Bay Colony Rail Trail Needham

BCRT Needham: Not Your Average Rail Trail

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Nov 062013

Each month Needham’s Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant selects a local cause to support, and in November that cause is our own Bay Colony Rail trail project in Needham. NYAJ’s says they chose BCRT because they “believe in its value to the community and want to contribute to its success.”

NYARTHere’s the Deal: NYAJ’s has designated Monday, November 18th as the date when they will set aside an amount equal to 15% of all purchases made by Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters in the Needham restaurant.

To qualify for the donation, we (the BCRT supporters) must identify ourselves to servers with Not Your Average Cause certificates.

Here is a link to the NYAJ / BCRT certificate.

Not Your Average Joe’s will write a check to BCRT for 15% of all purchases made by supporters on that date. The more Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters who participate, the more money they’ll donate to the cause!

So we suggest a group outing, and hope to have as many supporters as possible join us at NYAJ’s Monday the 18th at 6:00pm. If you can, call ahead to reserve a table. It would be great to fill NYAJ’s with BCRT Supporters!

Nov 052013

HighRock_400Last night Needham Town Meeting members voted almost unanimously to approve both articles related to the rail trail project. This means that the town may now enter into the lease with the MBTA for the right of way between Needham Junction and the Charles River at the Dover line.

Now the only thing remaining before the construction can begin is raising $235,000.

On that front, things are going well indeed. With help from the matching grant, we have raised an additional $33,008 in the past month. The benefactor has extended the grant two more days, so if you haven’t contributed yet there’s still time to double your impact.

This brings the total raised to date to a remarkable $100,421.

More Good News

Last night we announced that BCRTA has received a grant from another local family foundation, which will cover Phase 2 of the project, the $35,000 cost of the stone dust surface. With total funding and pledges of $135,421, it means that we have just under $100,000 left – we’re more than halfway there!

More To Come

Now with Town Meeting approval, we hope and expect local businesses to step up their support. Initial discussions with several established and well-known stores have gone well. Watch this space for more updates.

Finally, our State Representative Denise Garlick is working on funding at the State House. Two years ago, she added $250,000 to a State transportation bond bill for the entire rail trail, and received news last night – just before Town Meeting – that the $40,000 of that total will likely be made available soon for the Needham portion of the project.

Rail trail in 2014!

October Raffle Results

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Nov 032013

Friday afternoon at 5:00, on the steps of Town Hall, under the watchful eye of a select group of observers, Selectman John Bulian reached into the large jar of raffle tickets 12 times, and withdrew 10 third prize tickets, 1 second prize ticket and, finally, the first prize ticket.

Trek72FX-smallThe Trek 7.2 FX bicycle, donated by International Bicycle Center, went to winning ticket #420533, which was held by Megan Kerr of Needham. Congratulations Megan! Second prize, the trainer, went to Jeff Katz. Ten third prizes, BCRT t-shirts, will go to the following folks:

  • Martin Yapp
  • Alecia Domer
  • Russell Cohen
  • Roland Stern
  • Cory and Lisa Rhoades
  • Robert Smyser
  • Brenda Metzler
  • Lynne Rachlis
  • Lisa Bond
  • Scott Muldoon

In all, the raffle brought in $2,978 for the project. And because it was held during the period of  the grant that matches each personal donation, the raffle effectively delivered $5,956 toward the new trail.

Thanks to all for participating!

October Fundraising Update

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Oct 312013

bcrt_progress_10-30-13A mere four days remain on the challenge grant that will double your contribution to the rail trail!

The original purpose of the grant was to spur individual donations to the project. The initiative has had the desired effect, so far 114 people have stepped up to help support the campaign to deliver $8,614 toward what could be called a linear park in Needham almost two miles long.

But there’s still time to contribute, and we have not yet approached the $20,000 maximum matching sum. If you’ve been thinking about joining the growing list of supporters, truly making this a community resource enabled by the community itself, please click the Donate button in the right sidebar before 6:00 pm Monday, November 4. The suggested donation is $100, which will sponsor a foot of the completed trail.

Alternatively, you can send a check to BCRT Needham, PO Box 920560, Needham, MA 02492.

Thanks for the help!

Needham Rail Trail Meeting, Oct. 29

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Oct 262013

All are invited to the regular meeting of the BCRT Needham Faithful, everyone with an active interest in our rail trail project. This month we’ll review our current status, which includes many new developments since the last meeting. Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 pm.

This will also be the last chance to purchase raffle tickets for the Trek bicycle and other paraphernalia.


Iron Horse Preservation Society prepares to pull up the first of the rails.

We’ll also talk about the Newton project, which began yesterday (Oct. 25), with a ceremonial kickoff led by their mayor Setti Warren and attended by many local notables – including several of the Needham Faithful and Needham Selectman John Bulian.

The Newton project is just under a mile – half the Needham distance – and will take a few months (weather permitting): 30 days to pull up all the rails, 30 days to remove the ties. Then the surface will be applied, probably in the spring.

It will be great to have a local example of our project – and we won’t be far behind!

Please consider joining us on Tuesday the 29th at our usual location: The Public Services Administration Building, 500 Dedham Ave. There’s much progress to report, and some important areas where the project could use broad-based support.



Inspiration from Neighbor: Newton Gets a Path

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Oct 172013

As many of you know, the City of Newton has also been working on a rail trail project very much like ours in Needham, which they call the Newton Upper Falls Greenway.

Map of Upper Falls Greenway. Click to enlarge

Map of Upper Falls Greenway. Click to enlarge

On Friday afternoon, October 25th, beginning at 1:00 pm at the Depot on Oak and Chestnut Streets, Newton will be holding a ceremonial ground-breaking kickoff event for its project, and they have invited all interested to attend. Anticipated speakers include Mayor Warren, Secretary of Transportation Davey, Representatives, Aldermen, and the Upper Falls Area Council.

Also at the event, there will be hot Green Tea on the Greenway and egg drop soup courtesy of Taam China, the local Kosher Chinese restaurant.  Also for fun, Newton volunteer rail riders are planning to bring their self-propelled cars to offer final rides on this mile of track before it makes way for the new pedestrian and bicycle trail.

Inspiration for Needham

In some ways, it has been easier in Newton – simpler landscape so no fencing or wetlands concerns; almost twice the number of tracks along their segment, which will fund a stone dust surface; and the City will be covering other expenses. But the process is otherwise similar, and local volunteers have done an amazing job to stir up support to create this trail in an astonishingly short amount of time. As with Needham, enthusiastic support from officials, including Needham’s own Bob Rooney (Newton’s Chief Operating Officer) has helped enormously.

It will be great to have a local example for our project. Besides this kickoff event, we’ll hold one or more trail walks on the Newton path once it’s complete for inspiration.

Our congratulations go out to Newton, especially the primary organizers George Kirby, Jerry Reilly, Jim Lerner and many others who – like the BCRT Needham Faithful – have made this happen.


The Path is Getting Clearer

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Oct 062013

Through many discussions with the town and volunteers, the path to completing the rail trail is getting ever clearer. This fall, we’ve gotten over a few important hurdles:

  • The Needham Selectmen have reiterated their unanimous support for the trail, by deciding to bring two articles to the Special Town Meeting in November.
  • The CPC is poised to fund insurance required by the MBTA.
  • The Town Finance Committee has formally provided its support for the two articles.

Assuming the Town Meeting agrees with these recommendations and passes the two articles, then the only thing standing in the way of getting development of Phase 1 underway is raising the funds required for that portion of the project. We are now calling that sum $235,000, which adds $35,000 for the much finer stone dust surface.

The Bay Colony Rail Trail Association has already raised almost 30% of this amount, and has committed to applying it to the Needham project. And now, with support from International Bicycle Center, and the anonymous matching gifts for October, we are beginning to build momentum to achieve the target within the next year.

Please consider contributing this month, where your donation amount will be doubled! It would be great to send a message to the Town Meeting on November 4th.


Support the Rail Trail, Win a Bike!

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Sep 262013

The Trek 7.2 FX. Click for a full-sized view.

The good folks at Newton’s International Bicycle Center have generously provided us with a fabulous new hybrid bicycle – the Trek 7.2 FX – as a prize for our upcoming raffle contest. The bike is a beauty: as they say, it’s a great combination of road bike speed and city bike comfort. A great bike for getting around Needham AND, once we have Phase 1 completed, a perfect conveyance for the new rail trail.

The rules and details are here, but here’s the short version:

Beginning on October 1, 2013 and ending on October 31, 2013, BCRT Needham will be offering raffle tickets for $10 each, 5 tickets for $40, or 15 tickets for $100.  All proceeds will go directly to the Trailblazers Campaign. In fact, if you buy 15 tickets ($100), we’ll add you to our honor roll of donors.

The best place to get these tickets and help support the project will be:

  • The Needham Business Association’s Harvest Fair and Souper Bowl on Saturday, October 5, 2013 (Town Hall area), 10 am – 3 pm
  • Needham Farmers Market (First Parish Unitarian lawn, 23 Dedham Ave) on Sunday, October 6, 2013, 1-5 pm
  • The next BCRT Needham Volunteer meeting, Tuesday, October 29, 7:30 at the Public Services Administration Building, 500 Dedham Ave.

You can also mail a check (23 Mackintosh Ave, Needham, MA 02492), or email us ( with your desired amount, and we’ll reserve your tickets.

MAX Bicycle Trainer

The MAX Bicycle Trainer

But Wait, There’s More!

For our second prize, we’ve also received a donation of a Max Racer 7 Bicycle Trainer (approximate retail value: $ 149.95) – just in time to start planning for your biking fitness regime over the winner.

And to round out the contest, we’re offering 10 Third Prizes of our distinctive light blue BCRT t-shirts.

And The Winners Are…

We’ll hold the drawing on Friday, November 1st, and will notify winners by whatever means they provide. The names of the winners will be also available on this site after November 2, 2013.

Our thanks to IBC for its generous support!