Rail-Trail Hall of Fame
Minuteman Bikeway inducted into Rail-Trail Hall of Fame
On June 1, 2008, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy inducted the Minuteman Bikeway into the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The press release is copied below.
Read about the local Minuteman Bikeway Celebration, which happened on October 5, 2008.
Boston-area trail receives national recognition
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has named the Minuteman Bikeway as the fifth inductee to the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Boston-area trail is featured in Rails-to-Trails magazine and on RTC's Web site, complete with photos and a detailed ride-along description of its scenic views and remarkable history—dating back to the first shots of the Revolutionary War in April 1775.
The paved 11-mile rail-trail running through suburban Boston is one of New England's most popular pathways, attracting an estimated 2 millions users a year. Heavily used by pleasure-seekers and commuters alike, the route connects directly with the Alewife "T" Station in Cambridge, which leads conveniently into downtown Boston.
"We are all very excited about the award," says Joey Glushko, Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development liaison to the Arlington Bike Committee. "I think it will help people respect the Minuteman as a linear park. It has a great atmosphere, is used by every age group, and is wonderfully accessible."
The Minuteman Bikeway, known as "America's Revolutionary Rail-Trail," honors a long railroading history as well. In 1846, the Lexington & West Cambridge Railroad first built and started service on the line, which passes through the heart of Lexington's storied Revolutionary War heritage. The blizzard of 1977 halted passenger service for good, and freight service followed in 1981.
Then in 1991, the corridor was "railbanked" by federal law, making it possible to transform the line into a rail-trail while preserving future railroad opportunities. Just a year later, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the communities along the route celebrated the opening of the Minuteman Bikeway as the country's 500th rail-trail.
"We are honored that the Minuteman Bikeway is being inducted into RTC's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Minuteman Bikeway remains one of the most popular rail-trails in America, but it has also become a type of community Main Street—it's where you see your neighbors," says Jack Johnson, chairperson of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee. "Beyond passing through the historic corridor where the Revolutionary War started, the Minuteman Bikeway abuts public parks and conservations lands, so it's an urban greenway connector, too. It's a tremendous resource for both active recreation and local transportation."
RTC's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to honor outstanding rail-trails. There are currently 1,500 open rail-trails, and approximately 750 more in development. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution.
Past trails that have received the designation include the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri, the Pinellas Trail in Florida, and the Great Allegheny Passage in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
For a complete list of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame designations and stories, visit RTC's Web site at www.railstotrails.org.
Related news stories:
- A Movable Feat. Front-page story on Minuteman Bikeway Celebration and brief video, Arlington Advocate newspaper, October 7, 2008.
- Minuteman Bikeway named "trail of the month". Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, June 2008.
- Popular trail gets better with time. Boston Globe article, June 29, 2008.
- Bike trail finds its ways to national fame. Boston Globe article, June 12, 2008.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.