Southampton appears poised to join the greenway parade!
Today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette (subscription required) has an article on p. B3 about last night’s Southampton Select Board Meeting action approving moving the rail trail project forward.
Southampton is the only Massachusetts community along the greenway between Northampton, MA, and New Haven, CT, which does not have its portion of the New Haven & Northampton Canal rail trail in at least the design phase. Last week, I wrote about Westfield’s progress in developing their three sections of trail.
The trail goes by many names, Farmington River Greenway in Connecticut, Columbia River Greenway, Manhan Rail Trail, Norwottuck Rail Trail in various Massachusetts communities. But getting them all connected and bikable is a goal that many in the Pioneer Valley share.
Right now, you can cycle the variously named paths from the Amherst-Belchertown line all the way to one mile shy of the Easthampton-Southampton town line. (That mile will be developed this spring.) Along the way, you pass through Hadley and Northampton. In these communities you’ll find hotels, restaurants, shops, bike shops, parks, rivers, urban stretches, and quiet places to view wildlife. Beautiful bike riding. On the south side of Southampton and Westfield, the trail through Southwick, MA into northern Connecticut is completed for 22 miles of uninterrupted biking.
Putting Southampton and Westfield bike paths on line will bring increased tourism, and make the entire region more attractive to prospective home owners. Don’t believe me? Check out this quote from a news report by Springfield, MA, CBS3 when the Southwick section opened last year:
“People are coming from Suffield, [CT] and they are coming to Southwick.” said Daniel Call, Southwick’s Commissioner of the Park and Recreation Department. “They get up here to The Red Basket and Gino’s and they buy something. They buy something here. That’s the economic benefit of it.” [Emphasis added.]
The Gazette article notes that the Select Board study committee is sponsoring an information session on May 17 to present its report and findings.
If you are a Southampton resident, or know of one, please put this meeting on your calendar. Show your interest by being informed about this bike path and being able to express your informed support to your neighbors.
How exciting to be a cyclist living in Paradise City!