2017: BRT Year In Review
With 2017 coming to a close, we have detailed some of the key accomplishments over the past year for the Bourne Rail Trail. We look forward to continued progress in the coming year.
- In April, the Cape Cod Commission issued a feasibility study for creation of the BRT. The study presented three scenarios for completing the trail. Acknowledging the tremendous community support that exists for the trail, the Commission’s report recommended that the project move forward to the planning and design stage.
- The Bourne Selectmen unanimously endorsed the vision for the BRT at their April 11 Selectmen meeting. The Selectmen's support is a critical step in moving forward with study and planning for the trail.
- In June, Governor Charlie Baker visited Cape Cod to celebrate the westward expansion of the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Dennis into Yarmouth. The Governor has been very supportive of trail projects across the state and recognizes the value of trails as an economic development strategy.
- In August, Representative David Vieira took a lead role in advancing the BRT, writing a letter to MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack requesting MassDOT’s engagement with local and regional decision makers to move the BRT forward. Representative Dylan Fernandes, Representative Randy Hunt, Senator Vinny deMacedo, Administrator Thomas Cahir of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and the Chairs of the Boards of Selectmen of Bourne, Falmouth, and Sandwich also signed the letter. The Friends, together with the public and decision makers from across the region, are eager to begin working with the state to make the BRT a reality.
- Throughout the year, the Friends were actively engaged in discussions concerning a proposed lease of the Upper Cape Regional Transfer Station, with its attendant use of the North Falmouth Secondary Line. At the encouragement of the Friends, the lease was formally opposed by the Bourne Board of Selectmen as an impediment to one of the Commission’s three options for creation of the BRT. While a five-year lease was eventually entered into in August, our efforts resulted in the inclusion in the lease of a specific provision for removal of the lessee’s right to ship materials from the transfer station by rail in the event the decision is made to proceed with the so-called “rail to trail” option for creation of the BRT. The extensive publicity surrounding this lease significantly raised the public awareness of the BRT effort and the need to put the publicly owned land to its best use.
- Our Trail Ambassadors Program did a spectacular job of spreading the word about the BRT over the course of the year. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to the trail. Since the BRT is a critical piece of the Capewide network, it is vital that we continue to raise the profile of the project to ensure that Bourne is not excluded from this regional economic development strategy.
- Looking ahead to 2018, we anticipate the creation of a formal Town Committee in Bourne to help advance the project locally. This was proposed by town manager Tom Guerino at the Dec. 19th Bourne Selectmen’s meeting. We anticipate that fundraising efforts will begin in the coming year to help support the trail’s development.
A big thanks to everyone who has supported the BRT; your consistent presence at meetings and events remains absolutely critical in moving the project.