Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #7


Sorry that I've been delayed getting this out.  I've been buried w real estate happenings the past few weeks and I'm just now finalizing this issue.  You'll see that there is a lot going on. Both good and bad.  Enjoy this update. And hot off the press this week, Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways is hiring a part-time Field Organizer.  More on this in the next issue.


Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
"In the News"
 and Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
MCRT route through Somerville is not fully locked-down 
  (I'll try to have, for each issue,  an update from at least one section of the MCRT.  - CDP)  First up, is an update about the Somerville Community Path and its Extension or as it is lovingly called by the Friends group there--CPX-- 

Brief History: After 13 years of tireless advocacy by the Friends of the Community Path and other CPX stakeholders, MassDOT and the MBTA announced in May 2014 that full CPX would be built as part of the State’s Green Line Extension (light rail) project (GLX)

Dictionary of acronyms.
CPX = Community Path Extension
MassDOT = Massachusetts Dept of Transportation
MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
GLX = Green Line Extension (new light rail transit line being planned)

However, as part of GLX cost reduction effort in 2016 the State (MassDOT and the MBTA) reneged on this commitment to build the CPX as part of the GLX.

Due to efforts spearheaded by the Friends and supported by many stakeholders, $20 million of the planned CPX was restored to the GLX project.   READ MORE

Mass Central Rail Trail tunnel project on schedule

The railroad underpass off King Street is set to be completed on schedule and on budget, project officials said at the work site Thursday.

Tim Doherty, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s director for the project, said the underpass is still set to come in at $4.4 million and be completed by the end of October.  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 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.

My Memories of David Burwell, his Mother and the Inspiring House in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. 
 Here's a story about how I came to meet David Burwell, Founder of RTC.   READ THIS ESSAY    
Assabet River Rail Trail progress report

By David Mark  At a July 2016 ceremony in Maynard, representatives from the Massachusetts DOT and the towns of Acton and Maynard met to oversee and celebrate groundbreaking for the $6.7 million construction of 3.4 miles of the Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT) in the two towns, to run from the Stow/Maynard border in the southwest to the Acton train station in the northeast. Completion of this part of the trail is planned for spring of 2018. The contractor for this multiyear project is D’Allessandro Corp., a Massachusetts-based company with lots of experience in road, sidewalk, park and water management projects. READ MORE.

Neponset Greenway Trail Open for Use

B Jennifer Smith,
Dorchester Reporter Staff.
As of this balmy May evening, the latest stretch of the Neponset River Greenway will be open to the public, connecting Pope John Paul Park II and Mattapan Square and filling in a long-missing link in the biking and pedestrian trail.

The trail opens at 5 p.m., according to state Department of Conservation and Recreation officials, though a celebratory ribbon cutting remains a few weeks off. READ MORE.  [btw some  of the path network here is a "rail-w-trail", a dual-use corridor. And making it doubly interesting place, the rail is a part of the MBTA's trolley network and on this particular line they operate antique PCC trolley cars. CDP]

Canadian tourism officials would like the East Coast Greenway to connect  into the Canadian Maritime provinces. 
 Eight Maritime Members of Parliament  are plotting ways to double tourism numbers in the Bay of Fundy and they hope local residents can help.

Bill Casey, the MP for Cumberland-Colchester, said members of Parliament from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia who can all "dip their toes into the bay" have formed a Bay of Fundy caucus. READ MORE. 

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is now 12.2 miles

ADAMS, Mass. (MassDOT) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce that the third section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Adams is now open for public use, making the trail 12.2 miles long. READ MORE.

Clashing Visions for Old Rail Bed (Just Don’t Call It the High Line of Queens)

More public transit. Better public spaces.Usually, these are two sides of the same progressivist coin in city planning.

In Queens, however, the goals are far apart. Standing between them is a three-and-a-half-mile swath of greenery: the city-owned right-of-way for the old Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach line, which hasn’t seen a train in 52 years.  READ MORE HERE.

40 Rail Trails on YouTube
Most of you know that I've written several books on Rail Trails and most of you know that I love discovering these places.

But I also love to discover new books by others in this genre. For example the book on New Hampshire Rail Trails by Charles Martin is hands-down the best ever written.  

I've mentioned Charles' book before, but I recently came upon a series of 40 videos by Timothy Lawrence that are very interesting and well-done.  They feature him and his dog Aries walking on trails in New England, though a few are in other states. The video format is great for showing the history that you might not normally notice. You are going to love these. This is certainly the best series of videos I've seen.   VIDEOS HERE.  Though as I write this, I've never met him, I'll be introducing Tim to the MCRT soon enough.

By RICK GREEN, THE LACONIA DAILY SUN. LACONIA — Opponents of extending the WOW trail near two private, gated communities [my edits] have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the proposal.

At issue is a proposed 5-mile extension of the Winnisquam-Opechee-Winnipesaukee Trail in a state-owned railroad right-of-way that skirts Paugus Bay and the communities of South Down Shores and Long Bay. READ MORE.

How the Cape Cod Rail Trail Came To Be.
Did you ever wonder how the Cape Cod Rail Trail came to be?  Well read this. Read more
Rail-Trails Celebrated as ‘Vibrant Sign of Renewal’
 Editor Peter Crowley reported recently on a new PBS documentary about rail-to-trail conversions in New York state. The documentary portrayed rail trails as popular success stories — as safe, easy, family-friendly pathways for bicycle riders, runners, walkers, nature lovers and history buffs. READ MORE.
New York Resident Makes His Mark In PBS Show

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Friends of David Rocco know, when the Yorktown resident has free time, he's either flying in a helicopter over the Tappan Zee Bridge recording its progress or at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie.  [And this is where I met Dave Sacco about 5 years ago. CDP]

This longtime volunteer at the Walkway is now seeing the fruits of his labor come to fruition with the new PBS documentary, "Rails to Trails," put out by the Emmy-award winning show, "Treasures of New York. "  

Trail Loved by the Economic Development Corporation in Putnam County in eastern New York
The rail trails in Putnam County may be all fun and games to recreation enthusiasts, but they mean business to the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation. Putnam County EDC President Jill Varricchio is totally onboard with the economic potential that the 12-mile stretch of paved rail trails have to offer.  READ MORE 

Adirondacks are Anomaly in ‘Rails-to-Trails’ Doc
NYC PBS station airs program on many successful conversions, one major controversy
SARANAC LAKE — A new public television documentary presents the Adirondack rail-trail debate in light of a rails-to-trails trend that is booming statewide.

New York City’s WLIW PBS station on Thursday broadcast “Rails-to-Trails,” the latest entry in its irregular “Treasures of New York” series. The video was posted online Sunday for streaming at www.wliw.org/programs/treasures-of-new-york/rails-to-trails-uztsz8. READ MORE.

The plan to Connect Two Major Bike Paths at the Albany Waterfront

Two major bike paths -- the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail and the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail -- run into Albany's South End. But they don't connect. They're separated by roughly two miles filled with interstate off-ramps, truck traffic, and trains.

For the past year the city of Albany and consultants have been working on way to connecting these bikeways. And now there's a plan. READ MORE HERE.

A Guide To CT's Trails, Long And Short
JOSEPH A. O'BRIEN JR.Special To The Courant

With the Industrial Revolution in full swing in the early 1800s, it was only a matter of time before businesses and travelers in Connecticut seized upon a then-novel technology, the railroads. By 1899, there were 1,013 miles of track, with another 416 miles of trolley lines. Today, only 629 miles of passenger and freight rail are still in use in Connecticut. The remainder have fallen victim to the convenience of cars and trucks. So what happened to the other 800 or so miles of relatively flat rail bed?  READ MORE.

An archive of these newsletters is now set up
   Several people have asked to have these newsletters available through an archive of sorts  
This is now done and it lives on one of my websites.   LINK HERE 

Most of you know who I am, but some of you don't.  Here's a BIO/CV of what I do and how I got 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 number #5 and is about interesting things along the trail that you'll not likely know about.  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.