Rail Trail Newsletter 12-20 #41

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season and the winter thus far. This issue has quite a few interesting stories. The board for our 501c3, micro-funding entity, Norwottuck Network has recently met and we are going to be laying out, this winter how to distribute funds that'll make it possible for groups or communities to restore deficient or reinstall lost/stolen mile-markers on the MCRT corridor or trails that connect directly with the MCRT. I can also see NN working w DCR to develop kiosks to highlight areas on the corridor that some interesting forgotten history. We are also developing a creative way to fund this effort. More at. www.nnnetwork.net

We also have interesting stories about the town of Sudbury with two court cases trying to block the MBTA owned corridor--the MCRT-- from becoming a trail by blocking Eversource's ability to upgrade their utility infrastructure on the corridor. One case was about the state choosing the under ground method of transmission lines and other case was about the MBTA's ability to lease a part of the RoW to a private utility. We have a great letter to the editor by Larry Kiernan about these issues.

Also, there is an interesting story from 1998 about the negative votes in both Weston and Belchertown about their section of the rail trail now called Mass Central Rail Trail.

We have sad news here, too. Ed Yaglou, famous for his rail trail work on the Wachusett Greenways section of the MCRT has passed away. We have his obituary here. Also you'll see some stories about economic impact of trails and a story about the iconic bridge to be built over Rt 2 that'll be a part of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 [email protected]
In the News
State approves Eversource power line through Sudbury and Hudson
The state's Energy Facilities Siting Board of the Dept of Public Utilities has unanimously approved the nine-mile, 115-kilovolt underground transmission line project.

Despite strong opposition from neighbors and town officials from Sudbury and Hudson, Eversource Energy now has the state’s stamp of approval for its controversial nine-mile, 115-kv underground transmission line project. Read more here. And HERE is the decision . All 259 pages of it.
Sudbury keeps fight alive on Eversource powerline project
SUDBURY, MA -- The town is appealing a Land Court’s recent decision to dismiss its lawsuit that sought to block the MBTA from leasing an inactive railroad corridor to Eversource to bury its power lines below.
In a Sept. 28 ruling, a Land Court judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying it would be “inappropriate” for the court to decide the matter. Read more here .
Above is the bumper sticker from the mid 90s for the Wayside Rail Trail--before the MCRT was even seriously thought of. And below is a great story from 22+ years ago. CDP
Derailed in Belchertown and Westo n by  DAVE DENISON of Commonwealth Magazine.
April 1, 1997
BELCHERTOWN, MA— It wasn’t hard to see that Bernie Kubiak was ready to take a vacation from local politics. He had yet to announce that he would not run for another term as selectman when I visited in late February, but it was a safe bet he would get out soon. “It’s been 15 years,” he said. “And I’m tired.” Read more here.
LETTER: Help join Clinton’s trails to Mass Central Rail Trail system
Nov 15, 2019  
Being part of the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust has been such a rewarding experience. I read The Item’s coverage of the Rail Trail project from the Nov. 6 Board of Selectmen’s meeting with the perspective of having watched Fran Hodge work doggedly for 20-plus years to make this wonderful vision a reality. Read more of the letter here .

Dr. Edward P. Yaglou Obituary.
I was stunned last week to learn that Ed passed away. He was one of the people you'd always see at MCRT events. And he would always be up beat and do what ever was needed. We all will miss you Ed. CDP
Barre/Princeton - Dr. Edward P. Yaglou (88) of Barre (previously from Princeton) passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Sunday, December 8, 2019. Ed was born in Boston and grew up in Belmont. Read more .
Letter to the Editor: Protect...something
by Larry Keirnan, head of the Friends of the Wayside branch of the MCRT.
Protect Wayland, Protect Sudbury, Stop the Whopper, these groups protect “our towns, our safety, the environment, our rural roots, our kids, our health, our brooks, trees and save our property values.” They’re concerned, passionate and heck, they’re doing this for us. “Sure, add me to your list, yes, I can donate, keep up the good fight.” Then I go back to doing yard work or driving my kids somewhere. READ MORE
Here's a valuable report by Edwin Hiller of NH
Here's a valuable report about how to restore B&M RR mile-markers. Read the 13 page report
PEDAL PEOPLE are working on the MCRT
One of the more unusual things you'll see around town are the Pedal People. A trash and recycling coop that has about 20% of the market. They have doing this for over 15 years and they are very ubiquitous around town here in Northampton. But here's something special I never saw before. Tandem Trailers. Wow! Business is so good in the Leeds neighborhood they are running tandem trailers. See their website
Looking for something fun to do on New Year's Day? How about a fun hike or ski on the East Quabbin Land Trust's section of the MCRT at 1700 Hardwick Road in New Braintree. 12 noon. KDP and I--along w Thelma our Scottie will be there too. CDP
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.
Should low speed electric bikes be allowed on multi-use paths in Mass.?
Several years ago, I tried out a new-fangled e-bike. It was exhilarating, and had me zipping along a little too speedily at 28 miles per hour. Recently I sampled a newer version that allowed me, if I pedaled smoothly and quickly, to top out at 20 miles per hour — about as fast as I can cruise on a standard bike. What changed? Twenty two states (but not Massachusetts) now regulate e-bikes based on three categories of speed, which has led manufacturers to offer more slower-speed models. Since I wasn’t interested in the exhilarating model, I ordered the slower one. Read more.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail bridge over Rte 2 in Concord, heads out to bid
By Patty Mahoney / [email protected]
Posted Dec 7, 2019 at 8:51 AM

The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail - a multi-use trail running through Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, and will ultimately continue to Sudbury and Framingham - is entering a critical phase in its development. Read more here .
Letter To The Editor: Dedham Rail Trail Ballot Question
The Friends of the Dedham Heritage Rail Trail (DHRT) are currently collecting signatures from registered Dedham voters to place a non-binding public advisory question on the election ballot in April 2020. Approximately 2100 signatures will be required to place the question on the ballot. Read more .
POUGHKEEPSIE—Taking the first step in creating a new trail that will link neighborhoods in the city and town of Poughkeepsie, Scenic Hudson has negotiated and funded the acquisition of 2.7 miles of a former rail corridor that passes through residential and commercial neighborhoods, as well as alongside Marist College, before ending near the Hudson River. Read more. And here is another article about this important urban project. Read more here.

Another GREAT
Letter To The Editor:
As signature-gathering speeds ahead to place a non-binding referendum question on the April 11, 2020 local ballot to gauge support for the Dedham Heritage Rail, it is important for voters to know the facts. People may have legitimate differences of opinion on the project, but voters must have factually correct information. Read more here .
White River Junction, VT Volunteers Plan Trail to Downtown
Valley News Staff Writer
White River Jct. — A group of residents wants to build a new kind of walking path along the bank of the Connecticut River, but town officials have expressed only tepid support for the project because of concern about long-term costs. Read more here.
Interesting Stories From Around the Country -- and Sometimes Beyond
. Regional coalition wants to grow its trail network to nearly 900 miles around metro DC
By  Luz Lazo   Dec. 7, 2019
A plan to complete a network of nearly 900 miles of trails connecting the Washington region could be accomplished with an investment of just over $1 billion, according to a coalition of nonprofits, business and government groups. Read more.
Coast-to-coast rail trail will cut through Indiana. Here's what Hoosiers can expect.
Imagine soaking up the expansive mountain views in Washington state's Cascades State Park or the wide open grasslands of Big Sky country in Montana and or the breath-taking scene of Nebraska's Niobrara River. Read more here.
RTC Releases Latest Research On Net Economic Impact Of Trails In Wisconsin
By Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
MILWAUKEE, Dec. 3, 2019 -- In the city that is the center point of the Route of Badger, southeastern Wisconsin's 700-mile landmark regional trail network and a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) TrailNation™ project, RTC today released the latest data about the health and economic benefits that trails deliver to the state. Read more here .
The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America is all lit up.
Lauren M. Johnson, (CNN) — Deck the bridge with lights a plenty, fa la la la la, la la la la!
North America's  longest pedestrian suspension bridge , in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is showing its holiday spirit. " Lights over Gatlinburg"  at SkyLift Park started on Thursday. Read more .

What is Your Design Advice for These Tilted Trashcans Next to Bike Paths?
It definitely makes things easier for cyclists, maybe not for city workers. Is it the best solution, or just the most do-able? By  Rain Noe  - December 17/ To make things more convenient for cyclists, in Denmark they have these tilted trash cans next to bike paths... Read more here .

New from the PA Land Trust Association. The trail studies described in this guide collectively identify a variety of trail benefits :
  • Trails increase the value of nearby properties.
  • Trails make communities more attractive places to live. When considering where to move, home-buyers rank walking and biking paths as one of the most important features of a new community.
  • Trails reduce medical costs by encouraging exercise and other healthy outdoor activities. READ THE ENTIRE REPORT.
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.