Northampton has done some great expansion of its network of rail trails in the past five years. The next five could prove even more exciting.
Today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette reminds us that tonight’s Northampton’s City Council agenda includes an endorsement of The Open Space, Recreation, and Multi-Use Trail Plan for 2011-2018.
Update: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has approved Northampton’s Open Space Plan, and it is now in effect through 2018. The state’s approval was announced by Wayne Feiden of the City’s Office of Planning and Development on June 28, 2011. The final approved Open Space Plan is posted on the City’s web site.
This plan replaces the current plan that expires at the end of this year. There are thirteen categories of focus, and several have the potential to create improvements in cycling facilities and the integration of biking into commuter, transportation and recreation schemes.
Multi-Use Trails are directly addressed beginning on page 179 of the plan, which notes:
Northampton is increasingly becoming the mecca for multi-use trail users. With the doubling of the length of rail trails in Northampton in 2009-2010, the city has become the hub for a rail trail system that will eventually extend from Northampton north to Turners Falls, east to Boston, and south to New Haven. Northampton Open Space, Recreation, and Multi-Use Trail Plan for 2011-2017, page 179. [emphasis added]
Several trail developments are identified in the plan for the near future:
- Connecting the Norwottuck Rail Trails;
- Extend the Connecticut River Greenway Trail into Hatfield [including a Connecticut river boathouse, p. 179];
- Connecting the Manhan Rail Trail spur to the west and to the north [Ice Pond Road to Florence Road spur];
- Village Hill spur creation [through the development at the former state hospital property];
- Several smaller spurs and connections from existing trails to neighborhoods, schools, recreation facilities, and shopping.
The City Council meets tonight, November 4, in the City Council Chambers behind City Hall on Main Street. The public comment session begins at 7:15. I encourage you to go and voice your support for cycling and open space preservation in Northampton.