Middleton Rail Trail FAQ
When did people start working on the creation of the Middleton Rail Trail?
Back in 2013 a group of Middleton residents got together to look into the feasibility of building a Rail Trail on the old abandoned Essex Rail Road in Middleton. A plan was developed to have the trail run along the old rail bed from the Danvers line along Maple St to the town line at Sharpner’s Pond Road in North Andover. The project was stalled for several years while Middleton Electric Light Department (MELD) bought the lease rights from the Town of Danvers for the portion of the rail bed that runs from Danvers to Essex Street. Now that MELD owns this portion, the planning process for the Middleton Rail trail was reinitiated.
Who is MiRTA and what is their role?
planning for trail access, parking areas, and road crossings;
creating rules governing use of the trail, amenities and signage;
raising funds from private and public sources and securing publicly available funding as appropriate.
coordinate volunteer efforts for maintaining and improving the public resource;
develop and maintain an annual budget and work plan.
What is the current status of the Rail Trail project?
Who currently owns the rail bed?
Middleton Electric Light Department currently owns the leased rights to the stretch of the old rail bed from the Danvers/Middleton town north to Essex Street. National Grid owns the leased rights to the stretch of old rail bed from Essex Street north to the Middleton/North Andover town line.
Will the trail extend to other towns?
When finished, the trail will connect the Town of Middleton with a rail trail in Danvers that is now in the planning stages. Once complete, the Danvers rail trail will connect with their existing rail trail, which will connect Middleton residents with a much longer trail network.
Will the trail be paved?
When will the project begin, and when will the trail be open?
Developing the rail trail is a multi-year project. The goal is to have the first phase open sometime in 2020. Currently, our efforts are focused on planning the whole project. We are currently working with the Town of Middleton, MELD, and all appropriate town departments.
How can I support the Rail Trail?
Make a donation
Purchase a mile marker (to be offered in the future)
Provide in-kind services
Attend a monthly MiRTA meeting to learn about current projects.
What is the cost to the town?
Who is liable for accidents on the trail?
What are the expected benefits?
Increased health and wellness resource: a trail gives residents of all ages and physical abilities the chance to exercise and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about noise and dangers of traffic.
Environmentally friendly transportation: a trail provides a viable, safe and green transportation route.
Enhanced open space protection: trails preserve and maintain natural settings.
Stronger civic pride and community identity: trails help to define “livable” towns and connect them to each other; help unite people with varying physical abilities; and aid in preservation of local history.
What are the security risks?
What hours will the trail be open?
The trail will be open from dawn to dusk. This is the policy with most rail trails.
How will the trail be maintained?
Will the trail be plowed in the winter?
How is the proposed Rail Trail to be used?
Do you have to be a Middleton resident to use the trail?
Can I ride my dirt bike/ATV/snowmobile on the trail?
Are Motorized Vehicles Allowed on the Trail?
Are Motorized Wheelchairs or Similar Devices Used by The Disabled Okay on the Trail?
In the case of devices used by the disabled, the safe and proper use of motorized mobility devices is allowed. These devices are allowed by Federal guidelines for “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government.” A safety flag attached to such a device is recommended for increased visibility. It should have a quiet electric motor to minimize disturbances to wildlife.
Are horses allowed on the trail?
Is there a speed limit on the Trail?
15 mph – This is the most standard speed limit on trails across the country.
Can I post advertisements on the Trail?
What side of the trail are people supposed to walk on?
Unlike on the roads, both pedestrian and biker trail users should keep to the right-hand side of the trail.
Are pets allowed on the trail?
What are the Rules for using the Trail?
Open dawn to dusk
Be courteous to other trail users
Stop at ALL stop signs
Bicyclists should wear safety helmets. State law requires children 16 and younger to wear a helmet while biking.
Keep to the right; pass on the left
Use an audible signal when passing
Look before passing
Bicyclists yield to pedestrians
Travel at a safe speed
Keep pets on a short leash, remove droppings
When stopping do not block the trail
Obey all traffic control signs and signals
No littering — carry in, carry out
Alcoholic beverages prohibited
Respect property adjacent to the trail
No motorized vehicles on the trail except electric wheelchairs
In case of emergency, dial 911.
Where will people park cars to get onto the trail?
Parking accommodations have not yet been identified. One of the key design projects over the next two years will be a study to determine the requirements and possibilities for parking and access to the trail.
What will prevent trail users from parking on my street?
How will we control access to the trail?
Are there public restrooms along the Trail?
What will be done to assure safe road crossings where the trail intersects a road?
Standard trail designs usually use bollards along with such things as striping and signs to warn trail users of an upcoming intersection. The road crossing itself is usually striped much like a standard pedestrian crossing. There will be signs on the road to warn drivers. For particularly dangerous and heavily used intersections, a button-activated crossing light may be considered.