Lynnfield Rail Trail

What is the town of Lynnfield’s goal?     

To deliver to residents a long proposed and much requested amenity that connects our schools, maintains the village charm to the town and provides a rail trail or linear fitness path where you can walk, run, bike, rejuvenate, explore and enjoy nature. 


Is a rail trail important to residents 
Residents' desire for this type of recreational space is clearly reflected in Lynnfield Master Plan documents of 1998 and 2002In addition, a formal  2013 survey with 400 respondents confirms this remains a highly desirable amenity. Trains helped build our town running on these tracks from when Abraham Lincoln was president (1854) until the late 1990's.  Residents these days are excited at the prospect of transforming this transportation corridor into a vibrant linear path for our community.      A new Master Plan survey is in your tax bill.

Why might the railroad corridor lease come up for vote? 

The MBTA is the owner of the railroad corridor and has expressed interest in leasing the land to Lynnfield for 99 years for the limited purpose of building a rail trail. A vote to consider the lease (for no or token cost) will occur in both towns in 2017. 


Where is the MBTA's rail road corridor now?  
The old rail corridor runs 4.4 miles from Wakefield (near the Galvin Middle School) through Lynnfield. Each town is responsible for its own section, with connection decisions made separately. See the map and photos. 


What does the railroad corridor look like now? 

The existing rail bed is overgrown and in disrepair.  Appreciation for the rail corridor can be well understood with old worn paths to and from the tracks to homes, schools, neighborhoods and conservation land.  The MBTA right of way ranges from 40 feet as wide as 65 feet in sections. Some areas are clear and easy walking and others not easily passible due to brush placed on the MBTA land and a few downed limbs.  Many areas have beautiful views of meadow, woodland or water. With the geotechnical environmental work in Reedy Meadow section wrapping up, that section is most clear and is used for school classrooms and groups interested in exploring these town owned conservation lands. A new Trail commits Town to proper usage and etiquette for families of all ages.


How will the project be financed? 

This project is 100% funded by MA DOT STIP funding for Spring 2018 construction if we are ready. Lynnfield and Wakefield are working together to attain State and Federal funds as this is an important initiative consistent with larger goals to enhance multi modal transportation to residents of the Commonwealth. Learn more about our project being on the multi-modal transportation priority list by CLICKING HEREandHERE and seeing the links page. Amount allocated: $7,084,000 for us.


What about ongoing maintenance costs?

The town recognizes there will be some ongoing maintenance costs which will be minimal compared to other town owned/managed amenities such as playing fields, 2 golf courses, and parks.  We will be able to start planning what that work will be once we receive more details on the engineering design. The life of the walkway is 20-40 years and a private fund is planned for maintenance ongoing


My home is near the MBTA railbed, will my property value be affected?  
Yes, likely in a good way.  Studies show that property values often increase near rail trails/linear paths as these are recognized as valuable community resources that agents and homeowners advertise.  CLICK HEREfor data on rail trails and how that affects property values.


What about crime on rail trails? 
Lynnfield's Chief Breen offered the following for us to share.  "From all of the chiefs I have spoken to, crime is not an issue on the trails because of the number of people that use this resources.  In fact, the chiefs are impressed with the amount of pride and "ownership" that the users take in protecting the trails.  That is reflected in the number of calls the towns get from people about others who may be misusing the walk ways.  It is very well protected by the users and in turn, the police.  I see no reason from my research that this project should not go forward and I wholeheartedly endorse your efforts.  Good Luck!  Chief David J. Breen"

Though crime can occur anywhere, data show that if you build it, respectful people use and enjoy the trail each day and become stewards. CLICK HEREfor data on rail trail safety.


Will people of all abilities be able to use the trail?  

Most certainly, these pathways meet all State and Federal requirements for accessibility and we look forward to providing a safe place for every resident to meet friends and stay off the busy roads.  


Where will people park to use the trail?
Most people who use rail trails park at home and bike or walk to the pathway.   Parking options will be looked at with residents input. Parking spots near the trail include the Middle School, High School, Golf Course, Town Hall and Jordan Park.  Signage will help direct people. 


Will the trail be lighted and open after daylight hours? 

Like other trails, ours will not be lit and will be open in the daylight hours


Where does the bike trail cross streets and will these crossings be safe? 
The trail crosses at Summer Street between the golf course and St. Paul’s and at Pilling’s Pond Road near the parking lot of Jordan Park (scheduled for renovation by the Town and LynnfieldTownscape.org spring 2017). Both crossings have excellent visibility for those in cars and on foot.  Since these paths cross roads around the country, engineers advising us have lots of experience and will seek our input on the best options. Amenities at cost above STIP funds can always be added privately such as a covered bridge, granite marker or spur to another trail. Due diligence is being exercised now to get as many amenities and safety features we can out of the current World Tech engineering design. YOUR INPUT COUNTS email comments to info@LynnfieldRailTrail.org
With the Town owning the Reedy Meadow Golf Course, there is more flexibility to provide safety features, parking and family amenities.

What will the surface likely be? 

The trail is most likely to be paved and where water levels are higher in parts of Reedy Meadow there are plans to add fireproof boardwalk and bridging.  The materials for bridging include long lasting composite boards with minimal disruption to the environment during and after construction.  Unlike Lynnfield roads where heavy vehicles regularly travel and snow blades causes pavement disruptions, bike paths are well designed and very durable for low impact users such as walkers, runners and bikers.  The design and construction is to federal standards and just like other pathways, expect to do some spot repairs within 20+ years.  

 

Reedy Meadow is a National Natural Landmark, is this project acceptable and what is the role of our local conservation commission? 
A right-of-way exists already with the abandoned rail bed so this is considered a permissible use project. Consultant engineers and Lynnfield Conservation Commission (LCC) will be closely monitoring the project to ensure it meets all local, state and federal requirements. Where needed efforts to replant near construction will be made via volunteers


How will you address the privacy concerns of those living closest to the pathway?  
Being a good neighbor and helping ensure a sense of privacy for those who desire it is commitment we take seriously. Landscape architects hired for this project will work closely with the town to assess the entire route and identify opportunities to preserve and enhance natural vegetation for greater privacy. They will also be part of public forums and will contact each resident with property nearest to the path to identify areas of concern and provide reasonable solutions paid for by the project. They receive - as part of this project's funding - privacy barriers - a choice of five types.


What are we doing to answer the special concerns of abutters? 

There are 52 homes, 1 church, 6 lots owned by residents, and 23 town lands that abut the current rail bed owned by the MBTA.  

We are proud of work done by our tireless committee between June and Oct 2014 to listen and learn from those living closest to the proposed rail trail. We began with postcards and a survey, followed by phone calls and door-or-door visits to every home over 5 weekends this fall and sent a final post card in October.  Dick, Joe, Mark and Janet were warmly received and left our contact information for anyone we missed.  Every question is posted here on our FAQ's and the order of questions related to; privacy, parking, crime, noise, home values. We are already delivering on our promise to advocate and inform on every concern.  The response from abutters was more positive than we initial expected and we endeavor to keep everyone informed and engaged in the process.  


Where would our rail trail go?

In Wakefield, the rail bed merges onto live tracks of the Boston bound commuter rail so terminates there. To reach the soon to bebuilt Stoneham Tri-Community Greenway, you can hop on the road for a few miles. On the northern end, our project will terminate at the Lynnfield/Peabody border right near Winona Pond. The Peabody Independence Greenway has built out a beautiful rail trail using tracks that go more east to west and they have a tricky on-road section in the middle on Lowell Street/Rt 1 where their trail connects to the Danvers rail trail. Significant challenges face Peabody to create a safe Rt. 1 crossing and separately build out a spur towards Lynnfield.  We welcome the chance to have our trails connect someday so Lynnfield and Wakefield can be part of a growing statewide networkof trails.  

 

What about noise from users of the path? 

Use of 2 and 4 wheel motorized vehicles that have been disruptive for abutters will stop.   The noise levels of from walkers, runners and bikers passing through will be similar to what currently occurs on sidewalks.  Check out local rail trails for yourself.  


What about nature disruption? 

A pathway like will restore a natural corridor for wildlife that existed from 1854 to the 1990's when the railway maintained this corridor for train use. The project will improve conditions where brush placed on the tracks has created obstructions for wildlife.


What about underground utilities including the gas line? 

These utilities are well known to the engineers, who say; "As part of the MassDOT process a utility check list is developed and all utility owners are notified of the project. This gives the utility owners the opportunity to make upgrades or advise on special considerations that need to be addressed. The “utility submission” occurs between the preliminary design and the 75% design."  


What about ownership of the land? 

The entire right of way is owned by the MBTA. Lynnfield and Wakefield have been offered an opportunity to enter into a 99 year lease with the MBTA for the express purpose of building a rail trail. The MBTA will retain ownership of the land.


How can I help?

We are volunteers and would welcome your help as well. Keep informed on the project on www.Facebook/Lynnfield Rail Trail and on this privately funded website. Contact us anytime at info@lynnfieldrailtrail.org.  Thank you.






      


frequently asked questions