Progress

November 16, 2021 – In cooperation with Maine DOT, the CBTA hosted a November “hi rail” tour of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor from Portland to New Gloucester. Attendees included staff from the offices of Senators Collins and King, and Representatives Pingree and Golden; municipal councilors, select board members, staff, and residents; and representatives from the Roux Institute, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the East Coast Greenway, Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy. Learn where you can legally view the SLA corridor on this Crossings Map, or enjoy this short video from the hi rail ride.

October 21, 2021 – We had a hopefully temporary setback when Maine DOT decided to delay their abandonment agreement with a freight operator on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic corridor. But our understanding is that this was not a decision to reestablish freight operations on the corridor; it was simply to allow for an evaluation of all possible uses during the upcoming Rail Corridor Advisory Council process. The story was picked up by the Portland Press Herald, AP News, U.S. News and World Report, Governing Magazine, and Yahoo News.

October 5, 2021 – CBTA board member Lee Cataldo publishes Times Record OpEd on Infrastructure Planning Intersects with Trail Projects at Critical Time.

September 16, 2021 – Momentum grows to transform dormant rail line to rail trail, News Center Maine

September 13, 2021 – Pownal and Cumberland became the eighth and ninth communities in the region calling for a study of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor as a potential rail trail.

September 7, 2021 – North Yarmouth and Lewiston become the sixth and seventh communities in the region calling for the appointment of a Rail Corridor Advisory Council to consider a potential rail trail on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor between Portland and Auburn.

August 19, 2021 – Auburn considers getting on board with a plan to connect rail trail to Portland, Sun Journal

August 17, 2021 – The Lisbon Town Council adopts a resolution calling on the Maine Department of Transportation to consider in its active transportation plan the proposed Lisbon-to-Lewiston rail trail, the use of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor as a rail trail, and the larger Casco Bay Trail vision.

August 8, 2021 – Vision for rail trail from Portland to New Gloucester comes into focus, Portland Press Herald

July 26, 2021 – Falmouth Town Council passes resolution of support for a Rail Corridor Advisory Council, tasked with studying a possible rail trail on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor.

July 20, 2021 – Freeport joins Yarmouth in calling for the appointment of a Rail Corridor Advisory Council to study a potential rail trail on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor.

July 20, 2021 – Yarmouth on board with 26-mile rail trail, The Forecaster

July 15, 2021 – Yarmouth Town Council unanimously adopts resolution calling for the appointment of a Rail Corridor Advisory Council to study the potential use of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic corridor as a rail trail.

June 30, 2021 – Casco Bay Trail members joined with other trail supporters in a bill signing ceremony with bill sponsor Rep. Art Bell and Governor Janet Mills for LD 1370, Directing the Department of Transportation To Develop and Adopt an Active Transportation Plan.

June 22, 2021 – Maine looking for new uses for dormant rail corridors, Bangor Daily News

June 21, 2021 – Maine is looking for a few good ideas on how to use dormant rail corridors, Portland Press Herald

June 16, 2021 – Governor Mills signs into law LD 1133, creating a Rail Corridor Advisory Council process to “to facilitate discussion, gather information and provide advice to the commissioner regarding future use of the rail corridor,” and to “review and make recommendations on the likelihood, benefits and costs of potential uses of the rail corridor, including, but not limited to, rail use, trail use or bikeways.”

June 15, 2021 – Governor Mills signs into law LD 1370, sponsored by Rep. Art Bell, Directing the Department of Transportation To Develop and Adopt an Active Transportation Plan.

2020 – The Maine Trails Coalition released its Maine Rail Trail Plan 2020-2030, which identifies 13 priority rail trail projects and 5 exploratory rail trail projects. Four of these projects would be part of the Casco Bay Trail network. Many others would connect directly to the Casco Bay Trail network, thereby advancing a statewide vision for trail connectivity.

2020 – URI students Sarah McGraw, Samantha Lopes, & Lindsey Corse studied a potential off-road trail through Freeport (URI study). Starting at the Freeport end of the 3-mile Beth Condon Pathway (through Yarmouth), the envisioned path would continue from the Freeport YMCA to L.L. Bean headquarters, downtown Freeport, and on to the Brunswick line. L.L. Bean and the town of Freeport have already committed substantial resources for a trail as part of the L.L. Bean headquarter renovation project (PPH story).

2020- The City of Auburn completed an Auburn Trails Feasibility Study.

2019 – The Maine Trails Coalition conducted a poll showing that 86 percent of Mainers favor creating multi-use trails on unused rail corridors, if the trails could be converted back to railroad use if needed. (MTC Poll Results)

2017 – In collaborative work coordinated through the Greater Portland Council of Governments, a study was conducted of a potential “rail with trail” on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic corridor between Portland and Yarmouth. (GPCOG study) The GPCOG study included a video visualization of the trail experience.

2015 – As part of a GIS course at USM in 2015, undergraduate student Izaac Onos conducted an exploratory “concept” study of converting the Portland to Yarmouth section of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor to a trail. (Onos study)

2013 – The Androscoggin Land Trust began its study of a 13-mile trail using the Lewiston Lower Rail line from downtown Lewiston to Lisbon, where it would connect with the existing 2-mile Papermill Trail. A feasibility study for the envisioned trail was conducted by Sebago Technics.

2010 – Long-distance multi-use trails were a key recommendation of a 2010 report on Improving Maine’s Quality of Place Through Integrated Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections, prepared by the Maine Dept. of Transportation, State Planning Office, Dept. of Conservation, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

%d bloggers like this: