Rail Trail Newsletter 2-15-2018 #30

Sorry for the delay in this newsletter. Some of you know that on 1/28, I had what is called "Full Knee Replacement" surgery. Here we are now on 2/15 and I'm coming along and learning about my new knee. Three sessions of physical therapy are my touchstones each day. I'll be back to being able to walk and bike without bone-on-bone pain this spring, and I'm looking forward to that.

In this issue are a few things you probably never knew of. One of which is the acronym ATC, or Alternative Transportation Corridor. It is a piece of jargon from the MBTA--Mass Bay Transportation Authority.

Way back in the 1970s, the "T" bought a slew of ex B&M RR branch lines in over 60 communities in Eastern and Central Mass. When the idea later came about of these becoming useful as trails, the T came up with a plan to make them available to the host communities though a long-term lease for free or nearly free. You'll find a link to that story and the link to the website about the program.

There is also a link to the Mass DOT Bike Plan which is VERY visionary and points to a good future in making our communities more livable and environmentally friendly.

I'll be back in a few weeks with another issue, and I'm sure I'll be more mobile by then.

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

Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
Alternative Transportation Corridors
Alternative Transportation Corridors (ATCs) are the end products of rehabilitation partnerships between the MBTA and Mass communities, municipalities and nonprofit organizations. READ MORE INCLUDING A LIST OF ALL THE CORRIDORS
Critical Community Path Decisions for Belmont's section of the MCRT
By Vincent Stanton, Jr.
The design of the Belmont Community Path, has moved closer to reality in the last six months with leadership from the Belmont selectmen and financial support from Town Meeting. READ MORE
Weston lands $57K grant for their section of the MCRT
By Paul Penfield Jr. / WESTON — With paving on the Mass. Central Rail Trail hardly completed, the Rail Trail Advisory Committee is already planning the next step.
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 .
New path in Nassau, DE Additonal Lewes segment to be finished by spring;

With unusually warm weather New Year's Day, local cyclists, walkers and runners were quick to get out on a newly paved section of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail in the Nassau area.
The 3.2-mile, $1.27-million trail will run from the Savannah Road entrance to Lewes to Sweetbriar Road near the Route 9 intersection, and is expected to be completed this spring.
The first section of the trail, from Gills Neck Road across from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal swing bridge to Savannah Road, was opened in October 2016. Read more .
The mode less traveled
A letter in the Lowell Sun By Marlies Henderson
A Dec. 30, 2018 editorial quipped that a draft MassDOT Bicycle Transportation Plan should take a hike. I am all for hiking, and I appreciate that the author took the time to browse the draft, but the retrograde conclusion that "technology and the marketplace" will ultimately tackle traffic jams and US health, rather than the recommendations in the comprehensive plan, bespeak myopia. Read more here . [ btw, Marlies is a friend of mine and she is just the perfect "trouble-maker" in Billerica, MA. Great letter Marlies! CDP]
Kudos to Gov. Cuomo for rail trail
Thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his environmental agencies (Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation), the long-awaited Adirondack Rail Trail has overcome legal roadblocks and is back on track. This means that Tri-Lakes residents and visitors should soon reap multiple benefits from the scenic travel corridor (the publicly owned rail bed) connecting Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. Read more
Debating Bicycling Safety, Infrastructure in Boston
Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote a column slamming the practice of putting public money into bicycle infrastructure, saying bicycles don't belong in urban traffic and...  Read More

State gives go-ahead to rail trail extension in Wellfleet
WELLFLEET — The state’s top environmental regulator has given the green light to the two-mile extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail farther into Wellfleet but acknowledged that safety issues may require design changes. Read more
State Grant Awarded For Cheney Rail Trail Project In Manchester, CT
By  Chris Dehnel  | Jan 14, 2019
MANCHESTER, CT — Connecticut DEEP has announced more than $3 million in grants for 19 projects "to plan and design, build, expand, or enhance and improve multi-use trails and greenways across the state," including more than $150,000 for this Manchester project. Read more
LETTER: The much-needed Clippership Connector
To the editor,
The Mystic River in Eastern Mass is one of Medford’s many gems, but access to and along the river has been limited for too long.
Within the past few years, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has opened pathways in Cambridge, Arlington and Somerville that connect the Minuteman Bikeway, the Fitchburg Cutoff, Alewife Linear Park and the planned Watertown Greenway to the Mystic River and beyond via the Alewife Greenway. These projects are all part of the growing network of shared-use paths that are now beginning to connect communities throughout the Greater Boston area. Read more .
M attapoisett bike path extension to move forward this spring Daniel Monahan
The second phase of the proposed 4.5 mile multi-use path which runs through Mattapoisett has been awarded a nearly $9 million federal grant. — The long awaited extension of the Mattapoisett bike path is one step closer to construction now that town officials have been awarded a federal grant for $9 million to extend the trail from Depot Street to Mattapoisett Neck Road.  Read more
W areham weighs dissolving Bike Path Committee
By Mary McKenzie / Wareham Courier
WAREHAM — Selectman Chairman Alan Slavin suggested getting rid of the town’s Bike Path Committee, as the committee currently only has two members.
“We might want to consider sunsetting the current Bike Path Committee,” said Slavin at Tuesday night’s board meeting. “There are only two members now and it’s really not functioning. We got pushed back twice already (on the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District’s South Coast Community Bike Plan), first to 2021 and now to 2023. We don’t want to get pushed back again. We need someone overlooking this.” [ And I'll add that a more effective way to build better bike connections in a community is generally NOT a town-appointed committee, but a citizens advocacy group. There is a difference. CDP]
New phase of Haverhill, MA rail trail chugging along
By Kiera Blessing HAVERHILL — The city is making moves in its quest to extend the James J. Fiorentini Rail Trail, with hopes of eventually connecting it to the rail trail slated for construction in Groveland. 
In mid-January, Mass DOT held an informational meeting about the progress of the next phase of the Haverhill trail, which is about 25 percent designed and due to begin construction in the summer of 2020.  Read more

Firm hired for phase one rail trail design in Bourne, MA
By Paul Gately VHB of Watertown and Hyannis will undertake engineering and design of the first phase of the proposed Bourne Rail Trail from the canal at the Tidal Flats Overlook to Monument Neck Road in Gray Gables.
Bourne Assistant Town Administrator Glenn Cannon said a contract up to $50,000 in available funds will be negotiated with the firm, which is experienced with Cape Cod projects needing ultimate Mass DOT. Read more

NH communities get $1.7M for 'alternative transportation projects'
By Sentinel Staff   Jan 24, 2019  
Projects in Jaffrey, Keene and Swanzey have been selected to receive a total of $1.72 million in funding through the N.H. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program, state officials announced in a news release Wednesday.
The local projects are among nine picked from 38 applications, according to the release from the state transportation department. The federal funds are geared toward “alternative transportation projects,” the release says, including those involving rail trails, facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and safe routes for children to take to and from school. Read more .
Hampton, NH votes to support rail trail proposal
HAMPTON -- Selectmen voted to support the future development of a rail trail Monday provided the state agrees to remove and dispose of its railroad ties and other stipulations.
The board voted 4-1 to support the project after meeting with advocates for the Seacoast Greenway, a walking and bike path that would run from Maine to Massachusetts and pass through Hampton. Read more .
Easthampton exploring trail expansions--to schools, parks and into residential neighborhoods
By LUIS FIELDMAN EASTHAMPTON – City officials are asking the public for help in envisioning a multi-use trail network to connect schools, Nonotuck Park, and the downtown area to residential neighborhoods and the Manhan Rail Trail. Read more. This winter term, Conway’s Class of 2019 is working on planning projects in towns across Mass. and Ct. Come see all their presentations on Friday, February 22 from 10 am to 4 pm Click here to register.
Bicycle Plan
The statewide bicycle transportation plan
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that the Draft Statewide Bicycle Transportation Plan is now available for public comment. You can review the plan and provide feedback by clicking the link below.

Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
The Economics Behind Reclaiming Outdated Infrastructure for Public Places
Long Live the Lowline! As of the end of February, the Kickstarter-project-turned-urban-design-experiment known as the Lowline Lab  has shut down. The exhibit originally opened to the public in October 2015 in an abandoned market building in New York City, intended as a proof-of-concept for what an underground park could look like. Using a series of novel remote skylights that channel sunlight from rooftops on the surface to underground, the Lab showed off a potential future for green space development. Read more here .
New Animation of Bike-Ped Path on
Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge
A 3.6-Mile Path Set to Open in 2019, Linking Rockland and Westchester Counties Will Be One of the Longest of its Kind in the Nation and Feature Six Scenic Overlooks Along the Westbound Span over the Hudson River. See Path Animation   Here .
M eet the newest sections of Greenway, designated in 2018
The number of miles of East Coast Greenway built as safe, off-road paths jumped in 2018 by 44.4 miles. The 24 new segments are found in 10 states, Maine to Florida. 
For the first time ever, the percentage of completed Greenway miles has passed one third, an exciting milestone. We are quickly approaching 1,000 completed miles, with more improvements on the horizon in 2019, Deputy Director Niles Barnes explains.  Read more .
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 .