Holliston – A Trail Runs Through It

With the completion of the Upper Charles Rail Trail surface between Central and Church Streets, Holliston’s 6.7-mile linear park will connect Milford, Holliston, and Sherborn – and perhaps beyond.

Grading the new one-way road and parking area behind Casey’s. A first coat of paving has now been added.

Robert Weidknecht, Herb Brockert, and others have worked tirelessly for the past two decades to turn the abandoned CSX rail bed into a recreational gem visited by hundreds of thousands of ‘guests’ each year.

Robert currently chairs the Holliston Trail Committee.  The Committee is focused on maintaining and improving the trail experience for its guests.  Most Committee members are regular guests on the Trail – meets monthly to share maintenance needs and activities as well as discusses improvement ideas brought to the committee from other town entities.

Some of the retired Committee members (affectionately called the “Retired and Dangerous” crew) can be found along the Trail repairing the surface, trimming foliage that encroaches, preparing sites for interpretive sign installation https://hollistonreporter.com/2020/08/history-abounds-on-the-rail-trail/, and working with future Eagle scouts to install protective railings and picnic tables.

Girl Scouts from Troop 75346 recently built and installed ‘Pollinator Hotels’ along the Trail between Lowland and Church Streets.

The vacancy sign is up for this pollinator hotel.

The Friends of Holliston Trails continue to be great benefactors of the rail trail.  Soon, exercise stations will be installed at a few locations (see below) for guests to stop and do some stationary activity.  Some bike repair stations are also in the works.

Recently, the Town received a $12,000 Shared Streets and Spaces grant from the MassDOT.  This money will be used to pilot some traffic enhancements around Blair Square.  Traffic will be routed one-way on Front St from Central to Vine.  Additional parking will be available along the trail side of Front St.  New way-finding signs will direct Trail users to downtown shopping and other local destinations.  A new crosswalk will connect pedestrian traffic on Winthrop Street across Winthrop and Front to the Trail.

The engineering plan for the Blair Square traffic improvements.

But wait – there’s more!  The Blair Square Committee has plans that will expand the usability of the stretch of Trail from Central to Exchange Streets.  Plans have been drawn up and now the fun begins – finalizing the construction plans / cost – and raising the funds to make it a reality.

You might consider that original rail bed that Robert saw those many years ago as a strong backbone that traverses the town.  That backbone is now supporting many other great additions to our community.

Chris Cain

5 Comments

  1. Rick Shansky on September 27, 2020 at 9:52 am

    The Blair Square map looks really interesting but is too small to read. Can you embed as a jpg file?

    • Chris Cain on September 27, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Rick – Here is link to the plan on the Town’s website -> Front Street Plan

      • Leesa Powers on September 28, 2020 at 12:05 am

        Thank you

  2. Diane Reeves on September 27, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Love the trail, such a plus for the town.

  3. Ted Lansdale on September 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    So glad to see the trail get better every year. Wouldn’t it be great if we could expand access to the bike path, especially for our students in Adams, Miller and Placentino? If you’re west of Mudville, there are few options for elementary school students to access the bike path. The trail crosses near Phillips gas station, Rt. 126/Summer Street, Hopping Brook, etc. None of those are easily reached by kids on foot or by bike. Just imagine real sidewalks along the entire length of Highland and Washington Street. Imagine if abutters would grant a limited license for students to enter the trail from across their land. (For instance, the trail is about 100 feet from my house but one has to bike about 3/4 of a mile along a sidewalk-less Washington Street just to reach it.) With the buses nearly emptied by Covid, it seems as though everyone gets driven to school. I’d bet a lot of those kids would bike if only they could get to the trail. Sidewalks ain’t sexy, but man are they useful.

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