Q: What if the MBTA wants to build a light-rail or bus line in the future?
A: The land will continue to be owned by the MBTA and the lease will allow them to re-purpose the right of way with sufficient notice. The spur is privately owned, and we hope to gain easements there.
Q: How much will the trail cost to develop?
A: We anticipate that nearly all of the cost to remove the old rails, ties, switches, debris, and overgrowth and build a smooth, stone dust surface will be paid for by the salvage value of the steel, as has been done in a number of other communities. We are fundraising to add additional amenities (e.g. benches) to the trail as well as to embark on two year plan park design plan - adding trees, bushes and other plantings, etc
Q: I want to help. What can I do?
A: We'd love your help – here are some ways to get involved.
Q: Won't the trail be a place for kids to hang out, drink, and litter?
A: That's what the trail is used for right now. By cleaning it up and encouraging people to walk it, that sort of behavior will be pushed out. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy studied crime on 372 trails nationwide. Here's their report. During the 2011 NewtonSERVES day, a group organized by the Newton Bicycle/Pedestrian Task Force removed over four tons of trash and more than 30 tires dumped on the right of way.
Q: I'm worried about increased pedestrian traffic and crime and the effect they will have on my property values.
A: According to a study by Craig Della Penna about real estate sales in proximity to Massachusetts rail trails, homes in close proximity sold in about half the time as others more distant, at approximately comparable prices. Advertisements for homes near the Minuteman trail frequently list the trail as a desirable amenity.
Q: Why build on the existing rail bed instead of next to it? Won't that adversely effect the ability of the MBTA to build light rail in the future, if they decide to?
A: Without the salvage value of the rails, we could not propose building a trail at virtually no cost to the city. The MBTA will have the ability to terminate the city's lease with sufficient notice at any time, to use the land as they see fit. The existing rails are incompatible with current trains and are in any case too bent and lightweight to be used, so they must be removed. And the ties are rotten and will have to be pulled up too. If there were construction along the right of way, a trail anywhere within it would most likely be destroyed by heavy equipment.