Peninsula Trail Project Overview
Peninsula Trail Construction: Helping to Close the Boroughs Loop / Aqueduct Trail Gap
TL;DR (too long; didn't read): 2021 Town Meeting - Article Number 22 Fact Sheet/Town Meeting Handout (PDF)
Public Listening & FAQ Session
View video of our listening / FAQ session held on May 6, 2021 at 7 pm.
Questions? Please email Kathryn McKee.
- Open a 1.6-mile section of Boroughs Loop/Aqueduct trail near Fayville Dam referenced as the Peninsula Trail (tentatively scheduled for 2022)
- Add Wayfinding, regulatory, interpretive signage including:
- Trail kiosks with maps, trail markings, permitted uses, educational and historical information
- Install fencing around existing infrastructure
Trails Committee CPA Application (PDF) (Warrant Article Number 22)
- Expand recreational resources and opportunities for residents and the broader community
- Help to close a critical gap for two regional trails: Boroughs Loop and the Aqueduct Trail
- Educate trail visitors by sharing Southborough's history and culture to encourage and strengthen community engagements
- Enhance awareness about the importance of protecting/managing watersheds, wildlife habitats, and forest management best practices
Who will benefit? How will this project benefit Southborough?
- Residents and the broader community will benefit from having more open space and trails for passive recreation
- When asked via public forums and surveys, Southborough residents have identified some of the highest trails and open space-related priorities as follows:
- Increase the walkability in town through trails and walking paths
- Enhance recreational opportunities for all ages
- Improve connectivity to regional trail networks and surrounding communities
- A few specific comments:
- "Southborough is the gap in the regional trails loop - this is embarrassing"
- "Leverage the town's historic assets and historic district"
- "Trails, walking and biking connectivity would be good for the environment, public health and sense of community"
Why vote to support this project? Why are trails important to Southborough?
Expanding the town's recreational opportunities by adding another trail will help to reduce overuse of the existing resources. Adding interpretative signage to the trails will not only make the experience more interactive, but it also conveys important information about Southborough's history and promotes the importance of conservation.
- Trails create healthy recreational opportunities for people of all ages
- Communities that offer open space can benefit economically in several ways:
- Trails and open space can be associated with higher property values and attract permanent residents
- They can also serve as a compelling perk for employees of local businesses; having access to trails during the work day for active breaks
- Trail users can support local businesses through their patronage
- Increase the walkability of Southborough through trails and walking paths
- Improve connectivity to regional trail networks and surrounding communities
What public support is there for this project? Will people use this trail?
- Southborough residents have expressed their interest in prioritizing having access to open space, connecting trails, and increasing walkability in town in every public outreach since 2008 Master Plan.
- Over 1,600 signatures were collected to urge DCR to move forward with the public access plan for this section of trail (December 2020 to March 2021). The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has committed to finalizing the plan in 2021.
- 8 Letters of support were also collected (October to December 2020) for the same initiative: Southborough Board of Supervisors, Westborough Community Land Trust, Marlborough, Northborough: Open Space, Trails, and Conservation Commission, Sudbury Valley Trustees, and Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
- What community supporters are saying about opening this trail (December 2020 to March 2021):
- "More trails in Southborough would be wonderful and being part of a bigger network is a good thing for the greater community."
- "I love this trail and would appreciate not having to run on the roads in between segments. Safer for the drivers as well!"
- "Our outdoor spaces are critical to the entire community's well-being and connectedness. We've learned this especially during this pandemic!"
- "This initiative is an investment in the future."
- "This is a wonderful collaborative project for the public good.""Trail connectivity helps people more easily explore and enjoy open spaces. This is an important missing link to open up for public access."
- Read More Comments (PDF)
- What is the Boroughs Loop Trail and why should you care about helping to close the gap?
The Boroughs Loop Trail (BLT) is a 33-mile loop that connects the trail networks of Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough and Southborough initiated by the Marlborough Economic Development Commission.
This project was proposed to "strengthen the trails and greenways of the region as a means to make the Boroughs a more attractive and desirable location for employers, their employees and residents." (BLT Feasibility Study, January 2013 [PDF])
The project is a collaborative effort including a mix of municipalities, non-profits, land trusts, and state agencies.
Southborough committed to doing its part to open this section of trail and this initiative is helping to fulfill the town's commitment.
- How much would it cost to build this trail from scratch (for example if there was no existing access road and Southborough wanted to invest in building a new trail)?
Rough estimate: $245,000 to $292,000 (excluding equipment rental)
- Department of Public Works cost to pave 0.6-mile surface, approximately 10 to 12 feet wide, 3-inch asphalt: $115,000 (rough estimate)
- Reading, MA Ipswich River Greenway Feasibility Study: $25 per linear foot to build a dirt trail
- Santa Rosa, CA (PDF): $25 per linear foot estimate to build a dirt/soft trail
- Appalachian Mountain Club: $16 to $25 per mile depending on project (excluding equipment rental)
- Are you seeking other funding sources?
Yes, the committee will be leveraging CPA funds as matching funds for a 2022 Mass Trails Recreation Grant Proposal. Funds from the MassTrails grants will only apply if the Committee is awarded a grant.
Bottom Line: The CPA funds will be used as matching funds to apply for a grant to fund a larger project as outlined in question Number 4 below. If no grant is awarded, the CPA funds will be used to complete the original CPA project as proposed in the CPA application.
- How will the project expand if the Trails Committee can leverage CPA funds for a MassTrails Grant?
A few possible options to expand the project where additional funds can be used:
- Installation of crosswalk at Central and Route30 for safe crossing (plus other trail crosswalk improvements throughout town)
- Expand historical signage at key locations along the trail throughout town
- Evaluate trail for accessibility compatibility (e.g., moving gate, accessible parking, address slope issues) (pending approvals)
- Add a boardwalk and foot bridge to bypass the section of trail proposed along a dangerous section of Route30 (near Southborough/Framingham town line) where the trail intersects with the Bay Circuit Trail (pending approvals)
- Trees to create a natural screen for trail neighbors near 142 Boston Post Road
- Why is Southborough being asked to install a fence around this structure? What is the purpose of the fence?
- The riser shaft is important Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water infrastructure and needs to be secured before the area can be opened to the public
- Requiring fencing is standard requirement for opening trails on these properties: See MWRA Aqueduct Trails FAQs: What physical improvements are required to allow public access
- MWRA services 61 communities, 3 million people, 5,500 business; fencing infrastructure is a requirement to help protect the drinking water of millions of people
- Why is the fence so expensive (I can put up a fence in my backyard for $xx)?
- This is not the same fence that one would install for a residential property
- The proposed fence fits the required Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) specifications
- Costs of building products (e.g., steel) have increased due to COVID-19
- The use of prevailing wages are required for this project:
- Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) 30, Section 39M governs all public construction (including alterations, remodeling, etc.), and all projects are subject to prevailing wages, regardless of total project cost. This would apply to any labor related to any portion of the project.
- In addition to local vendor recommendations, we used the MA Supplier Diversity Office, Supplier Diversity Program (SDP) directory of certified businesses to identify possible fence contractors.
- We obtained three fence quotes (one SDP certified vendor); reached out to eight fence vendors.
- What is the town’s liability if the town pays to install the fence?
The Committee confirmed that the town is covered for liability via its existing insurance policy. We would need to include a standard sign on the fence indicating the following: no trespassing/no climbing/private property.
- What style of signage is being considered?
- See picture for example and application for proposed specs (and more photos)
- Single and double powder coated aluminum post signs
- The committee obtained three quotes
- The sign vendor of the quote included in the application was recommended by the Town of Ashland (and another a sign vendor who has been contracted by two Southborough Committees)
- What outreach are you doing to connect with the trail neighbors?
A phased approach is underway to reach out to the trail neighbors to inform them of the public opening of the access road, to ask for their input, and to address any questions:
- Phase I: connect with trail neighbors who reside closest to the trail
- Phase II: reach out to other trail neighbors in the vicinity
- Review the Abutter Notice (PDF)
- Can I walk my dog on this trail?
- Although we love our furry friends, no dogs are allowed on Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) property within the Sudbury Reservoir watershed. This applies to trails throughout town.
- Dogs are allowed at Beals Preserve, Breakneck Hill Conservation Land, and the Town Forest. Even on these properties, all dog waste must be packed out. The poop fairy is not real and will not retrieve the bags you leave behind.
- The reservoir serves as backup drinking water and strict regulations are in place to help keep the watershed and water clean and free of pollutants.
- "Pet waste poses a serious threat to water quality as it is full of bacteria and viruses that can be harmful to people and wildlife, and nutrients that can cause harmful algal blooms." DCR Educational Flyer
- "Dogs are fed processed foods or people food that results in an excess of nutrients in their waste and the environment. Wild animals on watershed property consume natural sources from the ecosystem and return nature to nature in their waste." DCR Public Advisory
- Will there be parking?
Yes. Currently, 3 to 4 cars can park at the gate at 142 Boston Road (intersection Route30 and Central Street) without blocking the gate.
Parking is also available along Central Street, near Fayville park (short walk to trailhead).
Parking may be available across from Stony Brook Road at a commercial site once proper permission is obtained.