Rail Trail Newsletter 3-6-2019 #31

I hope you are enjoying the final round of winter. I'm graduating on my knee rehab from in-my-house Physical Therapy to PT at a nearby medical center. Step by step, I'm getting better. My goal is take part in a in bike ride this spring being led by Michael Akrep, owner and tour leader for Hither and Yon Adventure Rides . Michael was one of the participants at Golden Spike 2018 and he was so energized by the progress so far on the MCRT that is planning a trip this spring from Rutland--in the middle of the state to downtown Northampton. See the story about that below. It would be great to have the ride get sold out. Please do sign up if it fits your schedule and interest.

Also, in this issue, I'm introducing a new section about bad things happening that you don't know about. In fact, I'll call it, Bad Things Happening That You Don't Know About . Most of you, anyway, don't know. There are now over 10,000 people getting these newsletters and some of these folks are 'in the know', so to speak. Most not, though. Most are just rabid fans of these projects. Some are antis, monitoring what is going on all around them and they are getting worn down by all the good news each month.

And speaking of antis, another story seen below is by an opponent in Lynnfield who has written a letter to the editor in the local newspaper about why the town should NOT allow the old dead RR to be converted into a town-wide linear park. When I told one of my friends in town there, a leader in the pro-trail effort, that I was going to put in my next newsletter, he was reticent about it. I told him that most people this far into the 21st century can't fathom that people are opposed to these projects. That is my experience every time I meet someone and tell them what I do. There are still people, passionately opposed to a project like this in their neighborhood. Not as many as there used to be, grant you, but there still more than most of you think. Anyway, just this morning, we found a nice letter--for the trail in Lynnfield. We'll see how the vote turns out there. Good news from Swampscott below, too.

Enjoy! And please do sign up with Michael Akrep's ride.


Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Sugar Maple Trailside Inn
62 Chestnut Street
Northampton, MA 01062
"In the News"

Updates About the Longest and Most Important Rail Trail Project in New England. Boston to Northampton, Mass with direct connections to several other major rail trail projects in the region.
Selectmen: For Belmont Pedestrians Path Route Decision is Life and Death
by  bloggingbelmont   Belmont’s Board of Selectmen will make a final decision on the route for the first part of the Belmont Community Path Read more

Hot off the press. Here's what happened. Read more

Looking for a fun spring bike ride on the MCRT? How about this. A fully supported ride from Rutland State Park in central Mass to downtown Northampon. Michael Akrep, owner of Hither and Yon Adventures has organized a great tour of the MCRT on Arpil 20th. He has even made arrangements for people in EMass to get shuttled to the start point. If this is a success, I would hope it expands and takes in more miles of the corridor. READ MORE
Come-on people, we can do better than this
In Berlin Mass--about about 40 miles west of Boston on the MCRT alignment--there was a parcel of land for sale that didn't have frontage to a street to the south, because the former RR corridor blocked access to the street. IF there is no frontage on a public street, then you have no buildable lots.

The acreage went "Under Agreement" contingent upon the buyer getting an agreement to buy a easement for a driveway across the former RR to get to the street. And that's when the privatized real estate department of the MBTA got involved.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO GO TO A PRINTABLE PDF for the rest of the story including a timeline/summary.
Just another sale of former RR corridor in Mass Here's a map of a property in Belchertown that is on the market to be sold. Almost 80 acres of farm land, wooded land, a modest house, a barn and oh by the way, more than 1/2 mile of the MCRT alignment. This is on both sides of Shea Ave on the south side of Btown and the former RR corridor owned by this family heads southeast to the Swift River where a long-gone bridge used to carry the RR into the Bondsville section of Palmer.

Wouldn't it be smart and prudent if there was a revolving fund available to communities to step up and buy corridor that comes onto the market without notice. If we were serious about reassembing this corridor, this is going to be needed. I'll keep you posted on what happens. There is back story here too. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO GO TO A PRINTABLE PDF
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 to the Waltham Land Trust's site. Link here to the Waltham Bike Committee. And link here to the City's page on the MCRT.
Weston: Link here .
Wayland: Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S intersecting trail--Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. 
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
Palmer coming soon 
Ware: Check out the new FaceBook page. Link here
Belchertown: Link coming for Friends of the Belchertown Greenway
Amherst, Hadley on DCR's Norwottuck section of the MCRT: Link here .
Northampton area: Link here .
Stamford, CT Granted $160,000 for Merritt Parkway Trail first mile
Stamford applied for money to pay for “the design and cost estimates for construction of the first mile of this section of the East Coast Greenway in Stamford”. [ btw, the Merritt, when built in the 1930s, was envisioned to have a bikeway along side for the entire route. Better late than never, I say. CDP] Read more .
Southern leg of Granite State Rail Trail nearing completion By RYAN LESSARD and MICHAEL COUSINEAU Union Leader
Bike riders who want to see riding trails across the state get connected can look forward to several ongoing projects.
“A lot of people are concerned about distracted drivers quite a bit, so you see people looking for bike trails,” said Patrick Lessard, co-owner of The Bike Barn in Manchester. “We see a significant number of customers. They go out of their way to go to various trails that have been completed.” Read more .
Schell Bridge will make this town whole again by Richie Davis Recorder Staff
NORTHFIELD — Once upon a time there was a castle, right here in Franklin County.
Well, a chateau, really. Built for New York City diamond merchant Francis R. Schell, the 99-room mansion was constructed in Northfield, beginning in 1900 and completed in 1903. To make sure that ordinary people didn’t drive by to gawk, Schell paid Northfield selectmen $5,000 to discontinue the road that connected his driveway to Highland Avenue. Read more.
Dear fellow Lynnfield residents: Remember why you live in “Our Town.” Is it because you need a rail trail?
On or about March 2017, the Lynnfield Board of Selectmen adopted a proposal to establish a committee to study the development of the Wakefield Lynnfield Rail Trail Project. The intent was to identify the locations and address the many questions and concerns both pro and con of such a project within our town. Read more.
And here's a counterpoint letter: There Are So Many Reasons To Support Rail Trail On April 9. Read more .
Airline Trail Plan
Links 12 Communities
Connecticut Research and Conservation Development is planning to create a Twelve Town Airline Trail Master Plan with a $188,522 grant from the CT DEEP.
The money will help task force members from Thompson, Pomfret, Windham, Lebanon, Chaplin, Columbia, Hebron, Hampton, Colchester, East Hampton, and Portland inventory natural resources, identify maintenance concerns, and promote eco-tourism along the 50-mile stretch of the state’s linear state park. Read more
Swampscott’s Rail Trail project is moving full steam ahead with updated, formalized design plans expected by the end of March after months of input from abutters and neighbors.
“I’d like to think that within 18 months we can have portions of the trail ready to go,” said Ryan Conner, chairman of the Rail Trail Design and Implementation Committee.
He hopes the full trail will be complete within three years. Read more
Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
The ATV economy has been a game changer in New Hampshire’s Coos County.
March 2019 issue of Yankee Magazine
But every change has a price. Who pays it, and how much should be extracted from them to boost the fortunes of a region?
We’re a good 15 minutes into our ride when Ray Bergeron brings our ATV to a momentary stop. Read more .
Future of off-road riding debated at State House
CONCORD — Off-highway recreational vehicles have created an economic boom for the North Country, or a growing threat to the tranquility many sought when they moved there.
That debate played out on Tuesday as two House committees heard testimony on several OHRV-related bills that would impose regulations on noise, step up enforcement, enhance notification to property owners and ban OHRV use on certain roadways. Read more .
Electric bikes could provide old people with brain boost
Older cyclists who use electric bicycles may be getting the same brain benefits as those on standard bikes.
The new research, published in  PLOS One  conducted at the University of Reading and Oxford Brookes University found that cyclists between the ages of 50-83 experienced cognitive and mental health benefits from riding a bicycle, whether it was electrically assisted or pedal powered. Read more .

National rail-trail from DC
to Washington State.
National group Rails-to-Trails Conservancy proposes rail-trail across the U.S.
Imagine walking or riding your bike from coast to coast on a system of interconnected rail-trails.
That’s the vision of RTC's Great American Rail-Trail, which would stretch from Washington, D.C., to the state of Washington.
The proposed trail would cross a dozen states and comprise more than 3,500 miles of trail, half of which already exist. Read more .

The Netherlands Pays People To Bike To Work
It's one of a handful of places around the world using cash to try to lure people out of their cars and onto their bicycles.

The Netherlands has a pretty good claim to be the world’s foremost cycling nation. The small, flat country has bike shops, parking racks and a tidy network of red asphalt cycle paths everywhere you go. Dutch residents make more than 25 percent of trips by bike – a higher proportion than any other country . Read more.

Complete Streets Funding Program awards $3-million in grants for infrastructure improvements
By:  Amy Phillips  BOSTON, Mass.(WWLP) - The Complete Streets Funding Program has awarded nearly $3 million to eleven communities across the state to fund local, multimodal infrastructure projects that improve accessibility for bicyclists, pedestrians, public transit users, and people using other forms of transportation.The Baker-Polito Administration has now awarded a total of approximately $33 million in construction funding since creating a funding program for Complete Streets  in February 2016. Read more here .
Though I do know many of the people getting this missive, we are now over 10,000 people. And thus many of you probably have no clue about who I am or where I came from. Click the link above to go to a bio/CV .