Dear Boston Park Commissioners:
Franklin Park has incredible potential as a recreation resource for people from all walks of life and all parts of Boston. But as it is currently configured, it has not yet fully become the magnet for fitness activities that it can be, and this is of particular concern as we face a global obesity crisis. Golfers, university and high school track teams and other sports teams use the park, but we at the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition are concerned about the average Bostonian, and how they use the park.
Getting rid of an outdated law against cycling on Franklin Park’s paths is, we believe, a promising step toward a park that can welcome fitness seekers of all kinds. Cycling is a low-impact but high-intensity exercise that has been proven to aid weight loss and improve cardiovascular health. Many of the park’s paths are wide enough to accommodate both walkers and cyclists, and the more people that are welcomed into the park, the better park security becomes.
Franklin Park is also a safe place where parents can take their children to first learn to ride a bike, and where people of all ages who wish to improve their cycling skills can come with peace of mind for their safety.
In the future, when more funding is available, we hope the commissioners will consider improvements to paths and roadways that would more effectively welcome cyclists to the park. Conflicts between users, when and if cyclists arrive in greater numbers, can then be mitigated with simple signage and road striping that designates separate space for walkers and wheeled traffic such as bikes, rollerblades and other sporting goods.
If our parks and open spaces are not places where all reasonable forms of fitness are possible, to where do we turn?
Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition