We are going north to Boxford! Topsfield Selectmen signed a license with National Grid for 1.6 miles of trail allowing us to use their property. The grass and compacted soil surface is dry (for the most part).
Your Rail Trail Committee will be really gratified when kids ride bikes to Pye Brook Park for their games and recreation instead of being driven. Maybe their parents will even accompany them on the trail.
We need 99 year lease in order to qualify for state and federal grants but that will likely be several years before that happens. We don’t like to ask for donations, and haven’t done, so as we have been able to build the first 2.3 miles of trail without asking. In the meantime we will need lots of help from volunteers as well as donations to improve the trail. Please visit the Friends Of Topsfield Trails (a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to make a generous donation.
Boxford, Georgetown and Newbury are also focused on getting the National Grid license.
What’s next? Completing the trail going north for 1.6 miles to the Boxford town line is, and has been, our goal for 20+ years! This section of the trail, and the trail going north to Newburyport, is owned by the National Grid utility company. We have joined forces with Boxford, Georgetown and Newbury to get the trail completed.
Rt. 97 crosswalk. With what your Rail Trail Committee learned from the work on the Rt. 1 crosswalk described below we completed a similar project for the Rt. 97 crosswalk by the canoe launch. By installing the equipment ourselves we realized almost $10,000 in cost savings. Since there have been some near collisions at the location a new grant from the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation for about $26,000 will fund advance warning lights on both sides of the crossing. For future projects please consider donating through the www.FriendsOfTopsfieldTrails.com.
U.S. Rt. 1 crosswalk. With grant funding from the Dept. of Recreation and Conservation your Rail Trail Committee hired a traffic engineering firm to design a crosswalk for the TLC crossing of U.S. Rt. 1. The design was completed and submitted to the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation for their approval. That approval was granted and the crosswalk markings installed through the generosity of the Institution for Savings. The remainder of the work including an “accessible” crossing (yellow tactile mats), installation of solar powered RRFB (rapid rectangular flashing beacons) were installed by a licensed contractor. Just in time for the 2012 Topsfield Fair the crossing has now been made much safer.
Washington St. and Bare Hill Rd. crosswalks. The Washington St. crossing is used by many Proctor School students. The sight lines are not good and traffic often ignores the speed limits. New RRFB solar powered flashing lights are being installed shortly. The same safety concerns are present at the Bare Hill Rd. crossing. This same grant also provides funding for RRFBs there. Installation will be done by the Rail Trail Committee and volunteers that also include senior interns from Masconomet High School.
Please pick up trash you see on the trail. Your efforts will help keep the TLC a pleasure. We’d rather not put up signs to remind trail users of this. The Rail Trail Committee with its volunteers continually picks up trash, plants grass seed on the trail shoulders and works on keeping the drainage swales clear.
Bicycle racks. Besides the crossing light described below the Rail Trail Committee and its volunteers have been busy installing bicycle racks that were provided at no cost to the Town through a grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. Eleven new racks including four bright red ones have been placed at along side the trail at the Proctor School, Main St., Rt. 1, and at the Fairgrounds Rt. 97 parking lot crossing. The North Shore cyclists have donated a bicycle repair stand which sits just south of Main St.e
Eagle Scount Projects. Several Eagle Scout projects have been completed. The list includes benches, picnic tables, bat houses, street name signs at road crossings and an exersize station by the Proctor School.
A big THANKS to the Iron Horse Preservation Society, the non-profit that removed all the rails and ties for our trail. Iron Horse also installed the stone dust surface that was paid for by the Rail Trail Committee DCR grants.
Topsfield Fair goers made good used of the trail last October. They parked and walked from Topsfield village center to the Fairgrounds on Rt. 1. During August the trail was inaugurated by a wedding procession going from St. Rose to a resident on Pemberton Rd. They entered the residence through the back yard abutting the trail.
Topsfield Rail Trail Committee
“TLC” - Topsfield Linear Common