Rail Trail Newsletter 3-2020 #43
March is here now and as I finalize this, it is in the 60s here in Florence Village Center. Too early for that temperature. We've got some great stories plugged in below.

And MassDOT is going to be unveiling their long awaited feasibility study of the Mass Central Rail Trail's middle sections. This will be at their April 7th and 8th conference in Worcester. LINK HERE to the conference website. This study will look at the corridor from the Berlin/Hudson area all the way out to the west side of Belchertown. It will lay out a plan to get the trail done.

Also, recently WBZ a Boston TV station did a story about the MCRT's nearly 1,000' tunnel in Clinton. LINK HERE for that. A couple of other good stories too about Swampscott's and Marblehead's trails. And Belmont, too! Belmont, another trail that is over 20 years in and finally nearing construction. Geeez.

And let's not forget Dedham either. April 11 is the day for the vote. I'll hold the next newsletter till that vote happens. Till then, enjoy this one.

 Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 CraigDP413@gmail.com
In the GREEN area, news
about the Mass Central Rail Trail
and its connecting paths
In the News!
Updates About the Longest Developing Rail Trail Project in the Northeast U.S.
A formal Request for Proposals to remove the rails and ties on the City of Waltham's portion of the Mass Central Rail Trail

From the MassTrails Team; Bicycle/Pedestrian Counts Pilot Program
In June of 2019, MassTrails launched a pilot program for long-term continuous bicycle and pedestrian traffic counts on four shared use paths through-out the Commonwealth. Read more.
See what CT is doing in this realm. They too are doing this. Read more .
Update from Belmont on the Mass Central Rail Trail
Project Updates: What’s Been Done to Date. Posted on February 27, 2020 by Alex Gabriel
We are pleased to report that the Belmont Community Path project is well under way! Officially the project kicked-off back in September and since then we have made some major progress. The Field Survey is over 50% complete and continues to progress as we coordinate with the MBTA regarding right-of-way (ROW) access surrounding the train tracks. Read more
A couple more GREAT stories from Belmont about their section of the MCRT!
Community Path Began Decades Ago by Vincent Stanton Jr . (Another 20+ year effort. OMG! You are going to be astounded--CDP).
It has taken over two decades of stop-and-start development to bring the Belmont Community Path to its current state of planning and formal design, but a timeline for construction of the path is finally in sight. The design and engineering of Phase I of the Belmont Community Path, from Brighton Street to the Clark Street Bridge, started last fall and should take about two years to complete. Read more
Community Path Update by Kate Bowen.
Work continues with Nitsch Engineering and the Belmont Community Path Project Committee (CPPC) to bring the path to fruition. A public engagement meeting is anticipated in spring 2020. At that meeting, design solutions will be shared and discussed for Phase 1 of the two-phase project, including pinch points such as the former Belmont Municipal Light Department building. The Alexander underpass portion of the project (segment 1A), for which the town received a MassTrails Grant of $150,000, will also be discussed at that meeting. Nitsch Engineering presented two technical options for installing the tunnel alongside the functioning rail system. Read more
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 .
Clinton Tunnel: Link here to a story on WBZ Boston TV about the tunnel.
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.
Highlighting history at future recreational bridge.
Planning already underway for the reopening of Schell Bridge
By Zack Deluca, Staff Writer, Greenfield Mass Recorder
NORTHFIELD — Members of the Schell Bridge Advisory Committee, Friends of Schell Bridge and Northfield Historical Commission met Wednesday for the first time since November to discuss “key themes” to showcase through signs and other materials accompanying the bridge’s reconstruction. Read more here .
News from the Plainville, CT section of the New Haven to Northampton Canal Green-way Trail.
Plainville is CT's last gap in the 84 mile trail. This project has been a point of conversation for many residents for some time. Project manager Scott Bushee of the Connecticut Department of Transportation explained that the total New Haven to North-ampton Canal Greenway Trail. will stretch for 85 miles, connecting New Haven, CT to Northampton, Mass, with about 47 miles running through CT. Read more
Advocates Put Dedham
Rail Trail On April Ballot
S upporters of the Dedham Heritage Rail Trail, a 2-mile connection between downtown Dedham, the town’s schools and the Readville commuter rail station, have collected 2,100 signatures to put an advisory referendum in support of the trail on the town’s ballot this spring. Read more here .
Work Starts On Remainder Of 11.5-Mile Northern Strand Trail By  Alex Newman, Patch Staff   Feb 11, 2020 MALDEN, MA — Construction has started on the remaining sections of the Northern Strand community trail, officials announced last week. The finished project will result in a transportation and recreation corridor of about 11.5 miles from the Mystic River to the Lynn shoreline, connecting Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus and Lynn. Read more here .
Bill Branson invited to enjoy delights of biking a rail trail
Who says the rail-to-trail conversion of the travel corridor connecting the Tri-Lakes in the Adirondacks won’t give the area a big boost? Bill Branson has been saying so, over and over. He seems skeptical about rail trails everywhere, despite their proven success. Most recently, he pooh-poohed the benefits of the popular Virginia Creeper Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an all-season, multi-use trail that is similar in many ways to the one planned for the Adirondacks. Read more here .
Newton Mass Wins $400K Grant For Upper Falls Greenway, Intersection
NEWTON, MA — The state just awarded Newton a $396,000 MassWorks grant to go toward an extension for the Upper Falls Greenway rail trail and an update to an intersection in Upper Falls, not far from the proposed site of a major development. Read more here .
Trail traversing former Williams Lake Property made permanent part of Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in NY.
The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT), the Open Space Institute (OSI) and The Fifth Lake Resort Community has announced a formal agreement guaranteeing public trail access through Fifth Lake, formally known as Williams Lake.  Read more here .
Fall River's Mt Hope Green-way meeting coming up
The city is seeking public input on the design for a proposed six-mile bike path known as the Mount Hope Greenway.
A meeting is set for Thursday, March 12, 4 to 7:30 p.m., at the Government Center atrium.
The project would see a cycling and walking path run alongside railroad tracks and the shoreline of Mount Hope Bay. Read more here
The Bike Path’s Long Journey Continues
On February 21, the Matta-poisett Bike Path Committee held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, something it has been doing for nearly 30 years. And the work continues, work that includes pursuing easements, working with state and federal entities, meetings with attorneys or with local department heads as well as abutters (otherwise known as "TRAIL NEIGHBORS"- CDP ). The committee volunteers are Chairman Steve Kelleher and members Rob Price and Ray Rose.(I took the above picture in April, 1999 when the Fairhaven section first opened. Read more here.
Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
Green Infrastructure:  
Case studies for permeable pavement.
Permeable pavement can be an important tool for retention and detention of stormwater runoff. Permeable pavement may provide additional benefits, including reducing the need for de-icing chemicals, and providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing surface. Read more here.
We’re From the Government and We’re Here to Build a Bike Path
Municipal officials in Ohio are using eminent domain to take private property for recreational uses.
A handful of farmers in Ohio’s Mahoning County are getting an unpleasant lesson in government power at the hands of a local park district. Read more here . (This story also includes a mention about Swampscott Mass and how the town voted to use eminent domain to purchase an easement under the utility-owned former RR corridor. Read about that below. CDP)
Click on the image above to go to the story of how the Shining Sea Trail was built, having to buy out an adjoining homeowner who didn't want to see the trail become a reality.

Click on the image below for a 5 minute interview with the former state rep who proposed and got passed, two laws that defend former RR corridor in Mass.
This is one of the best books ever done about a single community rail trail. Very thorough on all aspects of the pathway. You'll never look at these "flat, straight, and boring" trails the same way again. Read more here.
Here is an image that illustrates the proximity of the two trails to each other. Click here to get a PDF of the infographic. .
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.
Imagine that !