Rail Trail E Newsletter November 2021 #61

I hope that you and your family had a good Thanksgiving. This time of year we usually have fewer stories and that is holding true this year, but we still a lot of interesting stories. Vermont now has two more bike-ped bridges underway. Also, I've plugged in a bit of news about TKMaps great add-ons for the MCRT website. If you never noticed those add-ons, check out the story below. The live, scalable Google map has all the parking lots, all the old mile markers, old topo map overlays, where intersecting preserved forests are, etc, etc etc. You'll enjoy it.

Also is a link to a report from Maine circa 1973 which suggests that it might be a good idea to repurpose some abandoned RRs there for recreational usage. This ties-in serendipitously since I have a lecture at Maine DOT coming up on 12-9 and its been several years since I've had a lecture there.

Also, you'll see a great story about the new bridge over the Hudson River, replacing the old Tappan Zee Bridge. This new one has a great walking/biking path on the bridge along with several pull-offs with electronic kiosks about the history of the area and history of the bridges crossing the Hudson.

And you'll see another great story about developing trails in a Gateway City--Lynn Massachusetts. And a story about local Realtors in Stoneham Mass getting a Place-Making Grant from the National Association of Realtors to put-in a nice picnic area along the Tri-Community Bikeway.

If you know of Realtors in your town who might be interested in a project like this, be sure to send this to them.

Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 CraigDP413@gmail.com
In the GREEN area, we have news about the
Mass Central Rail Trail
and/or its connecting paths
Travel Guide: Wayland’s Aqueducts and the Cochituate Rail Trail by Juliana Cherston STREETSBLOG MASS 11-6-2021
I initially stumbled on the Cochituate Rail Trail in Framingham by chance last year. Since then, two substantial bridges over major roadways were craned in, and earlier this fall, the trail’s new extension into Natick Center officially opened to the public.

It is now possible to ride a very enjoyable route from Boston to Natick that’s 90 percent on off-road paths, a perfect choice for some late-autumn riding. This post will show you how to connect the Cochituate Trail with the Mass. Central Rail Trail (MCRT) and the Charles River bike path, offering you the chance to explore Waltham, Wayland, and parts of Framingham on your way. Read more
Did you ever notice on our Mass Central Rail Trail website that we have a button called Maps which leads to several choices?
If you click on that Google map, and once there, double click on it, you'll see that it takes you to a scalable, interactive map of the entire corridor.

Click on the MENU in the upper left and you'll drop downs for maps of parking areas, intersecting forest lands, mile markers, where stations were, old topo maps and more. Check it out. Click on the images and it will lead you to useful info.
Saturday July 30, 2022

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 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.
Here's DOT's Recent Feasibility study about how to piece together the middle sections of the MCRT.
Concord, NH receives $275,000 grant to extend Merrimack River Greenway Trail By CASSIDY JENSEN Monitor staff 11/25/2021

Concord could see the extension of the trail along the Merrimack River between Loudon Road and Terrill Park by the summer of 2023, thanks to a new grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Read more
Medfield Rail Trail Begins Construction
This is a part of the Bay Colony Rail Trail, a developing 4 town project passing through Newton, Needham, Dover and Medfield. Click on the image above to go to a short video about the construction underway in Medfield. More info here. On Monday, February 7th, I'll be speaking via Zoom at the Medfield Historical Society about Rail Trail development in Mass and New England. LINK HERE to that event.
Cheshire, CT Town Council votes to be included in new regional alliance
November 08, 2021 By Mariah Melendez,

CHESHIRE — The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is going to be added to a much larger network of trails that will ultimately connect it all the way up to Northampton, Massachusetts, and potentially beyond.

In order to keep track of all the facets of the trail, a member of a nonprofit group approached the Town Council at meeting last month to ask for the trail to be included under the umbrella name — The New Haven & Northampton Canal Greenway. Read more
Explosion of use? Has any park gotten it right? Can we?
As mountain communities grapple with how to best manage increase in visitors, Adirondack Explorer looks to how other places are dealing
By Gwendolyn Craig, Adirondack Explorer

The Mountain Wanderer book and map store on the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire shuttered for three months last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses across the country did the same, suffering financial losses. Some merchants closed for good.

 But not so for owner Steve Smith, who had a record-breaking year in 2020. Read more
MassDOT Makes Plans to Extend Northern Strand Through Downtown Lynn By Christian MilNeil Nov 22, 2021 StreetsBlog Mass

On a recent Wednesday evening, MassDOT shared early designs for a 2-mile extension of the Northern Strand Trail that would extend the popular pathway east through downtown Lynn to the Atlantic Ocean.

Earlier this year, the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs finished construction on a project that built new trailside amenities and extended the trail through Revere, Saugus, and Lynn. The trail currently ends at Western Avenue, about one mile west of downtown Lynn. Read more
The Path on the Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River by Dave Zornow Nov 20, 2021

The Path, a shared bike and ped space on the Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge, adds a new perspective to stop, sit, and contemplate the spectacular views of the water and the shoreline.

Six overlooks along the 3.6 mile path offer walkers and cyclists views and information about the Lower Hudson region. Each rest area includes touch screen displays with information about the geography, history, and geology of the Hudson. Read more

NYDOT even has a great website about the bridge and the path along it.
Vermont receives federal money to build pedestrian and bike bridge over busy I-89 intersection
By Lana Cohen Nov 23 2021
By car, it’s simple to travel between Burlington and South Burlington. Drive up Main Street from Burlington’s downtown or lakeside, past UVM and a small strip mall, past the Interstate 89 intersection, and you’re in South Burlington.

For bicyclists and pedestrians, it’s a different story — busy intersections without stoplights, narrow sidewalks and when they approach I-89, multiple lanes of traffic with fast-moving cars.

A new bridge should take a lot of the risk out of that trip for pedestrians and bicyclists. Read more
Bridge across the Winooski River adds another vital link to Vermont's rail-trail network
Dan D'Amboisio Burlington Free Press
A bridge for cyclists and pedestrians across the Winooski River in East Montpelier is finished, bringing the Cross Vermont Trail one step closer to becoming a reality.

The 200-foot-long bridge was hoisted into place back in July. Since then contractors have worked to finish the abutments and structural details, which are now done. A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the bridge, and the first section of the new trail, is planned for May 2022. Read more
Topsfield Scout installs scale model of solar system along the Linear Common (the Rail Trail in Topsfield, Mass)
Frances Gillespie Wicked Local 11/19

While there is a lot of industry investment in space tourism these days, we’re still a long way from the technology leaps (think warp speed and hyperdrives) required for interplanetary travel. But the opportunity does exist to understand a lot more about the solar system right here on the North Shore.

Liam Gillespie, a senior at Mascon-omet Regional High School and Boy Scout in Troop 81 Topsfield, recently completed a scale model of our solar system along three miles of the Topsfield Linear Common as his Eagle Scout project. Read more
Norton voters back money for rail-trail project with Mansfield
(This was a project voted down about 20 years ago. There was a lot of fear back then, but I guess the 'generational shift' has taken place in Norton. CDP)
By Stephen Peterson Oct 26, 2021
NORTON — Residents at Monday’s fall annual town meeting supported several money requests, including one for a long-planned rail-trail recreation project.

Ninety-four residents turned out to the meeting in the high school auditorium.

They approved $700,000 for land and easements for the rail-trail through Norton and Mansfield, though a few homeowners vehemently opposed it. Read more
Interesting, "High-Altitude" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
Stoneham's Tri-Community Greenway Gets New Picnic Areas Built by Local Realtors
STONEHAM, MA — More than 20 volunteers from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and the Stoneham Community Development Corporation recently installed picnic areas on two sections of the Tri-Community Greenway in Stoneham.

The Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR) secured a place-making grant from the National Association of Realtors last fall and donated its own funding to work on the project with the Stoneham CDC. Read more about the local effort

Here's an interesting thing sent to me recently. A 100+ page report from 1973 that laid out the idea of repurposing some abandoned RRs in Maine into recreational areas.

Wait you delve into this. Some of my Maine friends in the RR industry are going to get a kick out of this too. 1973. Wow!

The new Norwottuck Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation specifically set up to help get the longest rail trail in New England--the Mass Central Rail Trail --built-out, operational and notable.
We can help do that by making small, mini-grants available to local groups and communities that will bring restore/renovate/replace historic mile-markers on the corridor. Or help fund kiosks that will call out forgotten railroad or industrial history of that locale.
We will want to work with the state park agency Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) on standardized kiosk designs.
We will keep you all posted as to developments as we go. We have made it easy to DONATE through the Network for Good.
Amazingly, Constant Contact alerted us that this newsletter is in the top 10% of all of Constant Contact's newsletters, worldwide, in terms of readership engagement.
Imagine that!