NEW Stretch Goal: $20,000 - This additional $5,000 will go towards the implementation of a parking lot with easy access to the trail, fences to keep the trail secluded and free of the noise from the roads, and any other future site work!
See you on the trail :)
Thanks a bunch for checking out our project! We hope you like the idea!
The goal of this project is to raise enough money to begin work on the Bay Colony Rail Trail. As soon as the funds are raised, we can begin our work in creating the trail! This first phase of the project will result in a trail almost 2 miles long in Needham. The project involves pulling up rails and ties, performing the necessary site work, and topping the trail with stone dust, making it accommodating to everybody. The goal is to kick off the project by the late summer of 2014 (this year)! The residents of Needham, Medfield, and Dover are really excited for this trail and can't wait to put it to use.
What is the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail?
The Bay Colony Rail Trail project aims to convert the abandoned rail corridor between Needham and Medfield to a new multi-use greenway. The path will provide a safe and natural facility for hiking, walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, and other recreational activities. The proposed trial will extend for 7 miles through the towns of Needham, Dover and Medfield.
Needham Trail Section:
2 miles from Needham Junction (near Roche Brothers) to the Charles River. It passes under High Rock St., past the Town Forest, to the beautiful Charles River Peninsula (a Trustees of Reservations site).
Dover Trail Section:
3.5 miles from the Charles River to Hunt Drive. Crossing the scenic trestle bridge, the corridor passes under Centre St. through the center of Dover, and then goes through two miles of pristine conservation land.
Medfield Trail Section:
1.5 miles from the Dover line to Ice House Rd, near the Kingsbury Club and the Medfield Senior Center.
(Newton Trail Section: see http://www.upperfallsgreenway.org/)
What are the expected benefits?
Increased health and wellness resource: a trail gives residents of all ages and physical abilities the chance to exercise and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about noise and dangers of traffic.
Environmentally friendly transportation: a trail provides a viable, safe and green transportation route.
Enhanced open space protection: trails preserve and maintain natural settings.
Stronger civic pride and community identity: trails help to define “livable” towns and connect them to each other; help unite people with varying physical abilities; and aid in preservation of local history.
What is the current use of the rail line?
The MBTA owns the corridor and is willing to lease it at no cost. The corridor is formally abandoned, and falling into disrepair. The lease would be for 99 years.
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) completed a study in March 1998 to determine the feasibility of extending commuter rail service westward from Needham to Millis, along the Bay Colony Railroad corridor. The study concluded that a commuter rail extension would not attract sufficient ridership to make it profitable, so any plans for public rail use on that corridor have been dropped.
Who is managing the project?
The Rail Trail project is planned as a private-public project, where the three towns – Dover, Medfield, and Needham - share the planning, funding and administration of the initiative with the non-profit Bay Colony Rail Trail Association (BCRTA).
Each town will be responsible for all matters related to approval of the trail; policies and rules governing use of the trail; trail access, and parking.
The BCRTA will be responsible for coordinating the project effort; proposing standards for use, amenities and signage; raising funds from private and public sources; once the trail is developed, coordinating volunteer efforts for maintaining and improving public resource; developing and maintaining an annual budget and work plan.
Who is the BCRTA and what is their role?
The Bay Colony Rail Trail Association is a non-profit with the sole mission to define, design, create and maintain the rail trail.
More information on the BCRTA is available at www.baycolonyrailtrail.org
How is the proposed rail trail to be used?
The proposed trial is intended to be used for hiking, walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, and roller skating.
What hours will the trail be open?
The current thinking is that the trail will be open from dawn to dusk. This is the policy with most rail trails.
How will the trail be maintained?
Once the trail is built, the focus of the BCRTA will be on defining ongoing maintenance and funding, and coordinating volunteer efforts to keep it clean, beautiful and usable.
How will we control access to the trail?
Each of the three towns will establish policies and procedures to control access to the rail trail.
Many rail trails have had success putting moveable barriers at entrances in order to prevent unauthorized motor vehicles from entering. They allow pedestrian, bicycle and equine access. The barriers are moveable to allow emergency and maintenance vehicles entrance.
Trail use rules will be posted at every entrance.
What is the impact on property values?
The experience of other rail trails indicates the proximity to a rail trail has no impact or actually increases the value and marketability of adjacent property.
According an analysis conducted by the University of Delaware:
“The majority of studies indicate that the presence of a bike path/trail either increases property values and ease of sale slightly or has no effect. Studies have shown that neighbors of many bike paths/trails feel that the quality of life of their neighborhood has been improved, that the trails were a good use of open space, and in the case of abandoned railways were an improvement from before the trails went in.”
Source: “Project Report for Property Value/Desirability Effects of Bike Paths Adjacent to Residential Areas,” prepared for Delaware Center For Transportation and The State of Delaware Department of Transportation, November 2006
A study published in 2006 on home prices near two trails in Massachusetts, the Minuteman Bikeway and the Nashua River Trail, found that homes near these rail trails sold at 99.3% of the list price as compared to 98.1% of the list price for other homes sold in these towns. The study also found that’s homes near the rail trails sold in an average of 29.3 days as compared to 50.4 days for other homes.
Source: “Home Sales near Two Massachusetts Rail Trails,” prepared by Craig Della Penna, Realtor®, The Murphys Realtors, Inc., Northampton, MA, January 25, 2006
What is the cost to the town?
The goal of the Bay Colony Rail Trail Association is to plan, design, create and maintain the trail at little or no cost to the towns. The towns may choose to cover some maintenance tasks on the trail, and there will be some cost impact to the highway departments where the trail encounters road crossings, but in general the cost will be negligible.
What is the current status of the rail trail project?
The towns of Needham, Dover and Medfield have begun to actively discuss converting the abandoned rail corridor. Rail trail committees have been formed in each town. Volunteers of all ages are engaged.
The Town of Needham is ready to move forward now, and we are only $15,000 short of the estimated funds needed to complete the Needham portion of the trail.
Thank you for interest in the Rail Trail, and with your help, we will have a rail trail in Needham by the end of the year!
Risks and challenges
The only challenge the Rail-Trail will possibly face will be the maintenance of it. Trees, shrubs, and grass will need to be trimmed back from the trail when they begin to grow too long, and whenever there is a storm, any fallen branches will need to be removed in order to keep the path clear. This is not at all going to be an issue though, because many people have already volunteered themselves to help with any cleaning. To these people we are greatly appreciative.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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