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Citizen's Petition Articles Make It On Special Town Meeting Warrant

A Needham resident seeks to establish two committees to address safety and recreation issues.

Two citizen’s petition articles will appear on Needham’s Oct. 29 special Town Meeting warrant—one seeking to create a bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee and the other seeking to create a rail trail committee to study the town’s two section of unused railroad right-of-way.

Both articles were submitted just under the deadline of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 by Ridgeway Avenue resident Thomas Connors and have been certified by the town clerk's office. To appear on a special Town Meeting, citizen’s petition articles must include the signatures of 100 registered Needham voters, according to the petition sheet included in selectmen's agenda packets.

The first petition article reads:

The selectmen shall appoint a bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee to prepare and recommend a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan for the town, to include improvements to streets, sidewalks, street crossings and the proposed rail trails. The committee may consult with and make recommendations to individuals, departments, agencies and committees. The committee shall recommend a proposed Needham bicycle and pedestrian plan to the selectmen for their adoption.

The second petition article states:

Whereas the town has two distinct sections of unused rail right-of-way, from Newton to Needham Heights and from Dover to Needham Junction.

Whereas the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has voted to grant the MBTA authority to engage in a long-term lease for the two sections to the town for possible conversion into rail trail greenways.

The selectmen shall appoint a rail trail committee to study both sections and recommend a proposal for conversion of the unused rail sections into a linear park greenway. The committee shall conduct an inclusive public process of engagement with stakeholders, in particular the individuals, businesses and institutions in the neighborhoods near the rail lines, to ensure the proposed project has community input and support. The committee shall recommend a rail trail conversion plan to the selectmen for their adoption, with Town Meeting approval.

Selectmen did not discuss the two petitions at their meeting Tuesday night but voted to accept the articles and to close the warrant. They are expected to discuss individual warrant articles at their meetings on Oct. 2 and 23.

Other articles appearing on the Oct. 29 special Town Meeting warrant include three Community Preservation Act projects, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"cpa-funding-sought-for-parks-projects"} -->, two zoning amendments and several appropriations—such as $55,000 for engineering and design of a replacement boiler at

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