Rail Trail Newsletter 11-10 #40

In this newsletter, you'll see that there are two instances of the word "ABUTTER" being used. Used in the context of someone who lives next to dead RR that is proposed to become a rail trail. That is when they are seen as an abutter.
I do know that most anti-trail "abutters" do like to be called abutters. It is a harsh sounding word. Almost like gutter. Abutter is a used to describe a bad project. Well, I'll say living next to a dead RR is a bad thing--worthy of being called an abutter. However, when the trail gets built, none of the people who live next to it, call themselves abutters. They are trail neighbors. People who live next to 24 hour gas stations etc. are abutters.

As a Realtor who has been involved in scores of multiple offer situations over the past 15+ years, for houses next a rail trail, I'd think the consensus for those buyers would be to call themselves LUCKY. Certainly not the word that makes people feel sorry for them.

Anyway, in this issue, we don't have the finished feasibility study of the MCRT just yet. Not too much longer. But we do have a couple of more ribbon-cuttings on the MCRT to tout. And we have several great stories from NY. AND a great short video about the developing trail from Concord NH to Lake Sunapee and an op-ed piece from a Board member of VAST [VT Association of Snow Travelers--the snowmobile club in VT] The premise of the story is that the state of VT isn't building out the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail fast enough.

Anyway, I just love to have two stories together here about developing trails that were ex-Pinsly RR Company owned corridors. I used to work for Pinsly, marketing freight and planning the start-up of two of the northeast's largest and most successful transloading operations. And much to the chagrin of some rail fans, Pinsly is usually the last "Real Railroad" that operated those lines.

Also, if you want the Bruce Freeman Trail to get built in Sudbury AND the Southampton segment of the trail from New Have to Northampton, please read that story AND TAKE ACTION.

This will likely be the last newsletter of 2019--unless of course the MCRT feasibility study gets released. Then I put out new of that. Till then, have a safe holiday season.

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut Street
Northampton, MA 01062
In the News
It's official! Another 1/2 mile of the MCRT is OPEN in Ware. Here's the ribbon-cutting on 10-17. The stone dust trail features an accessible loop, accessible picnic table, and a fabulous view of the Ware River. Start at 250 Church St in Ware. Thanks to all who made it possible. See photos here .

And another 6 miles of the MCRT just opened in
Wayland and Weston Residents gathered on Saturday 10-19-19 celebrate the new rail trail with a ribbon cutting. The event was the culmination of months of hard work and years of advocacy. [Over 25 years of advocacy. CDP]
Save the Date! Saturday, 11- 16-19 A CHILI-FEST to SUPPORT THE MCRT in Clinton!
What fun! A CHILLI-FEST to support the trail! Why not take the family to this great event. 5-8 p.m. in in the lovely small town of Clinton. Go meet the advocates there and get some great chili. READ MORE
Belmont Community Path Abutter Site Walk on November 19th.
Video of a wheel-chair on the newly opened stone-dust section of the MCRT in Ware.

Here's a short video showing an East Quabbin Land Trust volunteer in a wheelchair on the newly opened section of the MCRT in Ware. Click here to go to the video. [video is on Facebook]
There are now over 23,000 miles of trail open in the US, about 2/3s of the mileage is NOT paved. Most of the rail trail wars that took place in the 1990s in Mass were largely about the requirement to pave the trail. Mass used to be the only state in the U.S. to require pavement. That requirement was relaxed when MassDOT rewrote their design guidebook. Here's a link to the chapter about multi-use trails.
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.
Important news from the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Support State Legislation to Support Rail Trails including the BFRT : Please write, call or visit your State Representative and State Senator and tell them why you support H.1790  and  S.83  ).  Read more. VERY IMPORTANT. Please READ and take action .
Opinion: Merritt is wrong place for a trail
By Peter Malkin and Wes Haynes. The Stamford Board of Representatives made the right decision in  voting  overwhelmingly against authorizing the city to spend $40,000 on another study of introducing a walking and cycling trail within the Merritt Parkway right of way.  Read more . [imagine if you will, when the Merritt Parkway was planned and built, a 300' RoW was taken by the state, but only a 150' swath of land --on the south side of the RoW was used for the highway. Yes, there is an unused 150' swath of land here. And did you know that most dead RRs in southern New England are 66 feet wide? Yes, the unused land of the Merritt is over twice as wide as a typical rail trail. CDP ]
Art and Community Celebrated on the Dedham Rail Trail
Abutter Hosts Fall Celebration to Celebrate its Potential as a Multi-Use, Arts-Themed Community Path. Read more .
New 11.5-mile rail trail promises great fall foliage views
The Ulster County-built Ashokan Rail-Trail, a long-awaited public recreational walkway (the county prefers the term “shared-use path”), will be opened to the public on Friday, October 18. First proposed in 2012, the 11.5-mile trail is ten to twelve feet in width, with a compacted crushed-stone surface that allows accessibility to persons with disabilities and limited mobility. [And I'll add that the trail is adjacent to a NYC reservoir and that the tourist RR was removed to facilitate the trail. CDP Read more here .
What does Lynnfield have to do with Dedham?
Lots to report for this Update: success in Lynnfield, a Complete Streets grant for Dedham, videos, and new DHRT buttons and car magnets!
What does Lynnfield have to do with Dedham?
Lynnfield, Swampscott and Dedham were often grouped together as towns that were struggling to move their rail trail projects forward. After several positive votes, Swampscott is solidly on their way and now Lynnfield's landslide  vote  shows it's truly full steam ahead!
Dedham is now the hold out...
Walkway Over the Hudson turns 10 years old: How it spurred change, improved region
John W. Barry , Poughkeepsie Journal
The neighborhood was quiet. 
The railroad that, in its heyday, funneled 3,500 train cars daily, 212 feet above the Hudson River, had long ago ceased operations.
For decades,  the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge  towered over the City of Poughkeepsie unused, a dilapidated relic haunting Hudson River views. Read more here.
Ashokan NY rail trail opens just in time for peak fall foliage
Estimates are that upwards of 600 people utilized the Ashokan rail-trail on October 19, a day after Ulster County executive Pat Ryan and a crowd of other local dignitaries participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 11.5-mile recreational trail extending from Basin Road in West Hurley to Route 28A in Boiceville. Read more .
From Industry to Open Space—Making a Transformational Change in Kingston NY
KINGSTON (Ulster County)—Studies have shown repeatedly that green-spaces and trails near urban areas provide myriad benefits—enhancing residents’ physical and mental health, contributing to a reduction in childhood obesity, alleviating stress and anxiety, improving air and water quality, helping to cool nearby neighborhoods, and mitigating crime and vandalism. Read more here .
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail - If We Build It They Will Come
Vermont, and more precisely, its elected representatives, are ignoring a relatively inexpensive project that could have huge economic impact and significant health benefits for northern Vermont. The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT), once its full 95 miles are completed, could be the crown jewel of the Vermont State park system, attracting bikers from all over the world. Unfortunately, the LVRT is only one third complete and its progress has come to a virtual standstill.   Read more here .
Another Gap filled in the ECG
One exceptionally long ribbon was stretched across the commuter parking lot off Route 44 in Bolton CT, on Oct. 12, to allow as many people as could fit behind it for its cutting. It was a testimony to the power and perseverance of a committed and trail-loving community . Read more .
Yankee Magazine did a short video interview with Tim Blagden about the Concord – Lake Sunapee Rail Trail
One of my favorite rail to trail projects in nor thern New England is the Concord – Lake Sunapee Rail Trail . This is another case of having to put Humpty Dumpty together again--having to reassemble the former RR corridor. Tim is getting it done. See the video .

A bill (S.4416B/A.5035B) to create New York's first multi-use trails plan has been sent to Governor Cuomo for his approval. This is your chance to let the Governor know how important trails are to you. All you have to do is contact the Governor and urge him to sign the bill so that New York can have the best multi-use trails network in the nation. Read more here.
Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
Second Act for Shuttered Mills Revitalizes New England Towns By Miranda S. Spivack
Nov. 5, 2019 New York Times.
In Keene, N.H., the first revival of the 112,000-square-foot Colony Mill in the 1980s transformed it into a mall with small retailers. In 2016, two years after Brady Sullivan, a real estate firm, acquired the property, company officials decided that retail was not sustainable. The next year, the city approved plans to convert the mill into apartments, a pattern the company has followed at several mills in New England. Read more here . [Several of the projects in the story are near to rail trails, but not noted in the text. CDP]
When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer
Like many towns across America, Harrison, New York is desperate to revitalize its downtown. The same old grocery stores and nail salons have made up most of the retail landscape for years. “If you look at a picture from the 1950s and ’60s, it looks the same today as it did then, with the same places,” says Ron Belmont, the town supervisor. “There’s not much variety.” Read more here.
Want Better Safe Streets? Just add paint
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative wants to bring a boost of color to the streets of America’s small and mid-size cities.
If you’re frustrated with the slow speed of efforts to make streets safer, perhaps you should grab a paint brush.
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.