Governor releases $500,000 for rail trail!
In a big move to help our project become reality, the Governor announced in January that his administration would release the Transportation Bond Bill that contained $500,000 to fund the design and engineering phase of the Wakefield/Lynnfield Rail Trail.
Work on the Bill has been in process for several years, and has received the ongoing support of State Representatives Katherine Clark, Mark Falzone, and Brad Jones, as well as State Senator Richard Tisei. In addition, this project would be going nowhere without the time, support and encouragement of local officals: Selectmen Al Turco, Town Administrator Steve Maio, and Town Planner Reavis. We are grateful that public representatives from all state levels are working across municipal boundaries to bring this project closer to completion.
With the release of the transportation bond money granted by the State for this specific project, the towns can move forward with the legal and financial processes required to take the next step. The project is now proceeding with direction from MassDOT, community officials, and the MBTA.
When will it be built?
photo © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy 1999
An initial Feasibility Study was completed in September 2007, and it returned with a favorable recommendation. The next step in building the trail is to complete the design and engineering. We recently received $500,000 of state funding, and the project is proceeding with direction from MassDOT, community officials, and the MBTA.
The next big tasks will be the Permitting process, and then finally Construction. Because the amount of funding has such a big impact on the progress of the project, at this point, there is no firm timeline for each of these tasks.
Bicyclists Bill of Rights
The Massachusetts Bicyclist's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities overhauls the rules which apply to bicycles and other vehicles on the road. Changes in this law include:
- clarify that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers, rather than merely saying that bicyclists have to follow the traffic rules
- clarify that motorists must wait until it is safe to pass bicyclists, and must not return to the right side until safely passed
- give bicyclists the right to ride side by side, where appropriate
- require people to wait until its safe before opening car doors into traffic
- require training courses on bicycle safety and laws for police officers
- recommend the posting of Share the Road signs where appropriate
- prevent the posting of bicycles prohibited signs, except on Interstate-type highways
- make the ticketing procedure for bicyclists the same as for motorists and increase the maximum fine from $20 to $50
- require motorists to follow existing law when turning right (move as far as practicable to the right before turning), rather than turning across the path of a bicyclist.
See MassBike's legislation page for more info.