Got questions? Looking for straight-forward answers? Well you've come to the right place. The questions most people ask and their answers are listed below. Don't see it? Click here to submit your question online and we'll answer it by e-mail.
Q. What is the impact of rail-trails on property values?
Trails increase the natural beauty of communities. They also have been shown to bolster property values and make adjacent properties easier to sell. In a 2002 survey of recent home buyers sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders, trails ranked as the second most important community amenity out of a list of 18 choices. Studies of property values along trails show that lots adjacent to trails sell faster and for an average of 6-9% more than similar properties not located next to trails. Source: Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse, Washington, DC. www.trailsandgreenways.org
Q. Will the town lose property tax revenue from using the abandoned rail-bed as an open space rail-trail rather than as developed land?
No. Many communities have discovered that open space conservation is a one-time investment that can boost property values and swell tax coffers long after the land is paid for. In survey after survey, homebuyers identify nearby open space and trails as among the top features in choosing a home. Parks and open space create a high-quality of life that attract tax-paying businesses and residents to communities. Protecting open space eliminates the costs of new government services, including schools, water, trash removal, sewers, policing, and fire protection--the primary burdens on local government budgets. Source: The Trust for Public Land, Washington, DC. www.tpl.org
Q. Do rail-trails attract crime and vandalism to neighborhoods?
No. There is no evidence that rail-trails cause an increase in crime. In fact, trail development may actually decrease the risk of crime in comparison to an abandoned and undeveloped rail corridor. And, several studies show that people prefer living along a rail-trail rather than an abandoned corridor. Typically, lawful trail users serve as eyes and ears for the community. Source: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Washington, DC.www.railtrails.org
Q. What about the privacy of those living near the trail?
According to a National Park Service study "The Impacts of Rail-Trails", most adjacent owners experience a minimal loss of privacy from the establishment of a rail-trail. Generally rail-trails have a thick row of already established trees and shrubs along their edges. In some cases, adjacent landowners have already taken steps to ensure their privacy from trains, passengers, train crews and other former corridor users. Often, trail design specifications will call for additional vegetative screening to be added to the trail corridor to protect privacy. Fencing is expensive and rarely necessary, although some landowners do erect fences, often with a gate so they can access the trail. Source: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Washington, DC.
Q. Who will pick up the litter?
Trash has not presented much of a problem on most rail-trails. Some trails have successfully adopted a "pack out what you pack in" position while others have a regular maintenance schedule to empty well placed waste and recycling receptacles. Whatever method is used, proper sign placement along the trail and in trail brochures will help ensure its success. Source: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Washington, DC. www.railtrails.org
Q. Will dirt bikes/ATVs be allowed on the trail?
No. The only motorized vehicles allowed on the trail will be those used for handicapped accessibility, by the Holliston Police Department, and other maintenance and emergency vehicles. As the rail-trail will be paved, fewer and fewer people riding dirt bikes/ATVs will want to use it. Policing the trail will restrict the remaining dirt bike/ATV users from the trail.
The project has broad support both within and outside of Holliston. It was originally conceived by the Conservation Commission as part of the 1993 Holliston Open Space and Recreation Plan. It has since received the backing of the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Police Department, Highway Department, and the community at large, based on a random survey conducted by the Holliston Trails Committee. Surrounding communities such as Ashland, Milford, and Sherborn have all initiated or started projects of their own.
For residents young and old, the recreational trail will provide a clean, safe place to exercise, enjoy nature, or commute to local businesses for shopping or dining. As was demonstrated on the Minuteman and Cape Cod Rail Trails, it will increase the value and character of the community, and our quality of life in general.
Major funding for the project comes from the Massachusetts Highway Department's Transportation Enhancement Program, which has funded many similar rail trail projects over the years. Use of this source of funds means that the town of Holliston will need to provide 10% of the cost of the project and state and federal money paysthe remaining 90% cost.
Yes. Milford has completed its first phase and is planning to construct its Phase 2 that will link to Holliston in 2010. There are now more than a dozen trails in Massachusetts and more than 1000 nationwide. Surveys of residents from Lexington and other local communities have indicated high satisfaction levels and overwhelming support of the trails.