Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #8


Hope you are enjoying the summer. RE is still pretty busy around here. One notable thing in this newsletter is that Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways has hired a Field Organizer. We also have a ground-breaking on another segment of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Concord, MA And a library of infographics that will help bolster your arguments that having a trail will be a good thing.

I also have several more lectures setting up for later this summer and fall.  

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
"In the News"
 and Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
Interesting Op-Ed by Larry Tucker
Larry Tucker, Snowmobile Representative on the MARTAB committee, wrote an interesting Op-Ed piece in the Daily Hampshire  Gazette.  READ MORE 

MARTAB  stands for Massachusetts Recreational Trail Advisory Board. 

This is a volunteer board that reviews projects and ranks them for funding through the Rec. Trail funding program administered by Mass DCR. 

Many of the trails in Massachusetts have been built through the Rec Trail process. Much easier than through the transportation funded process. LEARN MORE about this program. 

You'll see to the right a snowmobile map of Belchertown. The long, straight line running from the NW to the SE is actually the alignment of the future Mass Central Rail Trail.  Developed and maintained by the snowmobile club that Larry is involved with.  Thanks Larry for caring so much about trails.

Eversource makes case for Sudbury-Hudson power line
By Jonathan Dame  WICKED LOCAL

WESTWOOD – For more than a year, residents have been distraught over the prospect of Eversource tearing through an abandoned railroad corridor in the woods between Sudbury and Hudson.But let’s imagine what life might be like a decade from now – with the contentiousness of permitting and difficulties of construction in the past. Read more here.
The Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways have hired a part-time staffer!
Kris Badertscher of Northampton was named to the new position of Field Organizer for the Friends of the Northampton Trails and Greenways (FNTG). In her new role with the organization Kris provides administrative support to the officers including member management and recruitment, communications, development and fundraising. In addition, she is responsible for marketing activities and event planning that will further the mission of FNTG.

Badertscher holds a master’s degree in Sustainability Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has completed post graduate work in both urban planning and architecture. Kris recently assisted the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission with the development of the new Valley Bike Share initiative and is active in the Easthampton City Arts projects.

Northampton is at the western end of the longest rail trail project in the state [Mass Central Rail Trail] and at the northern end of the longest interstate rail trail in the northeast [New Haven to Northampton Canal Greenway]              To learn more about the work of FNTG go to this LINK.

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.

A couple of videos from Edison, NJ that talk about the rail trail there.  A part of the East Coast Greenway. 
Back in the mid-'90s when I was doing my books about rail trails in NJ, I came upon this group in the Edison area of NJ who were advocating for their not yet built trail to be included in the book. They convinced me.
Well, they finally got most of the trail built today, and one of the principals of the volunteer group, Bob Takash, shared with me a couple of their videos. There are two versions which provide basic Trail information and conversations with users on one . . . and  the other highlights the trail and future concepts. 

Bridge Rehab starts on future Columbia Greenway river crossing
 Dan Desrochers, The Westfield News

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) — Work has begun to connect two city parks and the Columbia Greenway over the Westfield River.

Rehabilitation work has begun on the abandoned railroad trestle that is over the Westfield River near Elm Street, known as the Columbia Greenway North segment. The project, which is being funded with about $3.7 million in Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) funds, according to city engineer Mark Cressotti, as well as additional city funds, will eventually connect parks on either side, as well as provide a pedestrian bridge along the Columbia Greenway.  [The Columbia Greenway is a part of the longest interstate rail trail in the northeast --New Haven to Northampton Canal Greenway Trail. The Westfield Evening News  website has a pay-wall set up so I cannot link to that.  Sorry about that. CDP]

Residents voice opposition to Plainville-Southington, CT trail alignment
By Ashley Kus The Plainville Citizen

    PLAINVILLE — More than a dozen people in the community voiced their opposition to “Alignment C” at Monday’s Town Council meeting. The route is the proposed option to close the gap in the Plainville-Southington section of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.

    “We are not numbers and houses,” said Roberta Lauria, a Perron Road resident, at a recent Town Council meeting.

    The alignment was chosen at a steering committee meeting last week after four options were presented at a public meeting in May. The route would go through the Perron Road neighborhood, a dead end area. READ MORE   More about this project and other options/route that are under consideration can be seen at GapClosureStudy.com 

    In other news in CT along the Farmington corridor
     As of today, Saturday July 22, this bike-ped bridge is being put into place over RT 6 in Farmington, CT.  [photo by James Cassidy, Plainville, CT.]

    In other news about the corridor. As of today, Saturday July 22 this bike-ped bridge is being put into place over RT 6 in Farmington, CT.
    Looking for some great INFOGRAPHICS to help get the trail built in your town?
    Infographics can be useful for sharing complex information in a quick, inviting, easy-to-grasp format. This library is culled from several sources and includes links to the original documents for context and citing.   READ MORE 
    Ground Breaking for Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Extension in Concord, MA
    On Friday, July 14th, 2017 at 1:00 PM, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation joined officials from the town of Concord and  the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail to celebrate a groundbreaking event for Phase 2C of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail project.  The $7.2 million Phase 2C work involves construction of a 2.5 mile trail section from Commonwealth Avenue south to Powder Mill Road as part of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail project.   SEE MORE PICTURES 
    Governor Attends Event Celebrating Opening of New Cape Cod Rail Trail Bridge

    DENNIS –Local and state legislators and officials attended an event on Wednesday, celebrating the opening of the new Cape Cod Rail Trail Extension Bridge in Dennis.

    Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito also announced additional funding commitments to further develop the Cape Cod Rail Trail and increase the budget of the Recreational Trails Program by 60 percent, from $1.1 million to $1.8 million.

    Baker and Polito walked alongside the Cape’s legislative delegation over the bridge before addressing a crowd which included bicyclists and onlookers. Read more here. 

    Taxes on Bikes?
      A couple of areas in the Pacific NW are planning on taxing bikes. Seattle plans to put a licensing fee in place while Oregon will put a sales tax on new bike purchases.
    READ MORE from Seattle
    READ MORE from Oregon
    The biggest infrastructure project in the US is a 3,000-mile bike path
    By Leslie Josephs of Quartz.com

    The most ambitious infrastructure project in the US won’t provide a smoother ride for the commerce carried out by trucks, trains or barges.

    As lawmakers grapple with how to fix the country’s crumbling roads, bridges, and dams, local governments are quietly at work on the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile, mostly car-free bike path through 15 states.

    Read more 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 some of the little known history of how the path in Northampton got built back in the early 1980s   SEE THE VIDEO

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