Gloria Braunhardt Bike/Pedestrian Trail
What would you say if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts came up to the City and said, “We’re going to give you a multi-million dollar piece of land for free”? You’d probably say, “What a great deal for the city!” Well the Commonwealth did give us something free. A perfectly paved roadbed that stretches a little over a mile built for heavy trucks so its very design is one of quality and durability. The only condition, if they should ever need it again, they can take it back. The other condition, the area must be perpetually left in open space, no buildings.
So what do you have? A bike trail that is built to last forever that stretches from Storey Avenue all the way to Hale Street. Not only that, the millions of dollars that were spent are already intrinsically built into the roadbed. No new taxes! No paving is necessary, no clearing is necessary and it must be used for passive recreation.
It’s a wonderful shortcut from the Turkey Hill and Quail Run neighborhoods and is easily available to the Oleo Woods, Russell Terrace and Woodman Way residences. Pedaling along with nature so very close, it is also an extremely pleasant way to be close to nature from the comfort of a smooth road. It is one of the most effective single ways for the handicapped to commune with nature on a safe level surface. Try that in Maudslay State Park!
It also is a vital link between two bicycle networks: In the North, it connects with the William Lloyd Garrison Bike/Pedestrian Trail that so grandly crosses the Merrimack River via the John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge and opens up to the bike trails on the far side of the river. On the south end, the bike path opens to Hale Street that connects via Turkey Hill Road and Plummer Spring Road the vast trail networks of Newbury and West Newbury. Hale Street is also part of the East Coast Greenway (www.eastcoastgreenway.org) which is the 'Appalachian Trail' version for bicyclists! This entire network runs from Key West all the way to the Canadian border. The humble 'Gloria's' Trail is an important transit point allowing users to access north of the Merrimack River and at the south end to travel east to the Boston to Border Trail system.
Millions of our tax dollars were spent on the Clipper City Rail Trail. In contrast, millions of dollars have already been spent on the Gloria Braunhardt Bike Trail and no one’s wallet has been affected!
Plus, you are able to commune with nature as you ride your bike or stroll along.
Gloria Braunhardt along with Albert G. Decie II were largely responsible for taking leadership to spearhead the preservation of state-owned Route 95 property that was given over to the city in the late 1990’s. Their citizen advocate group, Citizens for Environmental Balance went on to aide in protecting the Common Pasture, a large area mostly located within city limits; and worked successfully to convince the voters in 2002 to enact the Community Preservation Act in Newburyport. In honor of her drive to protect this environmentally sensitive area, the bike trail was named after her.