Most seek ways to recycle dormant rail lines into bikeways. Right of way law tends to favor existing holders and many are reluctant to relinquish use potential. A nullified right of way reverts to the original abutting land parcels that gave it substance.
Despite this, there is considerable interest in turning rails to trails.
In general, I’m discovering that the bicycle constituency is the most focused on the potential to create a trail system that is robust at scale and a counterpart to the road grid.
It makes sense too as bicycles can either serve recreation or join the mode mix in the daily commute. Their increasing popularity in the urban core already makes extensive use of a system that has barely begun to accommodate them.
To this end, any efforts to expedite expansion of the bikeway system are sound infrastructure allocations despite whatever right wing derision may ensue.
It thus follows that Mass Bike has the one of the best and most coherent aggregations of trail way resources out there.
Following the outer arc of the Bay Circuit wheel from north to south, you will find a number of these spoke trails and considerable enthusiasm is applied to them.
Border To Boston begins up in the Amesbury and Salisbury shoulder of the Merrimack River mouth and aims to follow an old rail line through to Boston.
The Mystic Link Trail runs from Boston Harbor to Wilmington in various forms where it nudges the headwaters of the Ipswich and a bit of the Shawsheen.
Minuteman Bikeway may well the most popular bikeway and is the most direct point of access to the Bay Circuit at a mere 11 miles. It then ties to Bay Circuit segments heading north and west.
The Mass Central Rail Trail passes through Wayland and Sudbury with significant activity underway in Waltham. It begins In Northampton and has been augmented significantly along the Wachusett section in addition to its initial Norwottuck section.
The Charles River Link Trail might be best characterized as part a system rising from the remnants of the old MDC infrastructure with several major focal zones from Watertown to Holliston as befits its meandering wanders. It has a further counterpart in the Upper Charles Trail reaching all the way to Milford.
The Warner Trail heads due south west to Rhode Island while efforts are underway to join it in the east with the Neponset trail system to its mouth in Dorchester.
This growing array of ways to the Bay Circuit provide plenty of options for exploration from the urban core.