times weekly, unless ugly is a structural hazard, they do not seem threatening. Meanwhile, the path in recent weeks has suffered from the following: huge, long gouges that threaten bikers’ stability, some substance dumped to absorb the now ever-present rains that allows zero wheel traction, endless rocks jutting out that are losing the bright orange paint helpful scouts put on them to aid in speedy identification and encroaching invasives.
One of the primary contributors to our enormous load of greenhouse gasses is emitted by the transportation sector. Many people will not ride bikes because they are afraid to ride on the roads. Our bike path is not much more inviting these days. For our health, our children’s health and our town and planet’s health, safe, well-maintained bicycle paths can make a real impact. People will get out of their cars, breathe the fresh air, appreciate the beauty of nature and get where they are going. Please, work on the utility of the path rather than the aesthetic of the bridges.