Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #12

In this issue we have some more news about Weston and their developing segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail--21+ years after they voted down the trail. I always say; "Good ideas never die."

We also have a story about the Mass DCR's Rec Trail program along with a list of all the projects funded this year. And a couple of stories about the town of Swampscott's continuing efforts to move their rail trail project forward. Inch-by-inch as I say.

One of the more interesting stories below is about the Arlington Police Department's efforts to enforce traffic laws by citing bicyclists for infractions.

And don't forget that the ribbon-cutting for the tunnel under the active railroad in Northampton is scheduled for 10-25-17. I'll put out a special announcement when the exact time is announced. It would be great to have several thousand people show up for this.

Also, we've finished the setup of the archive of past stories that you can refer to.

Enjoy the fall!

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
"In the News"
 and Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
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.
Some bits of good news from Somerville and Cambridge
The Grand Junction Greenway is proposed to be a multi-use path running alongside the existing tracks in the Grand Junction corridor from the Boston University Bridge to Somerville. The desired width of the path is 14’ with 2’ buffers (a total of 18'). It will provide a continuous pathway for residents, schoolchildren, workers and visitors to stroll, jog, or bike along a linear park connecting several neighborhoods with each other, with commercial areas, and with regional resources such as the Charles River. Read more
Mass DCR awards $50,000 to extend the Mass Central Rail Trail in the Leeds section of Northampton
NORTHAMPTON - A $50,000 state grant will go towards extending the Mass Central Rail Trail in the village of Leeds, the city announced Tuesday.

The trail, once a railroad line and now a venue for biking and recreation, has been the subject of development for years--with the ultimate goal being a 100-mile path between Northampton and Boston. The city's current  trail links it to a number of other communities, including Amherst and Hadley. 
Dissecting the proposed rail trail in Weston, MA
By Cheryl Balian Scaparrotta Correspondent for WickedLocal.com
Opportunities and concerns were bandied about by over 100 residents at a public session on how best to integrate a rail trail through Weston’s neighborhoods. The meeting at Town Hall last week gave citizens a chance to confront issues of privacy, security and parking for the Mass Central Rail Trail's Wayside segment.
“The rail trail is coming, so we want this to fit into Weston,” said Tim Love, principal at Utile Architecture & Planning of Boston. “We want to make it work as well as possible.”
Utile is tasked with integrating the approximately 3-mile segment, which currently exists in rough form, along an abandoned rail bed located north of Rte. 20. Read more here.
Now live on one of my websites, an ARCHIVE for you.
Someone recently mentioned to me that it is good to have this curated corralling of stories throughout the region.

I know it is valuable because the newspapers are more and more balkanized and thus people are less likely to know what is going on in towns near them nevermind farther away places.

Also, in the past few years, I've come upon places where efforts to build a rail trail were languishing because trail proponents were getting worn-down by anti-trail zealots. The stories in these newsletters provide inspiration and energy for the pro-trail groups to continue on.

In order to expand on this, Tiffany Lyman Olszewski and I have put together an archive of all the previous newsletters and the stories there. You can find it at TrailsideCompanies.com/Archive.html
Swampscott, MA Advances Its Rail Trail Plans
BY DAILY ITEM STAFF SWAMPSCOTT — Town officials have received nine proposals from design firms to advance their plans for the construction of a rail trail.
“This is really an incredible response from some of the best design and engineering firms in New England,” said Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, in a statement. “We are excited to see so much enthusiasm and great ideas outlined in these terrific proposals.” READ MORE
STANTEC lands $240K contract for Swampscott Rail Trail
By Neil Zolot / swampscott@wickedlocal.com
Swampscott Board of Selectmen picked Burlington-based Stantec Consulting as the designer for the rail trail, at their meeting Wednesday, Sept. 13.
“We’re very excited,” said the company’s senior associate, John Hendrickson, who lives in Hamilton and grew up in Gloucester. READ MORE
Local residents gather, share memories of the evolution of Keene NH's rail trails
By Xander Landen Sentinel Staff
In November 1984, 9-year-old Alex Henkel sent a letter to the Keene City Council advocating for the creation of a rail trail system in Keene.
Writing on behalf of his Cub Scout Den, he noted that trains no longer ran through Keene and that the city was in need of a bike path.
“The bike trail would make it easier and safer to get to many places in Keene by bicycle. It would make Keene more beautiful,” he wrote. READ MORE.
Bicyclist says she didn’t pull over for Arlington, MA police as a bit of a protest
By Steve Annear GLOBE STAFF 
A 59-year-old Belmont woman was arrested by police in Arlington this week after she failed to stop her bike at a stop sign along the Minuteman Bikeway and refused to pull over for a bike-mounted officer. She said she ignored the officer as a kind of protest.
Karen Cady-Pereira, who says her charges were later dropped, said she just wanted to get home Monday night when she slowed her bike at the Lake Street intersection before deciding to cruise right through. Read more .

Communities receive grants for recreational trails
By George Barnes Worcester Telegram & Gazette Staff 
Several Central Massachusetts communities will benefit from recreational trail grants announced Wednesday by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced that $1.8 million in grants have been awarded to build 10 miles of trails and improve 150 miles of existing trails for hiking, biking, snowmobiling and use by off-road vehicles around the state. Read more.

Here's TWO stories about the Regional Plan Association plan to connect 1,650 miles of trails in the tri-state area
Last week the  Regional Plan Association  (RPA) released a report proposing the creation of a 1,650-mile trail system linking Manhattan to the outer boroughs and tri-state area. The report,  Accessing Nature is part of RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, which is slated for release later this fall. If the entire plan came to fruition, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents would be able to hike and bike a combined distance equal to that between New York and Colorado. Read more . And in this article too.
Gala honors founders of land trust that created rail trail [I love land trusts that build rail trails--CDP]
By Frances Marion Platt HV1.com
On Sunday, October 1, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a Gala Dinner Benefit and first-ever Live and Silent Auction. Taking place at the Pavilion at Garvan’s, the event will honor the organization’s eleven founding directors. Read more here .
BPAC holds first meeting in Narragansett, RI
By PHILIP COZZOLINO NARRAGANSETT – As recreational activities such as biking and walking surge nation-wide, discourse surrounding the safety of public roadways has also risen. On Tuesday, that discussion came to Narragansett, as the town’s newly formed bicycle pedestrian advisory committee (BPAC) hosted its first meeting, discussing overall goals for the future of the committee and the soon-to-be-built extensions to the William C. O’Neill bike path, which currently runs from South Kingstown through Narragansett. Read more here. Read more here
EPA Announces Superfund Cleanup Completion and Rail Trail Opening in Southington, Conn.
Boston - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the completion of the cleanup construction at the Solvents Recovery Service of New England (SRSNE) Superfund Site in Southington, Conn. With the completion of the cleanup construction, comes the opening of an extension to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that runs through the capped area of the site.
"What the completion of this construction means, is that the risk of exposure to contaminants at the site has been removed," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "Now, instead of a contaminated site, the town of Southington has an extension to the Rails-to-Trails Greenway. This cleanup and redevelopment outcome is a win-win." Read more here.
Charter Oak Greenway in CT Nearing Completion, Bridges On The Way. [Another column by Peter Marteka of the Hartford Courant; one of the region's best writers about trail development.--CDP]
The bridge is coming! The bridge is coming!
Whenever I write about major trail bridges in eastern Connecticut I feel a bit like Paul Revere and Peter from the folktale “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
For a decade — from 2002 to 2012 — I wrote a half-dozen columns about a covered bridge in Andover that would be built over a pair of railroad bridge abutments and fill a gap along the Hop River linear trail. It was coming. It was not coming. This time it was really coming. It was delayed. It was tied up in litigation. And in 2012 the covered bridge trail crossing over Route 316 finally came, much to the delight of hikers and bikers — and a Nature column writer who cried “The bridge is coming!” for years. Read more here .
Carmel, Indiana, Shows Suburbs How to Go Big on Biking
By Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes
You’ll sometimes hear that it’s almost impossible to make biking truly desirable in American suburbs. Carmel, Indiana, is proving how wrong that is.
The  booming city of 90,000, immediately north of Indianapolis but with a  distinct and dense downtown of its own, is evidence of the opposite idea: The country’s newer, faster-growing cities are where connecting great biking networks has the most potential to transform American life. 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 the Norwottuck Section of the Mass Central Rail Trail. 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 #10

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.