Northshore Magazine

November 2014

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 34 of 259

November 2014 33 with its location at the junction of the North Shore's most important high- ways and proximity to Boston's commuter rail, Reading is known for being extremely accessible by car and train in any direction. "When the trains came in, that made this more of a bedroom community," says Sharlene Reynolds Santo, chair of the Reading Historical Commission. Despite that association with motor- ized transportation, a group of citizens is trying to ensure that walking takes a strong foothold in Reading, too. Walkable Reading encourages citizens to get out and walk, whether it's around their neighborhoods, through the town's conservation land, or in the downtown. "It's a group of volunteers who really love to get out and walk and want to share that joy with others," says Walkable Read- ing volunteer Gina Snyder, who also vol- unteers with the town's trails committee. To encourage walking in Reading, the group works with the trails committee, Reading Open Land Trust, and town departments to do things like repair boardwalks on trails; encourage residents to keep sidewalks clear; and ensure the maintenance of walker/biker-friendly features, like bike lanes and crosswalks. They also worked with the town to cre- ate maps of various neighborhoods that feature safe walking routes—many of which provide the option of connecting to different neighborhoods by walking through conservation land. The maps are available on the town website and include information about how long the routes are and where to walk. "We made sure that the routes had sidewalks all the way," Snyder says. "Some of those walks have a little op- tional dotted line if you wanted to take a walk through the woods." In fact, Snyder says Reading's con- servation land is among the town's true gems, especially the Town Forest, which features wide, well-marked paths and trails and views of the Ipswich River. Walkable Reading has also sponsored events, like the Walk Reading Weekend, which encouraged people to walk and log their miles—a total of 321.5 miles from 80 participants last year. In addition, they have worked with the trails committee to lead guided walks through conservation lands. "It's really nice to walk through the woods," Snyder says. "And there are a lot of opportunities to do that in Reading." photographs by robert boyd feature Walkable Reading Woodland Walks Kurchian Woods Left, Town Forest

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