Rail Trail E Newsletter June 2021 #56

Lots going on folks! I've been waiting for the Mass SJC decision regarding Sudbury vs Energy Facility Siting Board to come down. It came out yesterday, Friday the 25th of June and the court ruled in favor of the EFSB decision. That is what we were hoping for. We have lots of info about that decision below.

We have some more bridge stories below as well. The next Golden Spike Conference planning is coming along nicely and we'll have a full layout in the next E-newsletter. SAVE THE DATE. Saturday October 16, 2021.

Stay well,

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 its connecting paths
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has released a decision in the case of Sudbury vs the Energy Facility Siting Board.
This is an important case in the buildout of the MCRT.
Here is the 37 page decision by the Mass SJC supporting the Energy Facility Siting Board that'll make it easier to build the trail. READ the Decision
Above is the text that succinctly describes the justices reasoning for supporting the decision by the Energy Facility Siting Board. Click here to go to a PDF
Our Amicus Brief which helped the SJC to see the greater context.
In January and February of 2021, we put together a team of five NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to weigh-in with informative context. Click here to go to our Amicus Brief.
Sudbury Dealt Blow In Transmission Line Case After SJC Ruling
And here is the write up in the local Sudbury newspaper. Click here to read
Another loss of an important advocate in the rail trail world.
Paul Penfield of Weston, Mass passed away this week. We've lost an important ally, friend and an unmatched resource. Read more.
Clinton Tunnel to close until renovation design and construction begins.
The tunnel and about a mile of the former RR right of way have been acquired by the town and the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust

An inspection of the tunnel prior to the acquisition confirms that with remediation the tunnel is suitable for a shared use path. The tunnel will be temporarily closed to the public while design and remediation are completed. Read more
Norwottuck Network
You've probably noticed the nice new logo on the top of this newsletter. We've been toying around the idea of having a new, professionally created image for this E-newsletter and the website for Norwottuck Network too. We finally had Alexis Design Studio of Northampton create the logo. I like it because the big iconic thing about the Norwottuck section of the MCRT is the bridge. Check out our new website too.
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.
Here's a couple of stories, right off the bat.
‘I can do everything using the bike path’: Trail links cities north of Boston to the sea
By John Laidler Globe Correspondent,Updated June 25, 2021

Malden High School sophomore Henry Zhao finds riding his bike along the Northern Strand Trail a welcome respite from the noise, bustle, and demands of everyday life.

“It’s like a stress-reliever because it leads you to all these different places. Once I start riding I tend to zone out for like 30 minutes,” said the 16-year-old, who also values the multi-use path as a convenient route to get things done. Read more.
Public comment heavily favors latest Neponset Greenway link
By Bill Forry, Executive Editor
June 24, 2021

A rendering shown during a May virtual meeting depicts what a new section of the Neponset Greenway near Morrissey Boulevard might look like. Image courtesy BSC Group/DCR/MassDOT

A still-evolving plan to build out a new section of the popular Neponset Greenway trail is earning high marks from members of the public who submitted comments through a state-run website. More than 50 people have chimed in about the project in the weeks following a May 26 online briefing in which state planners shared their latest preferred route for the “missing link” between Tenean Beach and Morrissey Boulevard.
Freeport Street.Read more.
And I love stories about old RR bridges being rebuilt, replaced restored. And here's a couple of stories for you.
CPA $$ Restore the Upper Charles Rail Trail & Historic 8-Arch Bridge

At first glance, some CPA success stories can appear quite simple: in this case, the town of Holliston utilized Community Preservation Act funds to create a beautiful community trail and restore their historic stone-arch bridge. But the full history behind Holliston’s 8-Arch Bridge and the Upper Charles Rail Trail reveals so much more beyond the finished product: it becomes a testament to the local character of this pastoral CPA community. Read more.e RE resources.
Walkway Over the Hudson turns 10: How the project spurred change, and improved the region

For decades, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge towered over the City of Poughkeepsie unused, a dilapidated relic haunting Hudson River views.

In the 10 years since it was opened, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park has hosted more than five million visitors and become a global destination that showcases the natural beauty for which the region is known. Read more.
Duchess County NY--URBAN TRAIL.
Is to be located on a recently purchased CSX-owned, dead RR located in Poughkeepsie NY. Poughkeepsie is a "gateway" city in NY and along with the state investment in the Walkway Over the Hudson, this is another investment that is going to lead to more good things in the area. Learn more.
‘Greenway Stimulus’ Could Bring Boom in Bike and Walking Trails

Active-transportation advocates are campaigning for $10 billion in infrastructure funding to connect cities with paths and create an interstate system for cyclists and walkers.

The Hudson River Greenway, the most heavily frequented bike path in the U.S., runs up and down Manhattan’s western waterfront.
Southampton Mass town meeting on 6-22-21 voted to use town funds to buy the dead RR still owned by the the Pinsly Railroad Company.

At the town meeting, the warrant was described and brought forward by the new chair of the town's Greenway Committee. No opposing view was brought forward. I'll have more on this in the next E newsletter. In case you forgot, Southampton was the only community on the entire corridor to vote down the trail. Some places take longer than others.
New England has one of the 6 most rewarding rail trails in America, according to The Wall Street Journal
By Kristi Palma

A bucolic bike route in New Hampshire is among the most rewarding rail trails in America, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The publication just named six incredible rail-trail bike trips, calling them the most rewarding routes from California to New Hampshire, and included the Northern Rail Trail. The nearly 60-mile route from Lebanon to Boscawen, N.H., runs along the old Boston & Maine Railroad.
Newburyport celebrates newest rail trail stretch

NEWBURYPORT — The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to mark the completion of the shoreline resiliency and Clipper City Rail Trail project, a major and visible stretch of the popular walking and biking path.

The city's senior project manager, Geordie Vining, has spent most of his 20-year tenure overseeing the design and construction of the rail trail.

The city purchased the shoreline property from the Boston & Maine Railroad and Guilford Transportation Industries about 15 years ago using Community Preservation Act funding.
The Path Well Traveled: Coast through the history of South Kingstown, RI's bike path

While nearby beaches offer sun and waterfront fun, another local attraction gives to some a welcome change from oceanside lounging to exploring wooded forests, biking, hiking and sightseeing off-the-beaten path.

Although not so secluded, tourists and residents alike — regardless of weather — find enjoyment on the William C. O’Neill Bike Path. Sometimes called the South County Bike Path or to locals just “the bike path.” Read more.
Rail trail inches its way toward downtown Pittsfield, MA with plans to extend to Merrill Road

PITTSFIELD — A long quest to provide a north-south recreational trail through all of Berkshire County is inching its way forward. A new $1.4 million segment will connect the popular trail to one of Pittsfield’s busiest roads.
Meantime, work continues to bring the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail more than a mile-and-a-half south from the Berkshire Mall to Crane Avenue in Pittsfield. The next step, outlined in a hearing Monday, will use a defunct rail bed to cross under Dalton Avenue, run behind a commercial plaza on Merrill Road, then cross that busy route on a newly designed crosswalk. Read more.
Interesting and Pertinent Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
Another Great Bridge Story for
you. NEW LIFE for an old bridge  Repurposing infrastructure is trend in the United States. What is deemed "old" becomes "new." And in turn, opens up investment opportunities enhances quality of life and transforms communities.

The Bison Bridge is a concept like no other currently in the United States.
Bridges, rail corridors find new life as urban trails
Larry Bleiberg Special for USA TODAY

Once seen as urban blight, abandoned industrial corridors and rail lines have been transformed into some of the country’s most popular parks and trails. “They’ve been reborn as places for people,” says Ed McMahon of the Washington-based Urban Land Institute. “It’s amazing how many cities are embracing their industrial past.” 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!