Rail Trail Newsletter 4-11-2020 #44

Since my last E newsletter in the first week of March, our world has dramatically changed. Social distancing is in our everyday thoughts and vocabulary now. Indeed, many of our treasured parks have closed to preserve that social distancing. The unexpected thing is that many entities that have closed parks and sometimes trails, have compensated by de-laning some roads or closing them altogether to outside traffic in order to make them safer and more well-used by bikes and pedestrians. We are in interesting times for sure.

And please note the story below about the Somerville Community Path Extension--a component of the Mass Central Rail Trail-- is finalizing it's design and they'd like your input. Please watch the video and the, take part in the quick the survey.

And you'll also see a couple of stories about something you might not have thought of. For example, when the entire rail trail network in your community is completely built out, are you done? You'll see below there are a couple of stories about the City of Northampton working with local citizen groups to purchase open space parcels that do connect to the over-all rail trail network and that is happening here.

Stay safe and keep your social distance.

 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.
West Boylston section of the MCRT is CLOSED!
WEST BOYLSTON — Because of a large number of visitors, the West Boylston portion of the Mass Central Rail Trail has been closed to the public.
Town Administrator Nancy Lucier said in a post on the town’s website that the action was not taken lightly. READ MORE
Valley residents hitting area trails to combat cabin fever
NORTHAMPTON, MA– The way Brant Jones sees it, it’s pretty essential that he get outside at least once every day amid the COVID-19 outbreak — just as it’s essential his daughters, Winnie, 11, and Piper, 9, get outdoors, too. Read more .
Andrea Hairston was already a pretty serious bike commuter, riding through most kinds of weather to her teaching job at Smith College. Read more.
Somerville Community Path E xtension presentation by Alta Planning + Design.
View a ~20 minute Presentation about the different options to the project. LINK HERE to the video.
Password: PLY7tWUc
Then complete a Survey by Sunday, April 19, at Midnight. LINK HERE TO THE SURVEY
Beaver Brook Greenway opening celebrated
A network of volunteers, the Broad Brook Coalition and the Leeds Civic Association have worked over the past three years to make the conservation land more accessible to the public.  Read more .
City purchases 44+ acres of Diocese-owned land to link the Mass Central Rail Trail [In this locale it is best known as the Mill River Greenway] that will link the Mill River to Broad Brook. Read more.
And I don't usually do this, but it is so serendipitous to the two stories to the left
Here's a short video of a little house I have for sale that is next to and near to the conservation lands noted in the stories to the left.
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 nascent 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.
Dedham Vote Postponed, an Important Endorsement and an Impromptu Volunteer Cleanup day - with Proper Social Distancing
Yes, the Covid-19 situation has caused the town to delay the vote about the rail trail, but a few other things are happening there. At their March 11th meeting, the Dedham Commission on Disability voted 4 to 3 to endorse the concept of converting the Dedham rail corridor into an ADA compliant path. Some of the Committee Members cited the positive impact that such projects have on other communities Read more here.
News from the Plainville, CT section of the New Haven to Northampton Canal Green-way Trail.
Plainville is CT's last gap in the 84 mile trail. This project has been a point of conversation for many residents for some time. In 1996, Southampton Mass was the only community on the entire corridor to vote it down. However, around 2010, they revisited the idea and voted in favor of the project and are now getting the money in place to build it out. Read more
Here's a look at the issue of gentrification after building a big tourist attraction in a Gateway city. In this case Poughkeepsie, NY and the Walkway. The longest ped bridge in the word.
Interesting and Pertinent Stories From Around the Country about Covid 19
Oakland, CA to restrict cars on 74 miles of streets paving the way for bikes and peds.
Cars will soon be restricted from 74 miles of Oakland's residential streets during the coronavirus inspired shelter-in-place, a move bicycle advocates wish would happen in other cities. Read more here.
Brookline Boards Endorse Car Lane Closures to Give Pedestrians More Space
By Christian MilNeil Apr 8, 2020 MassStreetsBlog
Town of Brookline officials have approved a plan to close motor vehicle lanes on four major streets in order to give people adequate space for social distancing while walking to essential jobs and services in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more her e .
Pedestrians to take over parkways in Boston and Watertown
By Matt Berg Boston Globe Updated April 10, 2020 Beginning Friday at dusk, three roads will be closed to vehicular traffic and opened for pedes-trian use, according to a statement from the Baker administration. Recreational use on the following roads will begin Saturday at dawn:
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