Taunton River Trail
The proposed Taunton River Trail will be a 22+ mile continuous network of off-road multi-use paths and on-road bike lanes that will connect the communities of Taunton, Dighton, and Somerset along the Taunton River. Once complete, it will also intersect with the South Coast Bikeway at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Somerset/Fall River. In addition, we are also examining possibilities to link to Norton and Mansfield to the north.
This map depicts our vision for the Taunton River Trail. BLUE sections of the map are on-road, and GREEN sections of the map are current or future off-road biking and walking paths. Careful planning has been undertaken by the Pathways Committee to:
1. Make use of existing railroad rights-of-way for future bike path development;
2. Connect the city center, the Taunton Green, to current and future recreational opportunities;
3. Rejuvenate the Weir Neighborhood in conjunction with the currently under-construction Linear Park;
4. Provide linkages to Taunton's many parks, open spaces, and river connections - like the Boyden Wildlife Refuge, Memorial Park, and the Taunton River among others;
5. Make connections to the communities of Dighton and Somerset, to allow all area residents to enjoy the tremendous recreational opportunities in Taunton, while providing for connections to other regional green spaces such as Sweets Knoll State Park in Dighton, and Pierce Beach in Somerset.
Off-Road Project Phases
This map depicts the project phasing for the Taunton off-road portion of the Taunton River Trail.
Phase 1 consists of the segments that are on the railroad bed. There is a possibility that we could contract with Iron Horse Preservation Society, a Nevada-based nonprofit that removes abandoned railroads and converts them into rail-trails. This would come at a low cost, as the rail would be sold to cover as many of the expenses as possible. If contracting with Iron Horse does not play out, we would then look to create a path that is at least walkable while we pursue other alternatives. This could be done in partnership with several organizations.
The spur that goes off the railroad bed and connects to West Water St. is a drainage easement on the property of 491 West Water St. Using this easement to connect the trail to the Weir Village Riverfront Park would be the preferred route. This is because continuing on the railroad bed to 5th St. would present challenges, as there would be a steep incline from the street to the railroad bed and any ramp would be in very close proximity to adjacent land.
Phase 2 would be half of the segment that would reroute the trail around TMLP. This portion of the rerouting would utilize the access road that will be built to service the solar array that TMLP is planning on constructing. The access road could double as the trail, or the trail could be an extension of the access road. Utilizing the solar array access road would limit the clearing of any additional vegetation in this area for the trail. As a result, this would lower the cost associated with this segment of the trail.
Phase 3 would be the remaining segment connecting the railroad bed north of TMLP to the solar array access road. This area is mostly wooded and would require complete clearing of the segment. In addition, there may be wetlands that would dictate the exact route that would need to be taken.