Rail Trail Newsletter 12-20-2017 #15

In last month's newsletter I mentioned that "I never thought in a million years that I'd see both of these stories [Weston section of the Wayside Trail under construction and the Somerville Rail-w-Trail beginning construction] in one day." Amazing, I thought.

But this morning, the office of Governor Charlie Baker released the following statement:

"Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito are pleased to share this visual progress report and map series on the exciting work we are doing to maintain and build safe off-road trail networks so that commuters, families, bicyclists, and pedestrians have safe alternative routes to bike and walk. Our Administration is investing in maintaining and rehabilitating our existing trails and MassDOT and EEA are investing in creating more than 150 miles of new, paved trails and closing priority gaps in our emerging network of regional trails. This video report and map series demonstrates a long-term and serious commitment to creating trail networks."

Wow. But read on--it gets better:

"The Baker-Polito Administration embraces trails as a key community development strategy, and now has a senior-level, cross-secretariat Trails Team meeting bi-weekly to understand corridor opportunities, expedite decisions, look for ways to streamline trail project approvals, leverage private sector funding, improve public safety, and become better partners to our cities and towns.
Thank you for your leadership as a champion for creating these safe, off-road trails. There is tremendous local leadership – in cities and towns, at MPOs and regional planning agencies, and among the hundreds of friends groups and nonprofit organizations – and the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to partner with you on this important work. 
The Baker-Polito Administration"
I think we've turned a corner here, people. Amazing. Save the date for our conference at Union Station in Northampton on July 27 and 28. It is going to be a big deal.

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
"In the News"
 and Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
One of the things I love most about land trusts is their can-do spirit.

In this case, I'm talking about the East Quabbin Land Trust and their innovative stewardship of their section of the Mass Central Rail Trail.

In many places, developing a rail trail is an uber complicated affair. Typically fraught--at the very least--with recalcitrant neighboring property owners.

These are projects that are so difficult to undertake that communities will default to using expensive consultants and years of meetings and plans to build something that is largely 90% built already. Click on these two videos and see how volunteers and relatively small grants can do notable things.

JULY 27 and 28, 2018 at Northampton Union Station

The first Golden Spike event about the MCRT was held in Waltham in 2002 on the campus of Bentley University. In subsequent years, we've held events in Somerville, Holden, Northampton, and most recently, in Clinton in 2014. That event included a tour of the long-forgotten 1,000-foot tunnel that overlooks the Wachusett Reservoir.

This year we will hold the event at Union Station in Northampton because though the MCRT has a lot of notable advances in the past few years, the N-S Trail that starts in New Haven, and terminates at Union Station is nearly complete.

This year's Golden Spike will be a 1.5 day event and we'll have updates about both the E-W trail and the N-S trail.

We'll have a notable keynote speaker, networking opportun-ities, an informative plenary session and a variety of walking and biking tours on both days

In the coming days we'll have a section of the MCRT site devoted to a full agenda for the event.

Stay tuned as they say. Click on the image of the DRAFT agenda.
Selectmen Approve Belmont Community Path Route
By  Joanna Tzouvelis , Wicked Local Belmont
After nearly three years of research, consulting, extensive field walks, mapping and 10 public meetings with robust input from the community, the Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee (CPIAC) presented the route recom-mended by Pare Corporation as a result of the feasibility study to the Belmont Board of Selectmen for their approval on Dec. 5. The recommended route is estimated to cost $27.9 million.

Letter to the Editor about the Tunnel being open now

By George Kohout-President of the Friends of Northampton's Trails and Greenways.

For many years the Northampton bike path has dead-ended at the railroad tracks on King Street.
That hurdle has now been removed thanks to the recently opened tunnel that connects the Mass Central Rail Trail’s Norwottuck Branch with the north-south oriented trail to downtown and points south.

No longer do bicyclists and pedestrians need to clamber over the railroad tracks at Woodmont Road or navigate the traffic of North and Market Streets. 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.
Somerville: Friends of the Community Path's Facebook 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.
And here it is, HOT OFF THE PRESS
from the Governor's office this morning
Here's the short video highlighting Governor Baker's commitment to developing the network of trails all over the state.
And here are links to more maps showing progress in a few regions around the state.

C lick on the image above to go to a series of maps that s how the following:
  • Investments since start of the 2015 Administration
  • Trail Projects Under Construction in 2017
  • Trail Projects Funded in 2018-2022 Capital Investment Plan
  • Recreational Trails Program Grant Awards (2015 - 2017)
  • All Trail Projects Constructed Since 2015
  • Funded in 2018-2022 Capital Investment Plan
  • 2015-2017 Recreational Trails Program Grants
‘I’m tired of riding my bike everyday and constantly feeling like I’m going to die’
By Danny McDonald  GLOBE STASTAFF   DECEMBER 02, 2017
Bonnie Pajic was there, but her guerilla handiwork was gone.
The city had power -washed away the squiggly bike lane  she had spray-painted on the northbound side  of the Congress Street bridge last month.
Pajc, a 19-year-old who lives in Dorchester, attends UMass Boston, and cycles to her job downtown, was among the dozens of people that created a human “bike lane” on the bridge, which spans Fort Point Channel, during Friday’s evening rush hour. For about an hour, around 45 cyclists stood in a line on the northbound side of the roadway, in an attempt to draw atten-tion to the need for better and safer bicycle infrastructure in the city. Read more .
Rail Trail: Luxury or necessity?

By Cherise Madigan, Manchester Journal
MANCHESTER, VT — The purchase of a proposed Rail Trail, running from Manchester to Dorset along the tracks of the old Manchester, Dorset and Granville Railroad Co., may come before voters as soon as Manchester's 2018 Town Meeting.

While advocates assert that the trail will expand outdoor recreation opportunities in the region, promote commerce and tourism, and provide off-road bicycling options for residents and visitors, the project has not found unanimous support in the Manchester community.

Abutting landowners claim that the trail invades their privacy and endangers their security, while others have questioned the potential costs of the project.  Read more.
25th Anniversary for the Minuteman Rail Trail
Enjoy this documentary (click image above to see the video) as the Minuteman Trail celebrates its 25 th  anniversary.
Also, you can view some images on my website taken by Ginny Steel of Wayland of the corridor before it was built out as a trail. Click here .

Looking To Bridge
Another Trail Gap
Peter Marteka Hartford Courant  
With construction crews working on the Charter Oak Greenway in sight of Bolton Notch, the logical question is: Where to next?
The newest ribbon of multi-use trail that runs from the banks of the Connecticut River in East Hartford through Manchester and into Bolton has made its way to the Route 6/44 exit of I-384. Read more .
Below Are A Couple Of Stories About Car Companies Helping To Build Safer Biking In Communities All Over
IN ITS FIRST century as a company, BMW has made industrial engines, motorcycles,  Steve Urkel’s Isetta, and a whole lot of cars. Now, it wants to build something altogether new: an elevated bike path.
This week, the automaker’s somewhat redundantly named Research, New Technologies, Innovations division, based in Mountain View, Tokyo, and Seoul, revealed its idea of building a network of bike lanes above street level. It’s called the E3 Way—that's for elevated, electric, and efficient—and BMW says it could help growing cities everywhere fight congestion and ease emissions by making cycling a safer, more convenient, and thus more popular way to get around. Read more here.
The Bay Area’s Expanding Bike Share Is Part Of Ford’s Transition From Cars To “Mobility”

If you rent a bike from the Bay Area’s newly relaunched bike share program, you’ll notice a new logo: Ford. Now known as  Ford GoBike , the system–which is expanding tenfold from 700 to 7,000 bicycles–is part of the car company’s effort to remake itself as a mobility company (technically, they’re calling themselves an “auto and mobility company”).
“Ford has offered a mobility solution for over 100 years, and it’s looked like an automobile,” says Jessica Robinson, director of Ford City Solutions, a team that focuses on new urban transportation options. “But we know that trend can’t continue.” Read more here. And here's another story about Ford's entry into the bike sharing world. Read more and LISTEN here
     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 more of the the Manhan Rail Trail in Easthampton. The video has some things that I'm sure you've never noticed before or some of the background info that you probably never knew. SEE THE VIDEO #13 

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 OR trail group might like to host one.