Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #3


I think you'll enjoy this update. There's more information about the growing Mass Central Rail Trail.  Also I've come a couple of new stories about how some notable projects got built. I love stories about how iconic projects get built as they are never easy.  And once again, I have a few more tidbits you probably didn't know about!

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Update and Status
Go West, Young Rider
Mass Central Rail Trail's Westward Progress
by John Dieckmann--in the Belmont Citizens Forum. 
When completed, the MCRT will 104 miles from North Point Park (opposite the Museum of Science at the Boston-Cambridge line), all the way to Northampton's Union Station. The Belmont Community Path would eventually be a segment of the MCRT.

Do Homebuyers Value Recreational Trails?
Here's an interesting article from the Belmont Citizens Forum by Richard Stanton, Jr. about the values of residential properties located near to the Minuteman Rail Trail. READ MORE.

Updates on the MCRT

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 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. This is a periodical that has the best info about the MCRT in Belmont. 
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path.  Their Face Book page is here
Waltham: Link here.
Weston: Link here.
Wayland:Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S corridor. 
Hudson: Link here.    
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee.  Once on that page, you can sign up to get notices of meetings, agendas, minutes, etc.  They also have a pretty nice website w pix of the future trail.  Link here.
Clinton: Link here.
Wachusett Greenways area: Link here.
East Quabbin Land Trust service area: Link here.   
Ware:  Check out the town's new Open Space Plan. Link here
Belchertown/Northampton area: Link here.

Here's 3 stories that will amaze you.
The Burke-Gilman Trail
Back in 1971 in Seattle, a “hike-in” and rally was organized by a Ms. Merrill Hille to draw attention and create support for converting the former railroad tracks into a bike and pedestrian trail. 
The Back Story for the Shining Sea Trail that is Still Reverberating Today
For the Transportation Policy geeks out there--(like me) here's the holy grail of a story about one of the earliest rail trails in the region and how it got built despite opposition that took the idea of a publically accessible trail--all the way to the Supreme Judicial Court in Mass. It is the story of how the Shining Sea Trail got built in Falmouth and Woods Hole Mass and it is reverberating to this day. 
50 Years Ago the First Bike Lane in U.S. Opened
By: Peter Flax
One morning in late July 1967, a Davis, California, public works employee loaded a marking machine, letter stencils, and big containers of white paint into a city truck and drove over to 8th Street. It didn’t take long to stripe both sides of 8th between A Street and Sycamore Lane—a distance a little less than a mile long. After the paint dried and stenciled lettering was applied, the 10.5-square-mile city had the first bike lane in U.S. history. READ MORE

Rail-Trail Effect: On the Success of the Minuteman and Other Bike Paths
by Matt Heid. This story first appeared in AMC's magazine, Outdoors, in the spring of 2014.

Just outside of Boston, the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway runs 10 miles from the quiet suburban town of Bedford to the bustling edge of Cambridge. I ride the length of this paved rail-trail nearly every weekday to work and back again—more than 6,000 miles to date, and counting.
In the Last Newsletter, the Story of Schell Bridge in Northfield, MA  was the Most Popular One. 
But Here is the Bigger Story!
The image to the left is the bigger story. You see, in the three state region of Mass, se VT and sw NH, there's an interesting anomaly. There are four former highway and former RR bridges over the Connecticut River that are becoming part of a regional, interconnected, bike network.

READ MORE about these four bridges. READ MORE about Schell Bridge. And there is now, finally, an effort to redeck the ex B&M Bridge over the river here that will provide the connection between Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH.  

I'll have an update about this project after a meeting takes place later this spring. Stay tuned. By the way, I wrote the story about the four bridges in about 2006 and I gave a long, far-away date of 2012 as to a date for the completion.  Boy, was I wrong!
Construction on Greenway Trail in Seymour, Connecticut   Due to Begin on April 1

SEYMOUR -- Construction to the town’s first scenic greenway trail and linear park will get underway April 1.

That’s the good news from Economic Development Director Fred A. Messore.

“It’s very rewarding to see a project through from concept to design to funding and now construction,” Messore said. “This project kicks off Phase 1 and it’s exciting to bring a wonderful amenity to our downtown. It’s exciting that we can finally be part of the Naugatuck Valley Greenway trail system. This will bring more people downtown, creating bike and pedestrian access.” READ MORE HERE.

Building More Bike Paths Right Into Downtown

PAWTUCKET – An off-street bike path running all the way through the city is another step closer after state officials last week announced more funding to improve local bike path

Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced the “first wave of investments,” totaling $10 million, to be funded by the $35 million Green Economy Bond passed last November. READ MORE.

  In 2016, I commissioned Tom Adams of Reelife Productions  to produce a series of short videos about each section of the burgeoning network of rail trails here in the CT River Valley. Turns out that there are 14 and you're gonna love them! 

The one I'm featuring today is about the section of the trail nearest to my house which is also one of the earliest rail trails built in the region. SEE THE VIDEO

Here's my calendar of upcoming in-person lectures, online webinars, bike tours, book-signings etc.   Email me at: Craig@GreenwaySolutions.org for more information on any of these events or if your community might like to host one.