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Rockingham Trail

The Rockingham Trail is a proposed paved trail that would connect the center of the City of Manchester to the Town of Auburn. The Rockingham Trail will utilize the existing Right-of-Way (ROW) of the abandoned Boston and Maine Railroad corridor. The Rockingham Trail will originate at it’s intersection with the South Manchester Trail on its west end and to the Rockingham Trail - Portsmouth Branch, an existing gravel trail in the Massabesic Lake region, on its east end. There is also potential to utilize an abandoned railroad spur along Valley Street to further connect neighborhoods within the city’s center.

Route Description

Segment 1 has a total of 13 street crossings. This area can generally be described as commercial/industrial including multi-unit living facilities. Segment 1 is a very condensed and compacted area with many challenges. Due to the high number of street crossing the trail access should be restricted to existing street crossings only. Segment 1 is a core link of the City of Manchester’s proposed and existing trail network.

Segment 2 which can be described as residential and industrial. The railroad corridor in Segment 2 is increasingly less urban and generally is surrounded by a swath of woods. It should be noted that in some areas the trail is severely overgrown and upon trail construction the wooded swath will be significantly reduced by the clearing of the trail path. With exception to a few parcels the majority of Segment 2 is residential single family homes. There are many opportunities for trail access by the surrounding neighborhoods via side streets that abut the railroad corridor. This provides the opportunity to link some of the neighborhoods on the north and south sides of the corridor.

Segment 3 of trail from the intersection of Proctor Road to the eastern city limits at the Town of Auburn border is referred to as the Portsmouth Segment has been constructed. The tunnel/bridge under Peabody Avenue is completed.. The Portsmouth Segment is a gravel trail that connects to the Portsmouth Branch of the Rockingham Trail which continues on to the New Hampshire seacoast. The Portsmouth Segment can be generally described as wooded. Similar to Segment 2 some neighborhoods are separated by the corridor.

Destinations and Accessible Points of Interest:

The creation of the Rockingham Trail will serve as a safe accessible link to businesses, parks, lakes and of other assets to the City of Manchester, its citizens and the surrounding communities. As noted in the plan sheets some of the locations listed below are directly accessible by the trail whereas others are accessible by an intersecting street of the Rockingham Trail. Below is a small list of locations that will become more accessible for bicycles and pedestrians via the Rockingham Trail.

  • Verizon Wireless Arena
  • Stanton Park
  • JFK Coliseum
  • Gill Stadium
  • Sheridan-Emment Park
  • Basquil-Sheehan Park
  • Howe Park
  • Prout Park
  • Stevens Park
  • Elliot Hospital
  • Valley Cemetery
  • Medford Park
  • Massabesic Lake
  • Massabesic Lake area trails
  • Youngsville fields and tennis courts
  • Lake Park
  • Derryfield Country Club
  • Derryfield Park
  • Stevens Pond Park
  • Rockingham Recreational Trail – Portsmouth Branch connection to eastern trail networks
  • Connection to Town of Auburn

South Manchester Rail Trail

The South Manchester Rail Trail is a proposed bike/pedestrian path that would connect the downtown “Millyard” area of Manchester to the Town on Londonderry. The South Manchester Rail Trail will utilize the existing Right-of-Way (ROW) of the abandoned Boston and Maine Rail.

Route Description

The South Manchester Rail Trail travels in the north westerly direction. Beginning at its south end is its connection to the Town of Londonderry. A new link in the corridor will have to be established here. The old Grenier Air Force Base has been sold and turned into what is now the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. With the sale of the Air Force Base came the eventual expansion of the public airport. The corridor in this area no longer exists. In addition to providing a link to the Town of Londonderry this trail will link to the Salem section of the South Manchester Rail Trail.

South of the Manchester-Boston Airport the abandoned railroad corridor is still visible along the south side of Harvey Road. Along the north side of Harvey Road is the Airport property. Harvey Road generally follows the perimeter of the of the airport property along the east side south into Londonderry where it can reconnect to the abandoned railroad corridor that extends down into the City of Salem along the MA/NH state border. Following Harvey Road north it intersects with Perimeter Road which travels west and eventually intersects with the abandoned railroad corridor heading northwest. This segment is referred to as the Airport Segment and is mixed use (commercial/residential

North of the Manchester-Boston Airport the abandoned corridor still exists all the way into downtown Manchester. Beginning at Perimeter Road the abandoned railroad corridor is still well defined. One of the more costly aspects of this trail rehabilitation will be the rehab of the Great Cohas Brook Railroad Trestle. The Trestle appears to be in good shape and looks safe but would still need to undergo a structural inspection and then will need to have an appropriate pedestrian bridge designed and retrofitted. North of the Cohas Trestle the corridor is still well defined. The section of the south Rockingham Trail from Perimeter Road to Goffs Falls Road is referred to as Segment 4 and can generally be described as wooded.

A portion of the South Manchester Rail Trail has already been constructed and is currently being used. This section begins at Gold Street and continues north to its intersection with South Beech Street. This section of trail links to Nutts Pond/Precourt Park recreational area and provides access points from the local neighborhood side streets. This section of the South Manchester Rail Trail is referred to as the Nutts Pond I Segment and is generally residential / wooded in nature.

The South Manchester Rail Trail continues north form the Nutts Pond Segment to downtown Manchester where it makes a connection with the envisioned Rockingham Trail and the envisioned Heritage Trail. Basically intersecting at what we will hopefully call “The Hub”.

Destinations and Accessible Points of Interest:

The creation of the South Manchester Rail Trail will sever as a safe accessible link to businesses, parks, ponds, brooks and other assets to the City of Manchester, its citizens and the surrounding communities. As noted in the plan sheets some of the locations listed below are directly accessible by the trail whereas others are accessible by an intersecting street of the Rockingham Trail. Below is a small list of locations that will become more accessible for bicycles and pedestrians via the Rockingham Trail.

  • Saint Augustine Cemetery
  • Hebrew Cemetery
  • Precourt Park and Nutts Pond
  • New Saint Augustine's Cemetery
  • Mall of New Hampshire
  • Manchester – Boston Regional Airport
  • Pine Island Pond
  • Cohas Brook and Little Cohas Brook
  • Connection to Town of Londonderry

Piscataquog Trail

The Piscataquog Trail is the western most rail trail proposed/existing recreational trail. It provides a link from the Heritage Trail and Riverwalk to the west side of the Merrimack River leading into the Town of Goffstown. This trail will utilize the abandoned Boston and Maine Railroad corridor.

Route Description:

The Piscataquog Trail begins on the east side of the Merrimack River at its intersection with the Heritage Trail. It also connects with the already constructed Riverwalk near MerchantsAuto.com ballpark. The Piscataquog crosses the Merrimack River utilizing the ‘Hands Across the Merrimack” Bridge constructed as part of the rail trail project. The Piscataquog Trail is complete up to South Main Street on the west side of the Merrimack River. This section is referred to as the Merrimack Segment.

Additionally the Piscataquog Trail has been designed from South Main Street to Electric Street on the east side of the Piscataquog River. This project has been sent out to construction and should be completed in 2009. This section is referred to as the Central Segment.

The remaining section of the Piscataquog Trail is relatively short in length. The end of the 2009 trail project is close to the Goffstown/Manchester border. But the complexity of the project is increased because of the existing Piscataquog River Railroad Trestle. The Piscataquog River Trestle appears to be in decent shape but will still require a structural inspection and appropriate pedestrian bridge design. North of the trestle the abandoned corridor follows the river into Goffstown. This segment is referred to as the Piscataquog Segment and is generally residential in nature.

Destinations and Accessible Points of Interest:

The completion of the Piscataquog Trail will serve as a safe accessible link to businesses, parks, rivers and other assets to the City of Manchester, its citizens and the surrounding communities. As noted in the plan sheets some of the locations listed below are directly accessible by the trail whereas others are accessible by an intersecting street of the Piscataquog Trail. Below is a small list of locations that will become more accessible for bicycles and pedestrians via the Piscataquog Trail.

  • Merchants Auto.com Stadium
  • Merrimack River
  • Sweeney Park
  • Gossler Park
  • Piscataquog River Park
  • West Ice Arena
  • Rock Rimmon Park
  • Cullerot Park
  • Connection to Town of Goffstown
  • Lamoille Valley Recreational Trail link

Recommended Construction Segments:

There is only one remaining segment to complete in the City of Manchester along the Piscataquog Trail. Completion of the Piscataquog Segment will finish Manchester’s link to the west trail network and eventually to the Lamoille Valley Trail section in Andover, Wilmot and Danbury, NH.

Heritage Trail

The Heritage Trail is envisioned as a “Rail plus Trail” option, where the active freight railroad corridor and envisioned rail trail would share the corridor ROW. The Heritage Trail consists of two legs of the former Boston and Maine Railroad hub. It travels in the north/south direction following the Merrimack River.

Route Description:

In the Town of Bedford a one mile section of the Heritage Trail is already completed beginning at Moores Crossing Road and ending near the Bedford pumping station just south of NH Route 101. A key link will be the crossing of the Merrimack River. Once the trail crosses the Merrimack River the Manchester Branch of the Heritage Trail begins and heads north along the Merrimack River and existing freight corridor towards the Town of Hooksett. The railroad passes through a number of different areas from residential to industrial/commercial to wooded.

Beginning at the Merrimack River Trestle the railroad corridor passes through an industrial area including the City of Manchester Wastewater Treatment Facility. This area is well developed with large industrial buildings. It will be hard to get a path in this area that is not within the railroad ROW.

Crossing under the Interstate Highway bridges begins a wooded and residential section continuing north to Westland Avenue. A significant portion of this area is undeveloped and wooded. There may be opportunity to leave the railroad ROW and develop a separate trail corridor either along the Merrimack River or on the back side of Pinegrove Cemetery. North of Pinegrove Cemetery is a residential neighborhood and the potential to provide access point to the Heritage Trail for neighborhood residents.

North of Westland Avenue the railroad corridor crosses back into an industrial/commercial area.

The Riverwalk continues north along the Merrimack River to the Hands Across the Merrimack River Bridge and Piscataquog Trail. The Riverwalk continues north along the river in front of the Merchants Auto.com Ballpark where it ends on the north side of the ballpark at near an existing Merrimack River boat launch Stark Landing. This area is the hub of the existing railroad and envisioned rail trail network forming the junction between the Piscataquog Trail, the Heritage Trail, the South Manchester Rail Trail and the Rockingham Trail.

North of the hub area is the Manchester Millyard area. The railroad corridor is very tight in this area and there are numerous grade crossings. There is opportunity to leave the railroad corridor in this area and potential travel along parallel streets. Also there is another section of Riverwalk completed in the area of Bridge Street. North of Bridge Street and continuing to Amoskeag Bridge Street the area is similarly commercial and industrial. This area is highly congested and has a high traffic volume.

North of Amoskeag Bridge is a large section of residential area with multi-unit buildings and single family homes and is generally wooded. The railroad corridor continues in this manner north to University of Southern New Hampshire and the Town of Hooksett. In general the wooded and residential areas provide more opportunities for separation between the active railroad line and the envisioned rail trail. Also the number of neighborhoods along the corridor provides excellent opportunity to provide select access points to the trail for neighborhood residents. Additionally there is an opportunity to link in the University to the rail trail network.

Destinations and Accessible Points of Interest:

The Heritage Trail will serve as a safe accessible link to businesses, parks, rivers and other assets to the City of Manchester, its citizens and the surrounding communities. As noted in the plan sheets some of the locations listed below are directly accessible by the trail whereas others are accessible by an intersecting street of the Heritage Trail. Below is a small list of locations that will become more accessible for bicycles and pedestrians via the Heritage Trail.

  • Merrimack River
  • Manchester – Boston Regional Airport
  • Pine Island Pond
  • Goffs Falls Park
  • Brown-Mitchell Park
  • Pine Grove Cemetery
  • New Saint Augustine’s Cemetery
  • Verizon Wireless Arena
  • Veterans Memorial Park
  • Riverwalk
  • Arms Park
  • The Millyard Area
  • Harriman Park
  • Enright Park
  • Bronstein Park
  • Victory Park
  • Pulaski Park
  • Wagner Park
  • Livingston Park and Dorrs Pond
  • State Park
  • University of Southern New Hampshire
  • Connection to the Town of Hooksett