Rail Trail Newsletter 10-6-2019 #39

This is a bit shorter than recent issues, but in many ways, just as important because in addition to news here, I've got a "Call to Action" where we'll need you to contact your state reps and senators in Mass to support legislation that will allow communities to use CPA funds to purchase federally railbanked corridors. This is only for Massachusetts residents though.

I've also got news of count 'em, THREE conferences coming up soon AND a ribbon-cutting on the MCRT's Wayside segment in Weston. YES, WESTON!!! I still can't believe it.

And in Lynnfield, a vote at a special town meeting took place recently. The question was; "Shall the town use town funds to go towards the design of the trail". The pro-trail side won 61% to 39%. Very heartening.

And finally, you've probably noticed a few changes here. A different header. A diferent email address and a few other things. I've rebranded this newsletter to be under the umbrella of the Norwottuck Network. This is a small 501(c)(3) non-profit set up about 20 years ago to do trail betterments. I'll have a full update about where this came from and where it is going in the next issue in a few weeks.

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut Street
Northampton, MA 01062
In the News
The densest network of former steam and electric railroads in North America
is here.
Here is a comment I wrote about Streets Blog's nice mention of what is happening in the Boston suburbs. See the story to the right. CDP

The big picture here is that within 125 miles of my house in Northampton, MA there are more miles of dead RRs [both steam RRs and electric trolley lines] than anywhere else in North America. Read more here .

A Network of Rail-Trails Comes Together In Boston’s Suburbs
By  Christian MilNeil Oct 1, 2019 STREETS BLOG
This fall, trail advocates and officials are celebrating ribbon cuttings on two significant new trail connections in the suburbs west of Boston: a 2.5 mile segment of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through West Concord, and a 4.5 mile segment of the Wayside Trail (part of the longer Massachusetts Central Rail Trail, which extends from Somerville to Northampton) in Weston and Wayland. Read more here.
Save the Date! 
Saturday, October 19 2019
Ribbon Cutting for the
Mass Central Rail Trail - Wayside segment in both Wayland and yes. . . WESTON.
I never thought I'd see the day that Weston's section of the trail would be built out, but here it is. Amazing! Click here to read the entire day's agenda and come on out!
And here is a link to a great booklet about the history of the RR and the history of the lengthy effort to convert the former RR into a trail.
Sudbury Lawsuit Over Mass Central Rail Trail is now Before the MA Supreme Court
By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff. The Town of Sudbury has sued to stop the MBTA from allowing Eversource t o bury power lines underneath the old rail line. A section of the old Boston & Maine RR's Mass Central Branch. The state Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019 heard arguments in a land-use lawsuit filed by Sudbury against the MBTA and Eversource. Sudbury is appealing its case to the Supreme Court after the state Land Court dismissed the matter in 2018. Read more here.

Galen Mook, Executive Director of MassBike has put together this short call to action that will facilitate the buildout of important two trails. The Sudbury section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail and the Southampton section of the New Haven to Northampton Canal Greenway. If you are a resident of Massachusetts, please look this over and contact your elected officials. This link will take you to Mass Bike's web page about the issue . That link will also lead you to a script for a letter or an email. And here is a local newspaper story about the issue.
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
Weston: Link here to the history of both the RR and the advocacy to create the trail. Over 25 years of advocacy. It is now open.
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.
Lynnfield Voters Give Overwhelming YES To Rail Trail 
September 26, 2019
Almost 1,000 Lynnfield residents cast vote in Special Town Meeting And this time it wasn't even close.
LYNNFIELD — In what’s been called the most contentious issue in a generation, residents backed the Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail by a huge margin Thursday night.
After more than an hour of debate, voters approved $348,000 for design costs by a 61 to 39 percent margin, or 585 to 380. Read more.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
opens another segment
They came from near and far.
They arrived in cars. They arrived on foot. And, quite fittingly, they arrived on bikes.
Nearly 200 people attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony in West Concord on Friday, Sept. 27, on a near-perfect fall day to celebrate the completion of Phase 2C of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Read more.
CT Airline Trail State Park is worth exploring
Last year my wife and I purchased new bicycles. We purchased multi-use bikes with wider tires than the narrow tires for biking on roads. Our plan was to explore the rail trails throughout New England and The Last Green Valley. Our first stop was the Air Line Trail located just a few miles from our home in Putnam. We started at the trailhead in Pomfret and rode our bikes southwest toward East Hampton
Start of Greenway Trail in Concord, NH to begin construction next spring
By DAVID BROOKS Monitor staff
The long-planned Merrimack River Greenway Trail will finally see life next spring. Earlier this month the city council approved spending $348,000 for upgrades, half of it from the city and rest coming in the form of a $100,000 grant from the state Land and Water Conservation Fund and $69,000 donated by the Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail. Read more
Voters in Marshfield, MA vote to use CPA funds to build the rail trail
As it prepares to move forward with planned improvements to the Rail Trail and Bridle Path, Marshfield’s Recreation Trails Committee will be holding a series of community meetings to discuss the path forward.
Voters at April’s Town Meeting approved nearly $200,000 in Community Preservation Acts funds to improve the entire three miles of the Bridle and Rail trail. Read more .
Here's info on some on some great upcoming rail trail conferences
CT Trails Symposium on 10-26 in East Hartford, CT. Click here for the agenda etc. Charlie Tracy--ex NPS --will be a featured speaker, talking about his next chapter. He is the new coordinator for the Connecticut Trail Census
The NH Rail Trail Coalition is holding their conference on 10-26 in Concord, NH. Click here for tickets. Charles Martin, author, and rail trail advocate in both NH and Mass will be the keynote speaker. Click here for the agenda etc
Mass Trails Conference 10-31 to 11-2. DoubleTree by Hilton in Leominster, MA. 'Trails As Connections​.' Keymote speaker is: Charles Thomas, Jr. of Outward Bound Adventures. Talk is titled: GET HERE IF YOU CAN: Who's using our national and local trails, who does not and why? Link here .
November 3rd. Medfield Barn Party Emceed by WCVB Channel 5 News Anchor Ben Simmoneau. This is a benefit for the Bay Colony Rail Trail . LINK HERE to tickets on EventBrite.

Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
New bikeway planned to go straight through Boise Idaho
High School campus
A proposed bikeway along 11th Street is could soon be a reality — and it could run right through the Boise High School campus.
The bikeway, built by the Ada County Highway District, would run from Heron Street in the North End to West State Street, connecting Camel’s Back Park with Downtown. Read more here.

By Kate Whiting, David Knowles
With its sweeping views over the sparkling Hofvijver pond, the Binnenhof — the Gothic castle in the heart of The Hague that houses the States General of the Netherlands — is quite something.
It's little wonder Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte enjoys commuting to his office there. And recently he's made the journey by bike as often as possible. Read more here.
North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail in CA would create a 320-mile pathway
The first steps toward making a more than 300-mile walking and cycling trail from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, crossing some of the North Coast’s most scenic, least-traveled landscapes are set to begin later this year. Read more here .
Articles about E-Bikes 

Short Trips Favor E-scooters and E-bikes Over Cars
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
(TNS) — Electric scooters and bikes have a “universal potential” to provide more efficient, cheaper ways to get around U.S. cities than driving a car,  according to a report released  Monday, but Portland, OR is one city that could see the greatest benefit.
That’s according to a report from Inrix, a Kirkland, Washington-based transportation data company. Read more here .
E-bikes get green light on Cape Cod
National Seashore trails
E-bikes will be allowed where traditional bicycles are allowed in the Cape Cod National Seashore — with one exception. Read more here .

Nice Ride in Minneapolis considers retiring dockless bikes, adding e-bikes
After debuting just over a year ago, Nice Ride’s dockless blue bikes could be phased out.
Nice Ride Minnesota held a forum on Sept. 24 to discuss potentially retiring the blue bikes and adding electric bikes to its Minneapolis fleet. 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 .
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.