How to Get to Chestnut Street?

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Jun 272017

The Trail in Needham has become a valued and popular resource for town residents, each week seeing hundreds of walkers, bikers, joggers and strollers.

But for many, the trail ends too abruptly as one heads from the river eastward toward High Rock St and beyond. The value of the trail would be increased manyfold if there were a natural and accessible route to Chestnut Street, a path that would enable commuters to get to the train station, shoppers to get to local stores, and travelers in general to cross through Town along a more scenic route.

While there is more immediate work to be done on the trail, including the development of a trailhead near the current High Rock terminus, this is a call to re-energize the discussion on completing the original vision of the Needham Trail, linking the Charles River to the commercial district of Chestnut Street.

As a starting point perhaps, here is a link to a study done in 2014 that details two alternative routes: one on the MBTA right of way, the other making use of the NStar (now EverSource) property adjacent to the tracks.

Here are images of the two alternatives:

Alternative 1 2014-06-24 FST Needham BCRT Phase 5 Alternatives Memo

Alternative 2 2014-06-24 FST Needham BCRT Phase 5 Alternatives Memo

Rail Trail Clean-Up Day, Oct 15

 Events, Update  Comments Off on Rail Trail Clean-Up Day, Oct 15
Sep 292016

Town-wide Cleanup: On Saturday, October 15, 10:00 – 12:00: there will be a day focused on picking up trash all over Town, organized by Park & Rec and the Department of Parks and Forestry. This is a good time to get a bunch of people out on the trail to clear brush, leaves, trash and generally patrol to make sure the path is clear. This is what trail stewardship looks like – not hard work, but it needs to be done regularly: probably twice a year when the Town holds its cleanup days.

We are hoping to have three or four crews, each with up to five people, with each crew taking a portion of the trail. We are looking to get volunteers from this group to lead each crew. Please let me know if you are willing to lead or simply participate in the clean-up.

If you are willing to participate in the cleanup, please click here to sign up!



Scenes from the Needham Trail Opening Celebration

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May 062016

Dec 5th Needham Trail Opening Event Postponed!

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Nov 022015

IMG_0973 copy2With the second half of the trail construction project underway in Needham, volunteers had been planning to hold a trail opening event along the 1.7 mile path on Saturday, December 5th.

Unfortunately, the trail won’t be close enough to completion by the 5th so the event has been postponed. Instead a Grand Opening in the Spring is envisioned.

A completed trail is still expected by the end of the year, weather permitting. But the additional time will allow for amenities to be added, like signage and kiosks.

Stay tuned here and elsewhere for more information as it becomes available.

Stop by the BCRT Booth at the Needham Street Fair, Saturday June 5th!

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Jun 052015

11402617_1095563803791415_736096108800994529_oNeedham’s annual Street Fair will be held on Saturday, June 5th, from 10:00 to 3:00. Following our custom for the past five years, BCRT will have  booth at the fair – usually in the middle of the town common.

Come by and learn about the fabulous progress over the past month or two, and learn when we’ll have a completed trail (it won’t be long). You can also learn what more there is to do, and the focus of current fund-raising, which will support a range of amenities along the trail. Perhaps we’ll have a flower-laden three-wheeler along the trail, like the one Susan Kirk will be bringing to the fair.

Your financial support is always welcome. This year we are raffling off a Large Garden Planter filled with flowers/plants donated by Hillcrest Gardens (approximate retail value: $135.00).

Stop by and say hello, provide some (more) support for the project and take a shot at the planter!

Needham Garden Tour Tickets Now Available

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May 132015


Our friends at the Needham Women’s Club, generous supporters of the rail trail, are hosting their annual Garden Tour on Sunday, June 14.  They have selected the Bay Colony Rail Trail as a primary recipient of funds raised this year.

Please consider purchasing tickets to this lovely spring event. Every ticket purchased raises more funds for the Trail and its future. Early Access Tickets are $30 and include a special presentation at the Needham Historical Society with light refreshments and early access to the Garden Tour homes.

For tickets and more information, please contact The Needham Women’s Club.

Rail Trail Plan in Place for 2015!

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Dec 272014

The Needham portion of the Bay Colony Rail Trail continues to move forward with energy and commitment, thanks to the leadership of Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick, and a very professional and focused Town team.

There is now little doubt: this trail is going to happen in 2015!

Although the Town’s Rail Trail Advisory Committee has not yet been formed, the Town team continues to work collaboratively with representatives of BCRT in putting together a workable plan. Here is the current status of the Needham project:

In January, the Town will issue RFPs for the removal of the rails and ties, and the construction of the path. The plan is to award the rail/tie removal contract by February 9th, with the construction portion awarded soon thereafter.

The construction portion of the contract will focus on the section of the trail from High Rock and the Town Forest to Fisher St. The shorter distance is a conservative estimate of what can be achieved with available funding, in light of the Town’s preliminary cost model for the project, which is more expensive than our original plans.

The actual distance will depend on the bids received, but the Town is confident that current funding will at least enable construction to Fisher St., and the RFP will be written to allow for extension.

The Town and BCRTA will each seek other sources of funding if the bids come in high. So we are confident that we will get the trail we all envisioned in 2015.

Followup From Public Meeting with Town Officials

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Oct 172014

On Wed, October 15th, Town officials joined the regular meeting of Needham residents interested in learning more about the rail trail project in Needham. Town engineer Tony Delgaizo presented his departments preliminary designs, based on several weeks of topographical survey work. The update designs are available in seven PDF files below.

The Town’s design calls for removal of the rails and ties, followed by building up the surface with 6″-8” reclaimed material (ground up recycled asphalt from road paving projects), a layer of Filter fabric, topped with 2-4″ of Stone dust. The Town will also address Erosion control by the use of wattles.

The plans also called for safety fencing along stretches where there is a steep drop-off. These wood fences will be 42″ high, and have two horizontal rails. In some places, the Town’s design will steer the trail a few feet to one side or the other to better accommodate conditions.

There was also discussion on the BCRTA’s plan to provide support for abutters who are concerned about exposure to the trail. BCRTA has reached out to 52 abutters along the proposed trail, with particular focus on twenty that have more obvious visibility, including the Walker School. BCRTA raised funds specifically for this purpose, and will finalize a plan in the next week for specific abutter concerns.

The next scheduled event related to the Rail Trail is Tuesday, October 28 at 7:00 at Town Hall, when the plan will be presented to the Board of Selectmen at their regular public meeting.

The Trail Moves Closer to Reality

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Oct 102014

There are exciting developments on the Needham portion of the Bay Colony Rail Trail project. The Town has gotten fully involved in the project and, working with representatives from the community, has agreed to take over development of the trail. This is excellent news since the Town has the expertise and equipment to be applied to the job, and obviously will deliver the trail to the standards they require.

This arrangement was virtually required in order to make use of the $70,000 allocated by the State through Denise Garlick’s efforts, since those funds have to be received by a municipality.

The funds we have raised for the effort are still needed, so we’re working with the Town to make sure our sponsoring of the project and our funding is used as planned and promised, so we can ensure development of the trail we all have envisioned.

Our planned start date for the project is now Spring 2015, with an anticipated completion by late Summer 2015.

Draft Plans Available

This week the Town engineering department published draft plans for the path. These plans are available to the public for review, and there will be a meeting at 7:00 pm on Wed., October 15th at the Public Services Administration Building on 500 Dedham Avenue, when Town and Rail trail officials will be on hand to discuss the plans and project plan.

The plans are divided into seven PDF files, and can be accessed at the links below: