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Randolph Greenway
    Randolph Greenway >> Bear Swamp

    Randolph Greenway:
    Bear Swamp

    Jablonski Property to connect Dog Park

The Town of Randolph recently was gifted two parcels totaling 6.3 acres from the Jablonski family. The gift came with the purpose of connecting the Dog Park open space with the Bear Swamp open space. This project proposes implementing that connection.

    Proposed 2023 project:
  • A crossing on West Street from the Dog Park entrance; with a painted green crosswalk and a "Welcome" sign
  • A crossing on Warren Street into Bear Swamp, with another painted green crosswalk and "Welcome" sign
  • Clearing brush for the gifted parcels, plus the three already Town-owned parcels (about 3,000 feet)
  • Boardwalk construction where the ground is too swampy for a footpath (total about 50 feet)
  • Footpath exits at Thomas Patten Drive (Post Office) and at Edward Scahill Drive (rail trail connection)
  • Over the property line is the Higashi School parking lot, which could be used for overflow parking at Powers Farm events. Current overflow parking is on North Main Street. This would require several hundred feet more of boardwalk.
  • If Higashi School approves, additional boardwalk could connect northward to Randolph Greenway. If not, parcel #29-E-17.17 can connect northward too.
  • Goal is to increase public access and public usage of Powers Farm, and public access and public usage of the footpaths leading to the park. This would increase the "passive recreational" use of the park and its surroundings, especially pedestrian walk-throughs and bicycle ride-throughs due to the increased public awareness of alternative routes.
  • The "big picture goal" is to establish the heart of the "Randolph Greenway" which could extend the entire length of Randolph. This project and our other proposed projects would provide our part of a mostly off-road greenway all the way from Boston to Brockton, and east-west all the way from Braintree to Canton.

    Documents for proposed 2023 project:
  • Bear Swamp Greenway - submitted to the Community Preservation Commission, May 12, 2023
  • Bear Swamp Greenway PDF - view the proposal details
  • Bear Swamp Greenway PowerPoint - download the proposal details
  • This project was turned down by the CPC in June 2023 -- let's address these issues for next year...
    1. The Jablonski family did not donate the property for the purpose of creating a Greenway connecting Powers Farm to Bear Swamp-- that was added for the presentation to the Town Council and I cited it. The Jablonski family's intent should be clarified.
    2. West Street has a pedestrian crossing in place near Fowler Street, but the residents there petitioned the Town Council to add a traffic light. The two crossings might be combined into one.
    3. Warren Street is a busy street with no pedestrian crossing near there, so a new one needs to be created -- perhaps as a raised crossing and/or a traffic light.
    4. The ConComm only took ownership of the parcels in spring 2023, and have no plans or goals yet for adding pedestrian access. I'd like to establish goals for pedestrian access to all ConComm properties, including a vision of pedestrian/bicycle access with signage and passive recreation trails.

    Why would anyone want to hike through a swamp?
  • Swamps are havens for birds, plants, and animals
    (appropriate for field trips for students)
  • Best places to go birdwatching
    (like swan's nest in the swamp below Norroway Pond)
  • Swamps have a bad name, so maybe call them "wetlands" or "fens"
    (as in "The Fenway", the big swamp and great footpath in Boston)
  • People like 'em! "The 10 Best American Swamp Tours To Go On In 2019"
  • Randolph residents like 'em! "Open Space and Recreation" was most popular of Master Plan categories, and is in Community Wellness Plan
  • That's it for the proposal for this year. A few slides more to show the context in a "Randolph Greenway" with more to follow next year....

    We envision this project as the southern section of the "Randolph Greenway." Northward from the Goldstein Open Space (Dog Park footpath) pedestrians can cross Grove Street directly onto the boardwalk southern entrance to Powers Farm. Southward from this newly-proposed park is the following (for a future open space development proposal):

  • The Warren Street crossing could be a "raised crossing" -- see an example I worked on, in Cambridge-Somerville -- at https://youtu.be/t-FqKMb7XK4 -- maybe with a traffic light too. Same for the West Street crossing, which might be painted green to indicate the "Randolph Greenway."

  • Edward Scahill Drive exits to Bittersweet Lane and Highland Glen Drive, which then connects to the Old Colony Rail Trail between several apartment buildings. That rail trail connects northeastward to the existing rail trail at Depot Street, if developed and maintained (it is currently walkable between apartment buildings, but not maintained). The rail-trail right-of-way has been taken over by residential construction on these three streets, but picks up again in the woods to the west of Bittersweet Lane south of Thomas Salamone Circle. A boardwalk could reconnect the broken rail-trail connection.

  • Extending the boardwalk south through parcel "D" connects to more Town-owned swampy/wooded areas. An additional entry point would be the dead end of Cole Terrace, which lets directly onto Town-owned land (without parking because Cole Terrace is residential). The dead end of Cole Terrace is appropriate for another "Welcome" sign.

  • That Cole Terrace entry point lets onto the rail-trail corridor. Next year we'll propose connecting the boardwalk from the Edward Scahill Drive exit to the rail-trail corridor at Cole Terrace. A boardwalk isn't needed along the rail-trail corridor itself -- it's dry -- but only to connect through the swampy area.

  • The rail trail continues south into Stoughton. Councilor Gordon will propose to the Town of Stoughton to participate in extending the rail trail from the Randolph border. It goes through the Stoughton section of the Bear Swamp and could let out onto Technology Drive (at the Kohl's/Olive Garden/ BJ's/Sonesta Hotel parking lot).

  • Bear Swamp also continues southward into Avon. Councilor Gordon will propose to the Town of Avon to also participate in extending the rail trail, which runs along the Stoughton/Avon border and connects to Page Street/Bodwell Street. That would provide a connection to the Lokitis Conservation Area which is opened with a "Welcome" sign in a current project. Bodwell Street runs through the Avon Industrial Park and provides a connection to the Avon portion of DW Field Park.

  • The entire "Randolph Greenway" would connect, mostly off-road, from the Blue Hills in Milton to DW Field Park in Brockton. That's a total distance of about 12 miles, of which about 4 miles is in Randolph. The "Randolph Greenway" would also connect westward to Canton through the Blue Hills, and eastward to Braintree and Holbrook via the Old Colony Rail Trail project. That's the vision that this project is part of.

Committee to Elect Jesse Gordon, 52 West St, Randolph MA 02368

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