Rail Trail Newsletter 7-2-2019 #36

Hope you are all enjoying the summer thus far. This issue has a quite a bit of notable things related to the Mass Central Rail Trail, funding pieces of it AND news of a feasibility study about a DOT look at what will be involved to piece this together. Finally.

Also, a few stories about the announcement of Mass Trails funding over 70 projects around the state. We've also updated the list of projects, websites and FB sites related to communities along the MCRT.

And we've posted a couple of great videos about Lynn getting a rail trail by bringing artists into the advocacy efforts.

And also below, you'll see that Swampscott is going to begin to build their trail. It has only been 21 years there. And you'll see that the trail in Stoneham, Winchester, Woburn opened. Only 30 years to get that done. Thanks to Cameron Bain, who never, ever gives up.

The backlog is diminishing and things are accelerating.


Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Sugar Maple Trailside Inn
62 Chestnut Street
Northampton, MA 01062
In the News
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has let out contract to Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) of Watertown Mass. This will determine the feasibility of building out the MCRT corridor from the west-side of Berlin to the west side of Belchertown.

This approximately 50 mile stretch of the 104 mile long former railroad corridor has approximately 40 miles already either open as a multi-use trail or is nearing construction. In other areas, it is already in public ownership by either a state agency, a municipality, or a land trust. A few miles are still owned by the old B&M Railroad or a utility company and some is even owned by developers and other short segments were sold off to private land owners.

The study will be completed by mid fall and it will produce a report on the challenges and opportunities along with recommendations on coordinating this effort.

It will not be easy, but then again, nothing worthwhile ever is easy. In this case, several long bridges will need to be replaced and the 1,000 ft tunnel in Clinton will need to be inspected and improved.

This is the first time a comprehensive look has taken place on what will be the longest rail trail in the northeast. How exciting. CDP
The MCRT is awarded 6 grants for various segments
The Commonwealth announced the Mass Trails Grants 2019 winners on June 26, 2019. There were 6 grants related to the Mass Central Rail Trail. You can see the details for each award by opening the 6 markers you'll see on the MCRT map when you click on it above

Come out next Tuesday to Clinton and learn about the efforts to knit together the middle section of the MCRT corridor. Come meet the leaders in Clinton and the folks from the newly launched advocacy effort in Berlin and Hudson.
Tuesday, July 9. 6:00
Holder Memorial Hall
 210 Church St, Clinton, MA 01510
More info at: clintongreenway.com /
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.
Belmont: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group.
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group. 
Waltham: Link here to the Waltham Land Trust's site.
Walham: Link here to the Waltham Bike Committee.
Waltham: Link here to the City's page about the MCRT.
Weston: Link here to the town's page about the MCRT
Wayland: Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S intersecting trail--Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. 
Hudson: Link here for the NE-SW intersecting trail--Assabet River Rail Trail.
Berlin-Hudson: Link here to the new FaceBook group.
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee. They also have a pretty nice website with pictures of the existing dead RR corridor along other maps and images of a future trail. Link here .
Wayside segment of the MCRT: Link here to a history of DCR's efforts on this.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here .
Wachusett Greenways area: Link here .
East Quabbin Land Trust: Link here
Palmer coming soon 
Ware:  Link here to the Facebook group about this segment of the MCRT'. 
Belchertown: Link for the nascent site for Friends of the Belchertown Greenway.
Amherst, Hadley on DCR's Norwottuck section of the MCRT: Link here .
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails website.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails Facebook.
The best rail trails in Upstate NY: 18 pathways to bike, run or walk this summer
By Ben Axelson
New York's rail trail system is one of the state's great recreational resources. Old railways converted into well-maintained pathways for walking, running and biking crisscross Upstate New York, from short, interconnecting lines in the  Hudson Valley  to huge, region-spanning trails in  Western New York . Read more here .
#RiMaCONN Grab your best running buddies and join this epic relay adventure! Travel through 95 miles of southern New England on a network of scenic multi-use trails of the East Coast Greenway. It’s a unique, totally sustainable race that will get your team from Rhode Island through Mass to CT by the most eco-friendly transportation method ever – running. Be part of a 6-member team or take on more miles in a 3-person ultra team. Read more .
Building a rail trail by bringing together artists and advocates. Here's a couple of short videos from Lynn, Mass about innovative efforts to convert a derelict, blight-causing, dead RR into a city showplace.  Click on each image above .
From Key West to Calais: The East Coast Greenway
Last year, when Tom Gill and his cousin, John Hamilton, told a Florida waitress they were riding their bikes on the East Coast Greenway from Key West to Calais, Maine, she didn’t believe them. Such a trip sounded daunting at best. Also, she’d never heard of the East Coast Greenway.
She patted John’s leg and told them seriously, “Y’all going to die.” They did not.
“We had enough fun that we’re going to try it again,” said Gill, 56. Their next trip starts tomorrow. Read more .
Exploring N.H.'s Rail-Trails
With the warm weather here, Granite Staters are out on the rail-trails. Years ago, railroads criss-crossed New Hampshire. Now, some of those old rail corridors are making way for bikers and walkers, as well as equestrians and inline skaters, and, in winter, cross-country skiers. We discover the etiquette for the popular multi-use trails, and hear about connecting communities from Salem to Lebanon and beyond into the White Mountains.  Read more here .

How to Cut 10,000 Parking Spaces Without Anyone Complaining
Visitors to Amsterdam may notice something new in coming years: more Amsterdam, and fewer cars.
Earlier this year, local leaders announced plans to scale back parking in Amsterdam’s core by about 1,500 spaces per year. As a new  video by Streetfilms  documents, visitors and locals alike can take in more of the city’s iconic canals, bridges, and gabled architecture with fewer vehicles blocking the view. The streets “are yours again,” Katelijne Boerma, the Dutch city’s official bike mayor, says in the film. Read more .
Tri-community bike path opens at last, linking Winchester, Woburn and Stoneham
After many decades of planning and years of construction, Tri-Community Greenway officially opened in Stoneham on June 15.
The $5 million Massachusetts Department of Transportation project used a combination of federal and state funds and has been under construction since May of 2017. First envisioned in the 1980s by Stoneham resident Cameron Bain, the trail has been 30 years in the making for supporters. Read more here .
Learn more about the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Improvements
The Woonasquatucket River Greenway Improvement Project in Providence, RI will enhance a one-mile section of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway between Downtown and Eagle Street in Providence’s Valley and Smith Hill neighborhoods. In addition to being a key focus of the Woonasquatucket Vision Plan and  Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council , this project is a critical segment of the citywide Urban Trail Initiative. Read more .
The Boroughs Trail is coming! You can help blaze the way
Southborough’s Trails Committee has an exciting announcement.
The 33 mile Borough’s Trail will be completed this fall. A Grand Opening is scheduled for October 5th. But there is still some work needed to reach that goal. And volunteers are being recruited:
Before the BLT can open this fall, trails in all four communities must be blazed with the BLT logo to help trail users stay on course. Read more here .
‘Pedal tavern’ proposal has uncertain prospects in Easthampton

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2019 11:42:16 AM
EASTHAMPTON — Dubbed a “pedal tavern” in other parts of the country, a Chicopee resident is proposing to open an alcohol friendly biking service in Easthampton, which would be the first of its kind in Massachusetts.  Read more here .
Is it a bicycle? ‘Pedal N’ Party’ brewery bike tour owner disputes ban from Easthampton police
By  Tim Jones The classification of a customized bicycle used for Easthampton brewery tours, as well as the use of the Manhan Rail Trail and public safety are all on the table as an emerging business pushes back against a ban from local police.
“Pedal N’ Party,” owned by Nick Vautrin and co-owner Monica Rosskothen, launched earlier this month and uses a 14-person bike along the trail, taking customers to different breweries. Read more here.

Pedal 'N Party bike ordered off Easthampton rail trail
EASTHAMPTON, MA WGGB/WSHM) -- Don't expect to see the Pedal 'N Party bike on the Easthampton rail trail. Owner Nick Vautrin said he received a letter from the police department ordering him to stop operating his party bike that conducts a brewery tour along the rail trail. Vautrin noted he can no longer operate until the city council comes up with rules and regulations for his type of business. Read more here.
Building historical connections
Where an ill-fated railroad once ran
By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer
BRATTLEBORO — It used to be known as "36 miles of trouble" — a short-lived rail line that suffered washouts, floods and accidents before the trains stopped running during the Great Depression. Now, the only trouble is finally connecting its upper and lower sections for use by hikers, cyclists and skiers. Read more here .
GreenWay Project Will Complete Final Leg of Silver Line Extension in Chelsea by Seth Daniel
The Chelsea GreenWay project is fully under construction this week, and City officials expect to have the multi-million dollar job substantially completed by the fall.
The GreenWay project came through a $1.1 million commitment to the City from the state, as well as funds from the City Council to complete the beautification of the shared use path along the new Silver Line. Read more here .
Making The Bike Trail A Reality - Editorial
Never underestimate the power of an idea.
An idea is a seed. Like a seed, an idea’s full potential is packed into tiny quarters: the brain of its creator.
But given the right conditions and enough effort, that idea can grow into a stunning achievement: one that can affect the lives of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Read more .

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $5 Million in MassTrails Grants for 71 Projects
Continuing efforts to support the state’s vast network of trails, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $5 million in MassTrails Grants to 71 projects throughout the Commonwealth. The grants will provide assistance for the construction, maintenance, and improvements for a variety of public trails throughout the state trails system, The announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Polito during an event in Lowell.   Read more .
Governor Charles Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito are paving the way for Lynn and Swampscott paths.
The administration announced $5 million in 2019 Mass Trails grants, with $100,000 for Swampscott’s rail trail and $300,000 to Lynn for its community path, at a press conference in Lowell on Wednesday. Officials in both say the cash from the state will jump start the beginning of each project. Read more . and an other story about Swamspscott's grant award .
Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
Love them or hate them, research offers financial case for big city bike lanes
Bike lanes come with their share of claims and controversies; beloved by some and bemoaned by others.
With bike month being marked through June, and recent bike lane announcements in Canadian cities, a review of academic and business research suggests five key economic benefits associated with bike lanes in urban centers. Read more .

5 ways multi-use trail systems transform communities
Most people agree that good schools are critical to high-quality cities, and many recognize other community assets as essential, such as libraries and stadiums. Multi-use trails are less often seen as essential infrastructure to cities aspiring to attract people and sustain a high quality of life. Trails are safe, convenient, enjoyable places where residents can walk, bike and connect with neighbors; but what makes trails transformational for communities? Read more.
Residential developments gravitate toward greenways
Bill Lewis,
Joanna Bayer loves her new home in East Greenway Park, the growing cottage neighborhood in  East Nashville . But her favorite part of the house might be what’s outside the front door.
East Greenway Park is designed so residents have direct access to Shelby Park and the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. Read more.

Why building walkable cities is the key to economic success
New report Foot Traffic Ahead finds walkable urbanism isn’t just sustainable and enjoyable, but more profitable
By  Patrick Sisson  

What if I told you there was a way to develop U.S. cities that was better for social equity, created more jobs and economic activity, resulted in better transit access, and improved the environment, all while guaranteeing better economic returns for developers and investors?
According to “ Foot Traffic Ahead ,” a new report that provides an in-depth look at the impact of walkable urbanism on U.S. real estate, that method exists. Read more here .
Bold corridor attracts investment
Carmel, Indiana, builds a high-quality public realm at the heart of its new Midtown district.
Carmel, Indiana, a suburb of more than 90,000 people bordering on Indianapolis, is building a walkable urban downtown to fit its growing population and economy. 
Main Street and the Arts and Design District have already been revitalized with restaurants and art galleries. City Center, a half mile to the south, is a world class performing arts complex built by the city. Read more here.

Bettering Bike Infrastructure for U.S. Cities
So, why is the U.S. so far behind the rest of the world in terms of bikeability and what can it do to improve? In addition to compiling existing research, we spoke to Ken McLeod from the League of American Bicyclists to learn more. The State of U.S. Bike Infrastructure. . .
As we learned in  our coverage of high-speed rail infrastructure , the U.S. has been a very personal-vehicle-obsessed nation since large business interests influenced infrastructure design in the middle of the last century. 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 .
Amazingly, Constant Contact alerted Tiffany Lyman-Olszewski, the editor here, that this newsletter is in the top 10% of all of Constant Contact's newsletters, worldwide, in terms of readership engagement.