Rail Trail Newsletter 7-2020 #45

Sorry for the delay. Real estate continues to be busy with multiple offers commonplace around here. And the Covid fallout has an interesting twist. Since employers have discovered that staff can work remotely and still be productive, that is translating to the employees coming a realization. Why should they 30 miles or so from the big city when they can live 100 (or more) miles out and still be productive. In the past few weeks, I've picked up new buyers from SF, NYC and the Boston metro west areas. Their "commutes" are about to improve for sure.

In other news... MassDOT still hasn't released the long awaited Mass Central Rail Trail feasibility study, but not much longer I'd say. The release will be on a Zoom meeting format and they've already done an official 25% design hearing remotely (for a segment of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail actually) and I've put a link to that in this newsletter. If you've never been to an official MassDOT 25% design hearing, well you just have to check that out.

Other interesting things are... Boston TV channel 5's acclaimed show, Chronicle, is doing a series of shows about some of the myriad of rail trails in Massachusetts. The first one is in this newsletter about the trail in Newburyport. Next week, will have more stories. Another interesting story is that a section of the trail in Swampscott is under construction. And the vote in Dedham was negative--first time years that a rail trail in Mass had a negative vote. The Chronicle show coming out next week interviews Decham folks on both sides of the issue. The trail won't be going away though. As I say, "Good ideas never die."

 Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 CraigDP413@gmail.com

In the GREEN area, news
about the Mass Central Rail Trail
and its connecting paths
In the News!
Updates About the Longest Developing Rail Trail Project in the Northeast U.S. (and trails that connect to it.)
A little RR history of the MCRT in Sudbury and a couple of updates on the ongoing development of the trail in both Somerville and Belmont
SUDBURY --------------------SOMERVILLE ----------------- BELMONT
Here's an interesting website that has photos and stories about the location of the South Sudbury Station in Sudbury at the junction of the N-S line, now the developing Bruce Freeman Trail. And E-W line, now the developing Mass Central Rail Trail. Read more .
PROGRESS ON THE COMMUNITY PATH IN BELMONT --A part of the Mass Central Rail Trail
Progress on the Phase 1 design of the Belmont Community Path continued during the first half of 2020 despite coronavirus constraints. Nitsch Engineering, held a critical meeting with MassDOT and MBTA officials at which the MBTA clarified its requirements for access to the Fitchburg Line on the north side of the tracks. Read more .
'Haiku in Hadley' greets visitors to the MCRT
HADLEY — Small signs featuring brief, three-line poems, aiming to convey, through words, the transition of spring into summer, are greeting bicyclists, walkers and joggers along the Mass Central Rail Trail.

For Wanda Cook, Hadley’s first poet laureate, the 14 displays of haiku poetry on the Hadley section of the bike path, installed in various places Sunday, should give people both enjoyment and a chance to catch their breath. Read more
Communities on the 
 on the MCRT and their websites

Did you know that many communities (or groups like land trusts) on the MCRT alignment are working on their section of the trail? 

Here are links to websites where you can learn who the contact person is, when these groups meet, when hearings are being planned and how to sign up to get notices sent to you directly.
Belmont: Link here  to the town appointed committee. 
Belmont: Link here  to the Belmont Citizens Forum.
Belmont: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group.
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group. 
Waltham: Link here to the Waltham Land Trust's site.
Walham: Link here to the Waltham Bike Committee.
Waltham: Link here to the City's page about the MCRT.
Weston: Link here to the town's page about the MCRT
Weston: Link here to the history of both the RR and the advocacy to create the trail. Over 25 years of advocacy. It is now open.
Wayland: Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S intersecting trail--Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. 
Hudson: Link here for the NE-SW intersecting trail--Assabet River Rail Trail.
Berlin-Hudson: Link here to the new FaceBook group.
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee. They also have a pretty nice website with pictures of the existing dead RR corridor along other maps and images of a future trail. Link here .
Wayside segment of the MCRT: Link here to a history of DCR's efforts on this.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here .
Clinton Tunnel: Link here to a story on WBZ Boston TV about the tunnel.
Wachusett Greenways area: Link here .
East Quabbin Land Trust: Link here
Palmer coming soon 
Ware:  Link here to the Facebook group about this segment of the MCRT'. 
Belchertown: Link for the site for Friends of the Belchertown Greenway.
Amherst, Hadley on DCR's Norwottuck section of the MCRT: Link here .
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails website.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails Facebook.
Schell Bridge planners seek input on adjacent park design
By ZACK DeLUCA s taff Writer
Published: 7/2/2020 5:21:57 PM
NORTHFIELD — The Friends of Schell Bridge is seeking community input by July 10 to help choose one of two possible design plans for a small park that will be created next to the bridge. Read more .
Why East Coast Greenway should be a focus of federal stimulus
by Dennis Markatos-Soriano. Executive Director of the East Coast Greenway.
There is one place that people have been flocking to more than ever in this challenging crisis: greenways and trails all over the country. For example, East Coast Greenway segments from New England to the South are hosting record crowds of people walking, running and biking – often double and even triple numbers from last year. Read more .
On June 27th, over 6,200 votes were cast on the Rail Trail referendum. This was the highest voter turnout for a local election in over 10 years. The No votes edged out the Yes votes by 249 votes, a 52-48% margin. So what happens now?
Swampscott Rail Trail
Wow! The first segment in the protracted Swampscott Rail Trail began construction on a small section in early June. Read more on that .

To see the elaborate plans and detailed documents on the 20+ year project click here . ( This is a great example of 'never giving up.' Every rail trail project that has been voted down in Massachusetts in the past 25 years has been resurrected and is at yes now. Except for Dedham. That too will be resurrected. CDP)
Art on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
CONCORD, MA—Inspired by NYC's En Plein Air doors on the Highline, " Go Out Doors " is West Concord's newest public art exhibition, installed along the recently opened section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Designed to raise awareness of local bike trails as part of an interconnected system throughout the region, this exhibition will run from July 1 – November 30, 2020.
Massachusetts Rail Trails on Chronicle.
Here's the first of a series of segments about the burgeoning network of rail trails on Chronicle--Boston TV channel 5's acclaimed series. See the video.
A Productive Summer for Lynn, Saugus, and Malden
Seems like there's more people than ever using community trails this year, so we're thrilled to see existing paths being enhanced and others being added throughout our communities!
Ways to Become More Involved
But there are always more trails to advocate for, as well as increasing safety for people walking, biking, skating, or really doing anything off of motor vehicles. We are currently seeking new board members to fill the soon-to-be-open roles of Treasurer and Secretary. Read more.
MassDOT holds an official 25% Design hearing on-line.
If you've never been to a 25% design hearing, well hear you go. You are going to both enjoy it and learn something too. Read more .
Historic Standard Gage building in Poughkeepsie, NY to be renovated by Scenic Hudson
The abandoned property was recently purchased by Northside Junction LLC, an affiliate of Scenic Hudson, the environmental advocacy group announced. Read more . AND Read the official press release here . ( I love seeing 19th and 20th century industrial buildings in urban neighborhoods getting remade for 21st century uses. CDP)
Interesting and Pertinent Stories From Around the Country or sometimes beyond.
Quarantine Week 7: To hit the bike trail or stay home. For some, that's this week's question

You're stuck at home, feeling trapped. Maybe you're working in the home office, and now job and home-life are mushing into some hazy time continuum. 

You're probably not even wearing real pants right now... Read more here.

Meet the Pedal People, Northampton’s Bike-Powered Cargo Haulers. Mass Streets Blog had a nice story about the Pedal People this week--CDP
Pedal People services approximately eighty public trash cans, and also provides trash pick-up services for ten to twelve percent of Northampton’s roughly 11,200 households. Read more here.
I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing.
Why do American cities waste so much space on cars?
As coronavirus lockdowns crept across the globe this winter and spring, an unusual sound fell over the world’s metropolises: the hush of streets that were suddenly, blessedly free of cars. City dwellers reported hearing bird song, wind and the rustling of leaves. (Along with, in New York City, the intermittent screams of sirens. Read more .
One page bio
of what I do
Amazingly, Constant Contact alerted Tiffany Lyman-Olszewski, the editor here, that this newsletter is in the top 10% of all of Constant Contact's newsletters, worldwide, in terms of readership engagement.
Imagine that !