Category Archives: Bay Colony Rail Trail

Bay Colony Rail Trail report

The Bay Colony Rail Trail presentation at the meeting of the Board of Selectmen last night by Christian Donner was excellent and the report the study committee submitted was even better.  Below is the executive summary.  $20,000 will be donated for the formal study,  the rest of the construction monies will be fund raised, and town will have a rail trial in 2018 – it strikes me as a no brainer for the town.

The picture of the train wreck is from the report, and especially interested me as it shows the water tower which was the structure that sat on the granite blocks in the woods along the RR right of way that I found while jogging, and ultimately got the MBTA to donate to the Town of Medfield, many of which are now installed at the Straw Hat Park.  It was either Bob Kennedy, Sr. or Ed Hinkley (both now retired from the DPW) who recalled that there had once been a water tower at that site, and they were of course correct.

Also, note how West Mill Street is a pretty narrow and sorry looking dirt road, and Dale Street looks not as steep as today.


Bay Colony Rail Trail report


Photo above is of the Bay Colony Rail Trail in Needham.

Bay Colony Rail Trail committee reports to the Board of Selectmen tonight

Read the Bay Colony Rail Trail report to the Town of Medfield that the study committee will present to the Board of Selectmen this evening.  It calls for approval at the 2017 annual town meeting (ATM) and completion of the construction by 2018.  The report is a remarkably thorough and detailed document.

Selectmen 12/20

TOWN OF MEDFIELD MEETING NOTICE POSTED: 'd.-/fo--/0 0/Q,20161220-agenda_page_2

Rail Trail Study Committee – Update

Rail Trail Study Committee –

Update to the Selectmen

11/1/2017 Outlining the Study Committee Recommendations

The Study Committee intends to deliver a report before the end of the year. The highlights of the recommendations are:

  • A trail is feasible and desirable for the town
  • A professional design study will answer important questions and, above all, provide a sound cost estimate
    • The BCRTA has offered to fund such a study with a donation of up to $20k
  • The town should sign a lease in 2017 and move forward with a public-private partnership model, provided that an adequate plan to fund the trail can be developed

Update on the formation of the Friends of the Medfield Rail Trail

  • A local volunteer group is forming that will
    • Pick up the work after the Study Committee
    • Educate and inform Medfield residents about the rail trail and its benefits
    • Liaise with the BCRTA
    • Become an initiative of the Medfield Foundation
    • Deliver a design study to the town by March 2017
    • Develop a plan to finance the project
    • Advocate for the trail at Town Meeting
    • Work on construction, and once completed, maintenance of the trail

Christian Donner | pod
Email :
Skype :
Office : (617) 661 0802
Direct : ( 617) 681 4006
Cell : (617) 610 1527

Sidewalk planning


In response to a citizen discussion on Facebook, at the Board of Selectmen meeting last night I brought up appointing a citizen “Sidewalk Study Committee.”  I have been advocating for better planning around sidewalk construction ever since I noted years ago that the then process seemed ad hoc and came mainly from DPW Superintendent Ken Feeney. I thought the town needed more thoughtful and robust planning, and a process open to resident participation.

Last night, in response to my suggestion to appoint a citizen “Sidewalk Study Committee,” Mike Sullivan opined that he preferred using the moribund Safety Committee, which is where sidewalk planning was sent to die several years ago (as that committee was then newly created with Mike, Ken, and the MPD Chief and had only one independent resident member).  After sidewalks were turfed to that then newly created Safety Committee by my then selectmen colleagues, about five to six years ago, we never heard back from that committee about sidewalks.

Last night my fellow selectmen did not support appointing a citizen study committee at this time, but Mike Marcucci opined about the need for a more robust planning process about future sidewalk construction and also financing their construction via bonding – as we cannot easily afford to pay for them out of the operating budget. That makes me hopeful that a majority of the selectmen want planning about sidewalks, and to actually spend money to build them.

To me it all about making safe connections to the downtown from each part of town. I can imagine that trails could also be used. In my part of town, the Bay Colony Rail Trail when built could connect and funnel most of the North side of town down to Harding Street at West Mill Street – and then the connection to the downtown would have to be figured out from that point.  Although we really need to also look at the more direct route along Harding Street from the town line at Dover.

MAPC map of whole area

The MAPC also shared their map showing the existing trails (in green), trails in the wroks (in yellow), and those they hope to create (in red), for most of eastern Massachusetts.

20160729-MAPC-whole area

Bike paths & hiking trails


The ad hoc group met with David Loutzenheiser, Senior Transportation
Planner at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) this morning about bicycle and hiking trails in Medfield.  Attending were Town Planner, Sarah Raposa, Town Administrator, Mike Sullivan, Bay Colony Rail Trail Committee chair, Christian Donner, BCRT committee member, George Hinkley, interested resident Alec Stevens, and interested selectman, me.

Per what the MAPC person told Sarah before the meeting, he is working on two rail trail feasibility projects: (1) Wrentham/Norfolk/Walpole/Norwood and (2) Bellingham/Medway/Millis/Medfield.  Apparently, he has funding to begin work on these projects and depending on the communities’ levels of interest would like to do so either this fall or next spring.

At the meeting he focused on

  • the Bay Colony Rail Trail (in yellow on the above map),
  • the possibility of running a rail trail along side of the active north-south rail line (also in yellow on the above map), and
  • hiking trail connectors
    • from downtown to Rocky Woods (needs a boardwalk North of Hinkley Pond)
    • from Elm Street area over to the Bubbling Brook area
    • from Rocky Woods to the Blue Hills

The Bay Colony Rail Trail will probably proceed.  The North South rail line trail would link many of the main features and sites in town in ways that would dramatically improve the town.  Alec Stevens has proposed this in the past, based on his experience with a successful one he knew while growing up in Philadelphia.

It is going to be a long process, requiring lots of work and planning, and it has started.