The Massachusetts Trails Team (MassTrails) is pleased to announce the release of a new interactive Priority Trails Network vision map for current and future shared-use path projects throughout the Commonwealth. This tool could be useful to communities and regions working to become more age- and dementia friendly as stakeholders can work to activate and promote trail networks for physical activity and socialization. Stakeholders may also work to make these trails more age- and dementia friendly with accessible features, benches, and wayfinding, among other things.
The map provides a centralized inventory of key rail trail projects that will help support an envisioned comprehensive statewide transportation trail network. The map specifically identifies approximately 320 miles of trails that have been constructed and are in use, 24 trails that are currently under construction, and another 60 miles of proposed paths that have been funded but not yet constructed. Additionally, the map lists priority shared-use path project locations that either have been proposed for consideration or will be pursued for funding and development to help address key gaps in the network.
The interactive map can be found at https://www.mass.gov/guides/masstrails-priority-trails-network-vision, and allows users to click on any segment to view trail name, municipality and MassDOT Project Information page, if applicable. The map includes paved, ADA-accessible shared-use paths, most of which are off-road rail trails or greenways. Where off-road facilities do not exist, high-comfort on-road infrastructure is proposed such as separated bike lanes with sidewalks or side paths. Since 2019, numerous MassTrails grants have focused on extending and connecting existing trails to one another, with the ultimate goal of having all trails statewide connect to this envisioned network.
The Priority Trails Network exemplifies the continued collaborative work of many of internal and external stakeholders and advocates including state and local leaders, statewide municipalities and community members, local organizations, private partners, foundations, local businesses, and regional planning agencies that are pursuing an individual segment in their community.
Trails shown on the map include:
- Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
- Mohawk Bicycle/Pedestrian Trail
- Columbia Greenway Rail Trail
- Southwick Rail Trail
- Southampton Greenway Rail Trail
- Manhan Rail Trail
- Mass Central Rail Trail
- Northampton Bikeway
- Titanic Rail Trail
- Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway
- Southern New England Trunkline Trail
- Twin Cities Rail Trail
- Assabet River Rail Trail
- Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
- Yankee Doodle Bikeway
- Border to Boston Trail
- Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail
- Methuen Rail Trail
- Lawrence and Manchester Rail Trail
- Concord River Greenway
- Middlesex Canal Trail
- Reformatory Branch Rail Trail
- Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
- Chelsea Greenway
- Mary Ellen Welch East Boston Greenway
- Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path
- Mystic River Reservation Bike Path
- Boston Harborwalk
- Neponset River Greenway
- Watertown-Cambridge Greenway
- Bay Colony Rail Trail
- Upper Charles Trail
- Blackstone River Greenway
- Quequechan River Rail Trail
- Cape Cod Rail Trail
- Shining Sea Bikeway
- Bourne Rail Trail
The interactive map also highlights shared-use paths in the Priority Trails Network that are under consideration and/or in construction as follows:
- The Mass Central Rail Trail that when completed will span 104 miles from Boston to Northampton and intersect with 17 existing trails.
- The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail which will travel through eight communities over 25 miles between Lowell and Framingham.
- Nine inter-state connections to Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.
- Cape Cod paths that would create a seamless 88-mile connection from the canal to Provincetown.