Rail Trail E Newsletter March 2022 #64

First of all, Covid is finally diminishing and we are reopening the registration for this year's conference, GOLDEN SPIKE 2022. Saturday, July 30, 2022. We are looking forward to this and seeing many of you there.

Also in this issue is news that the Wayside Trail's Waltham segment is finally starting to move ahead. Also, the last 6/10s of a mile of the nearly 60 mile long Northern Rail Trail in NH from Lebanon connecting into Concord NH was just purchased and soon that missing gap will be constructed and connected. Only 25 years in. And we also have news of a beginning of a new trail in southeastern Mass called the Metacomet Greenway.

And we have a great story from Easthampton, MA about building a state funded connector from their Manhan Rail Trail to their new elementary school. A "Safe Route to School."

Which reminds me, I have a national webinar coming up on Thursday, April 28 where I'll be talking about my niche RE practice of selling houses near trails--so kids can bike to school. Here's the LINK to the American Trails page about that webinar.

Spring is near!

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
Waltham Mayor Requesting $9.3M For Wayside section of the MCRT
Annie Sandoli, Patch Staff. 3-2-22
WALTHAM, MA — Mayor Jeannette McCarthy has requested $9.3 million from the City Council to build the Waltham's portion of the Wayside Rail Trail.

McCarthy's funding request, which would cover the amount, for the base bid, bid alternate 1, construction administration, and a construction contingency provision, was referred to the City Council's Long-Term Debt and Capital Planning Committee Monday. Work can begin after her request is approved. Read more. Image is the cover of the Wayside Rail Trail brochure , circa 1996, from the collection of Craig Della Penna
Easthampton wins state grant to build safer route from rail trail to school
By EMILY THURLOW Staff Writer Daily Hampshire Gazette. Published: 2/25/2022 5:50:20 PM
EASTHAMPTON — The city is closer to creating a more accessible and safe route connecting the Manhan Rail Trail and Park Street to the city’s schools after securing a nearly $1.9 million state grant.

Proposed improvements along the route include constructing a 400-foot accessible multi-use path connection from the rail trail to Park Street and a 3,600-foot, 8-foot-wide side path along Park Street to the entrance of the existing White Brook Middle and future Mountain View School. Read more
An Infographic About the MCRT
Front side has a nice map and a concise write-up about each section
And here, on the 2nd page is a short chronological sequence on each section.
BIG NEWS . . .
Saturday July 30, 2022
Our Speakers for GS2022, Include
Peter Harnik has worked to promote and create parks and trails since 1980 when he led a campaign to close Washington’s Rock Creek Park to cars.
He is the co-founder of both the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Center for City Park Excellence of the Trust for Public Land.
Now retired, his most recent book, published in May, 2021 is a history of the rails-to-trails movement. LINK HERE to this great book. ​
Matt Kierstead of Milestone Heritage Consulting, Marlboro, New York is an historian of engineering, industry and transportation. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, graduated from Framingham State College and received his Public History MA from West Virginia University.

His Golden Spike talk focuses on his interpretive history signage for segments of the new 750-mile New York Empire State Trail which opened December 31, 2020.
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 regularly updated history of DCR's efforts on building out this complicated trail.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here. updated info.
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.
Half-mile trail purchase will connect 59 mile Northern Rail Trail to Concord, NH proper.
By BRACKETT LYONS Concord Monitor 2/22/2022
A small but key piece of completing a continuous rail trail from the Connecticut River through Concord fell into place last week as the Executive Council voted Wednesday to purchase a 0.6-mile section of old railroad tracks in Boscawen.

The new stretch of tracks will be added to the Northern Rail Trail, which already runs 59 miles from Boscawen to Lebanon. Read more. I've only been waiting 25+ years for this. Thanks Dick M and Dick L for being dogged on this. CDP
South Coast--Mattapoisett Bike Path Plans, Costs Detailed
February 21, 2022

For some time, Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee Chairman Chuck McCullough has expressed the need for fiscal planning and oversight by the town for the bike path, which has been rolling through the community for more than 20 years primarily being managed by the town’s Bike Path Committee and Select Board via the town administrator. Now its financial planning and debt tracking would be aided by the Capital Planning Committee. Read more.
The Ying and the Yang of a 800 acre donated parcel along the D&R Greenway in NJ and the ongoing construction of the 93 mile rail trail across the top of Vermont.
Contractors hope rail trail to be completed this year Tommy Gardner 2-21-22 Basement Medicine

The state of Vermont has fast-tracked the trail’s completion, with nearly $15 million in projects ready to go as soon as the ground thaws. The state is eyeing a November completion date on what state officials say will be the longest rail trail in New England. (until the MCRT gets done. CDP)

Nearly 45 miles have been com-pleted, with sections on either side and that 17-mile swath through the heart of Lamoille County that has proved popular over the past several years.

The VT Agency of Transportation announced in 2018 it would finish the trail, with promises from Gov. Phil Scott to have the state fully fund the completion.

The state is scheduled to take over management July 1. Read more
The sons of Betty Wold Johnson have donated her 800 acre Hopewell farm to D&R Greenway. – D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
By Gabrielle Saulsbery 2-17-22

New Jerseyans will soon be able to get some fresh air and recreation at the 800-acre Hopewell farm owned by the late Betty Wold Johnson, thanks to sons Robert Wood Johnson and Christopher Wold Johnson, who gifted the land to the D&R Greenway Land Trust.

The D&R Greenway, which has 22,000 acres of preserved land in New Jersey, reported Feb. 16 that the donation is one of the most substantial land gifts in New Jersey’s history.

Betty Wold Johnson, who was married to the grandson of the founder of Johnson & Johnson, spent 40 years assembling individual properties to create her farm with a goal of protecting and permanently preserving its views and ecology, according to D&R Greenway. Read more
DEEP Announces $3 Million in Trail Grants For 20 Projects Across the State Funding Will Support Projects That Enhance and Improve CT’s Multiuse Trails
2-16-22 (HARTFORD)—Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today that it has awarded $3 million in grant funding through its Recreational Trails Grant Program for twenty projects to plan and design, build, expand, or enhance and improve multi-use trails across the state. Read more.
New Trails We Can Look Forward to in Central and Western Mass. This Year By Christian MilNeil Feb 8, 2022 StreetsBlog Mass

The Twin Cities Rail Trail will travel 4.5 miles from the eastern edge of downtown Fitchburg to the northern edge of downtown Leominster, connecting several densely-populated residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, parks, and shopping centers along its route. Read more
Proposed rail trail to pass through North Attleboro, Plainville, Norfolk and Wrentham, Mass picks up momentum during pandemic
By Stephen Peterson speterson@thesunchronicle.com Feb 13, 2022 
An abandoned railroad corridor now overgrown with weeds is slated in the coming years to be turned into a recreation trail stretching from the Rhode Island border to Walpole and passing through several Attleboro-area towns.

Plans for what is being called the Metacomet Greenway are well under way, using the former Old Colony Rail layout.
“A project of this magnitude will benefit families and businesses in the area for many years to come,” said Zack McKeever of Norfolk, president of the Metacomet Greenway Association Inc. Read more
Blackstone Valley Greenway / Bikeway needs a champion Op-Ed piece by former State Senator Richard T. Moore. Worcester T&G. 2-11-22

Bicycle riders, walkers, runners, even cross-country skiers have patiently waited for years for Massachusetts to complete the Blackstone Valley Greenway/Bikeway. Many locals and visitors already enjoy small segments in Worcester and Millbury thanks to the Mass Turnpike when it constructed the Route 146 connector. 

Beacon Hill has a rare, new opportunity to invest in this region once again in Governor Baker’s Infrastructure Bond Bill – House Bill 4336 An Act Financing the General Governmental Infrastructure of the Commonwealth – authorizing more than $4 billion on projects such a completion of the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. 

In her last year, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito has an opportunity, as Tim Murray did, to leave a legacy for the voters in our region that will benefit the health and recreation of residents of all ages for years to come. Read more.
Interesting, "High-Altitude" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
How to Design a Bike Lane
Create obvious and clearly marked pathways. Devise routes with destinations — parks, schools, commercial corridors, beaches.
By Malia Wollan NYTimes 3-2-2022
“The materials themselves should send the message that this is where cyclists belong,” says Zabe Bent, the design director at the National Association of City Transportation Officials, an organization that published a set of national bike-lane design standards in 2010, which has since been endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration. Read more.
The Futility of Picking Up the Trash. Litter collection may not be doing enough to stall a vicious cycle of new trash. Data on littering suggests a better route may be to hold producers accountable. 
By Linda Poon Bloomberg Green 2-16-22
Littering continues to be a growing environmental concern: In 2020, 24 billion pieces of litter were found on U.S. roadways, and another 26 billion were picked up near waterways, according to the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful. Read more

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!