You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them by looking backward. 
---Steve Jobs

Today we'll connect the dots back in a transportation context. We'll go back to a notable decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1973 that had a dramatic, but largely unseen, impact on the on-going redevelopment of the densest network of dead railroads  in North America into becoming Alternative Transport-ation corridors. ATCs are transportation policy world jargon for bike trails, rail trails, and greenways. 

A TIMELINE OF NOTABLE EVENTS THAT MAKE IT EASIER TO DEVELOP       RAIL TRAILS IN MASSACHUSETTS  SNCE THE EARLY 1970S

  

1.  The story of the Shining Sea Trail in Falmouth. How it was acquired, built and its tie-in to:

2.   The SJC case granting the approval for a municipality to use eminent domain to reassemble  a 3-mile former railroad corridor into becoming a recreational trail. First time in history that a state SJC did this.

3.   Which then led to the creation of a set of laws that allowed the state to have a role in protecting former railroad corridor from being sold off or having an inappropriate develop-ment take place.

4.   Here is a short video interview with former State Rep Dick Kendall who authored and got passed, the two landmark laws that preserve and protect former RR corridor in Massachusetts. 

5. .  That important SJC case and the two subsequent laws then inspired a visionary transportation secretariat in the 70s to buy hundreds of miles of active and abandoned corridor in over 70 communities in eastern Mass.  Here's the specs on one of the four transactions. This one involved 30 communities.  I'd be happy to send you the three other transactions that bought corridor in 43 other places. 

Shining Sea cover trimmed 2.jpg
Dick Kendall.jpg
MBTA north side takings 30 towns-1.jpg
161c 40-54A RR Webinar by DOT cover slid

And here is the result of all this. Click on the image below to go to a page on the privatized real estate department of the MBTA touting the scores of communities redeveloping their post-industrial wastelands into Alternative Transportation Corridors.  Or as the T calls them; ATCs.  We'll just call them rail trails or greenways or bike paths.

ATCs.jpg