Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #11

Here's a little different issue. Normally I try to keep the curated stories to be related to New England or New York for the most part. However this month, I just couldn't resist putting a few good stories from other places. I've even put in a Ted Talk. Let me know if you like these.

And this issue has two stories about the trail getting under construction this fall in Weston. That is 21 years after the trail idea was voted-down in Weston. Funny how that good ideas never die. I'll repeat that. Good ideas never die. Building a rail trail in your community is always a good idea. No matter what the naysayers are staying.

Real estate is still holding strong and I've got a slew of events stacking up before Thanksgiving. Please check out my calendar of upcoming events at the bottom and try to come to one near you.

Enjoy our upcoming New England 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.
Input wanted on new Weston rail trail
By Paul Penfield Jr. Special to the Crier

Before long, Weston will have a brand new recreation area that, if well designed, will be enjoyed by lots of Weston residents doing lots of different things.
Yes, Weston will soon have a Rail Trail, a multi-use paved path, 10 feet wide, along the 100-foot-wide abandoned right-of-way of the defunct Central Massachusetts Railroad. Think of this as a long, thin recreational park.
How should the trail be designed so it best expresses the Weston town character and is found most useful by its residents?
To answer this question, a year ago the Board of Selectmen formed the Rail Trail Advisory Committee (RTAC). Read more here.
Northampton Underpass update
The Knowledge Corridor – Restore Vermonter Project included funding for the construction of a bicycle/pedestrian underpass in Northampton.
The underpass — which is now under construction — will connect the  Mass Central Rail Trail, which currently terminates on the east side of the railroad tracks, with the Northampton Bike Trail on the west side of the tracks.
The official projected completion date for this project is October 25, 2017. Great pix about the project are seen HERE BY TRAINS IN THE VALLEY BLOG.
By Paul Penfield Jr. Special to the Crier The Wayside rail trail is coming. Construction will start in Wayland, perhaps as early as this month, and then proceed eastward through Weston almost to the trestle bridge near the Waltham border. There will be a 10-foot paved trail within the right-of-way, which is 100 feet wide in most places.
This is an opportunity for Weston. We will have a new “long, thin recreational park,” including the entire right-of-way. How can this new park best serve Weston? That’s the question the town’s Rail Trail Advisory Committee (RTAC) is trying to answer. Read more.
North Adams, MA Bike Path Plans
Draw Complaints, Praise
By Tammy Daniels I-BERKSHIRES
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — City Council chambers were packed on Wednesday night for an often emotional hearing on the proposed bike path that will cut from the Williamstown line to the airport. 
Dubbed the "Cariddi Mile" by Mayor Richard Alcombright in memory of longtime bike path proponent Gailanne Cariddi, the section would run along land behind a cluster of homes on Chenaille Terrace.
But a number of Chenaille Terrace residents opposed to the project say the 12-foot paved pathway would have a deleterious effect on their quiet cul de sac. 
Read more here . [Geez, isn't this a lot like the situation in Plainville CT?-- CDP]
Swampscott, MA Advances Its Rail Trail Plans
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 here.
A love affair, on two wheels
By  Yvonne Abraham  BOSTON GLOBE STAFF AUGUST 26, 2017
WENHAM — On my summer vacation, I fell in love.
It happened somewhere between Danvers and Wenham. My family and I had picked up  the rail trail to Topsfield  behind a sports complex off Route 114. We rode in the cool of the morning, through sunny suburban neighborhoods into the dappled light of the forest at Choate Farm, the brooks and backyards blurring by.
Forgotten River Will Get a Walkway

The  Milwaukee RiverWalk  is about to get a lot longer. The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee gave a unanimous thumbs-up to a two-mile long extension of the system through the Menomonee Valley.
The extension will run along the Menomonee River from the river’s confluence with the Milwaukee River near N. 2nd St. to the 27th Street Viaduct and  Three Bridges Park . That’s an approximately two-mile long corridor with the riverwalk planned for each side. Read more here .
Greenways attract Nashville
home buyers and developers
Victor Wilson looks forward to eventually riding his bike on a greenway from his home in  on Nashville’s west side to events downtown or to a public transit stop on nearby Charlotte Pike without ever having to be on a street with cars and other vehicles. READ MORE .
Great TED Talk on the Walkable City
Walkable cities are in demand, as more and more people want to be able to walk to work, to run errands, to attend events, etc. Liberating ourselves from our vehicles is part of a healthier, more eco-friendly way of life. Watch this great TED Talk .  
If You Build It, the Dutch Will Pedal
UTRECHT, the Netherlands — When city officials unveiled the first section of the world’s largest bike parking garage in Utrecht, a small city in the center of the Netherlands, late last month, the feeling of accomplishment was short-lived.
While many of the 6,000 new, state-of-the-art bike parking spots filled quickly, city engineers focused on the work ahead: creating thousands more such spots and hundreds more miles of bike paths to ensure that even more Utrecht residents can comfortably commute by bike. Read more here.
Founded in 1985,  Trees Atlanta has been working tirelessly to restore Atlanta, Georgia’s disappearing urban forest. They work to prevent and reverse tree loss, often creating new green space. Empowered by its community of volunteers, Trees Atlanta serves the metro Atlanta area, and has grown to become one of Atlanta’s most widely known and supported non-profit organizations.
With the arrival of the city’s Atlanta Beltline project—the outgrowth of Georgia Tech grad student Ryan Gravel’s 1999 master’s thesis—Trees Atlanta now has a wealth of new opportunities to restore and reconnect urban greenspace in the entire Metro area. The Beltline’s progress has been reported on many times here in  Revitalization News, starting with  this 2015 article. Read more here.

Also, check out this video about how an old loop of railroads is changing the face of a city.
Bicyclists celebrate East Coast Greenway in NH
PORTSMOUTH -- The East Coast Greenway Alliance celebrated its 25th anniversary with an early morning gathering of bikers and government officials Friday at Prescott Park.
Gov. Chris Sununu paid tribute to what he called “an awesome project,” which is aimed at creating 3,000 miles of protected bike and walking trails from Maine to Florida. Sununu said New Hampshire understands “the value, even the economic value, of a recreational infrastructural project like this and we have to make it a priority.” Read more here.
Abandoned Railroads Become Vibrant Paths But Some Communities in EMass Voice Concerns
A national initiative to transform abandoned railroads into public bicycle and walking trails is stirring controversy in at least two North Shore communities.
Lynnfield and Swampscott residents remain divided, but recent ballot votes in both communities favored trail construction and authorized partial funding.
Those who embrace the Rails to Trails concept contend such paths enhance abutting property values, create healthy recreational opportunities and put the land to better use. Read more here.
Recently Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of PARKS TRAILS NY sent this email missive out.
"After decades of advocating for completion of the Erie Canalway Trail between Buffalo and Albany, the actualization of this vision, plus 400 miles of additional connected trail, is truly a dream come true."
"We are entering a golden era of trails, with communities across the state looking to build new trails, connect existing ones, and make it easier and safer for people to walk and bike."   READ THE REPORT.

[BTW, People in Massachusetts who are used to knock-down, drag-out fights getting trails built are going to be amazed by NY's initiative. What a difference it makes when the Governor steps up. CDP]
Turn over a new leaf: Chase that autumn foliage on foot
BOSTON (AP) — Here's a novel way to enjoy autumn in New England: While the trees are dropping their leaves, you can be shedding some pounds.
Activate the "Health" app on your iPhone (it's standard and has a simple red heart icon); don a light jacket; unleash your inner multitasker; and you're good to go. Powered by the same GPS technology your phone's map uses to give you directions, the app will tell you not only how many miles or kilometers you've covered but exactly how many steps you took. Read more here.
How the Malden River can rise from a polluted past
BOSTON GLOBE--EDITORIAL With a little help, the Malden River could be the next Greater Boston waterway reclaimed from its polluted past. Planners are working on blueprints for a network of parks and trails that would open the length of the river to pedestrians and cyclists, bringing new life to the area bordering Everett, Malden, and Medford.
Whether the river reaches its potential, though, relies to a big degree on the utility company National Grid, which owns a key stretch of riverfront property in Malden and Everett. The company is in the midst of renewing its state permits for the property, which will determine how much of the land it makes available for public use. Read more . [ Hello Massachusetts officials! Aren't you aware that National Grid is helping to develop a trail from Hudson to Albany? CDP CLICK HERE to go that story from last month.]
     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. SEE THE VIDEO #9

Here's my calendar of upcoming in-person lectures, online webinars, bike tours, book-signings etc. Email me at: [email protected] for more information on any of these events or if your community might like to host one.