Letter: Decaying footpath is inviting injury

Decaying footpath is inviting injury

To the editor:

I recently learned what it's like to be a pedestrian when I walked from the Unkamet Brook plaza to the Berkshire Crossing shopping center.

After making my way through the Stop & Shop and Petco/T.J. Maxx parking lots toward the unofficial foot path that runs along Dalton Avenue behind Applebee's and Country Buffet, I stepped over the guardrail and headed toward the Callahan Memorial Bridge. Although I had walked the path about 10 years ago, I didn't remember it being dangerous. But there has been so much erosion that the path has become extremely narrow, only a foot wide in some places. A misstep could result in a fall down a steep embankment of 20 or 30 feet. If that were to result in a serious injury there would be no one in hearing range to help, even though hundreds of people drive by hourly on the road above.

Had I known how dangerous it was I would never have taken this route. If nothing can be done to shore up that path and make it wider, then at the least a sign should be placed at either end warning people not to walk there. I am not sure if this is a city or state responsibility but it needs attention.

The embankment is also filled with a great deal of trash, some of which must end up in the water below where I have seen ducks and large turtles. It would take a crew of people to remove it all.

Once I made it to the other end of the path, very relieved to do so, and crossed over Memorial Bridge into Berkshire Crossing there were roomy sidewalks, manicured lawns, and all was pleasant and in good order, in sharp contrast to the rubbish and danger that was hidden from view only yards away.

Cannot some connecting link be built between the two shopping centers to make it easier for those who must walk to access different stores and services? People are often seen using this footpath and some may not realize beforehand how dangerous it is. When I left the Unkamet Brook center I was unable to get a walk signal at the corner of Merrill Road and Crane Avenue where the 99 Restaurant is to cross over to the Stop & Shop Plaza. Although I pressed the signal button several times it cycled through the red and green lights without ever giving a walk signal, forcing me to cross against the red light when there was a break in the traffic.

Being a pedestrian even for a short period of time changes your perspective. Many people do not own a car and must rely on public transportation and their own two feet to get where they need to go. Whoever can rectify these problems might save someone from serious injury.

Carolyn Sharp, Washington, Ma.


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