Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #4


     As you are reading this, I am soon on my way to Williamsburg, VA to speak at Virginia DCR's state-wide trail conference. This year, DCR partners with the state's land trust alliance--VAult. 
     I am speaking on the subject of "HOW TO REASSEMBLE FORMER RAILROAD CORRIDOR That Has Been Segmented Or Chopped Up." A subject near and dear to the hearts of many subscribers to this newsletter, to be sure. 
     Anyway, there's some great new stories to be found in this newsletter and as I gear up with some conversations with people about their projects, I can see some great, fleshed-out stories in the future.  At least when I get past the spring real estate sales crush underway right now in my marketplace.  
Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Update and Status
MCRT in the news On April 12, The Landmark,  a local newspaper based in Holden in the Wachusett area of Mass, did a great story about the MCRT.   By Amanda Collins Bernier. 

A century ago it was the path along which Gov. Calvin Coolidge – who would later become the nation’s 30th president – would travel from his home in Northampton to the State House in Boston: 104 miles of railroad that cut across the middle of the Bay State   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.

Was There an Earlier Bike Lane, than Davis, CA?
In the last issue, I had a story from the Outside Magazine about Davis, CA having the first bike lane in the U.S.  Don Burn, lead advocate for the BWALT Trail in Central MA, remembers an earlier one in IL:

Don writes: "The university has a bike plan that mentions the school started building bike paths and bike parking in the 1950’s throughout campus.   I also, found an old aerial photo of the quad from 1959 that is hard to tell, but appears to show the bike lane you see in the picture.  The bus was good, I remember more than once riding to class and coming out to a major rainstorm, left the bike locked and took the bus back to the dorm, then picked up the bike the next day by riding the bus. I suspect that Outside and Davis have a slightly different definition of bike lanes or something.  But after growing up 1 block from what became the Illinois Prairie Path, and meeting May Watts while I rode the undeveloped right of way.  Going to U of I with bike parking at every building and a bike path to get you there helped cement things.

Swampscott is still debating the worthiness of a trail that connects several schools
Approaching  20 years in on this now and there are people who still are opposed.  Imagine that. CDP
Residents got a chance to sound off on plans to convert abandoned railroad tracks into a community rail trail on Thursday night with opponents citing safety, privacy, wildlife and cost concerns. Proponents say the trail provides health benefits and a safe, alternative mode of travel.  READ MORE.   And here is another story about this same meeting from another local paper.   READ STILL MORE.  
Clipper City Rail Trail seeking mural artists Art on Trails?  I love this.  CDP
  Artists and design professionals are invited to submit proposals for a public art mural project along a fenced corridor of the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport.   READ MORE.            By the way, the photo to the side is of the dramatic stainless steel mural by  Salmon Studios  on the rail trail in downtown Northampton.  CDP
Trail Extensions being planned in Manchester, NH
I love trails in cities, and this one is pretty creative.  Building it in bite-sized stretches over a long period of time. Good for them. Foot-by-foot. CDP  
     More than 40 city residents and rail trail enthusiasts headed to City Hall Wednesday night to hear an update on alternative proposals for two rail trail projects in south Manchester.
     Greg Bakos, an engineer with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) — the city’s consultant on the projects — gave presentations on alternative proposals being considered for two projects.  READ MORE

Voices from the Valley, 
Interviews Gary Briere
     A friend of mine, Gary Briere, owner of River's Edge Cycling, LLC, in Sunderland was interviewed by MassLive for a segment of "Voices of the Valley". Gary has begun the "2nd chapter", so to speak.
    He worked for many years at Mass DCR where he was the Chief of Recreation. Now he has a bike touring company and is living the dream life. CDP   READ MORE
Plainville, CT the primary gap in the longest interstate trail in New England. Here's an update.
      The 25-year-old challenge of bridging the Plainville Gap, the largest break in an 84-mile bike and walking trail, is closer to resolution, Town Manager Robert Lee said Thursday.
     A steering committee of government officials, bicycle advocates and transportation consultants will meet this month to sort through 14 routes suggested by the public and pick the four best ones for public review in May, he said.  READ MORE . 
News from Dover, MA 
    One of the more interesting rail trail projects in Mass is in Dover, MA.  Here's a letter from a trail supporter who was responding to an earlier letter by a resident opposed to the trail.  READ MORE.   For info about the Bay Colony Rail Trail, a multi-town trail project, CLICK HERE.
Study on Naugatuck Greenway notes potential economic impact 
TORRINGTON, CT --The final version of a study on the potential impact of the Naugatuck River Greenway was released last week by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and it predicts strong economic benefits and as many as 2.6 million visits by 2031.  READ MORE of the story.  Click here to go to the study. 
New Option Floated for Rail Trail Extension on Cape Cod
      A new possibility for extending the Shining Sea Bikeway from North Falmouth to the Cape Cod Canal emerged this week.
    The possible extension of the bikeway has been under serious consideration for the past year but one major sticking point has been what to do about the rail lines that run to the Upper Cape Transfer Station on Joint Base Cape Cod, and also serve the military base.  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 in Florence that I call "The Stonehenge of Florence".  At the real Stonehenge in England, you really can't see the special thing, unless you are standing in a specific and exact spot. And then it be comes apparent.  Same thing in Florence. Once you are standing in exact spot, iit then becomes apparent.  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.