1.9 Mile Path will Provide Multi-Modal Connection along Green Line Extension
SOMERVILLE – Wednesday, April 30, 2014 – MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey today announced funding for a multi-modal Community Path to be built along the Green Line Extension (GLX) in Somerville and Cambridge. The 1.9 mile path will connect four GLX Stations: Lowell Street, Gilman Square, Washington Street and the relocated Lechmere. When complete, the path will provide a long-awaited connection that will give pedestrians and bicyclists a continuous route from Bedford to Boston. Secretary Davey was joined at the event by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, community members and activists.
“Today’s announcement of funding for the GLX Community Path further demonstrates our vision for the future of transportation in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “Investment in transportation infrastructure that provides better access to more healthy, sustainable and cost-efficient options is necessary to continue to move Massachusetts forward.”
“The Lowell Street to Lechmere Community Path is projected to cost $39 million, half of which will be covered by federal funds. The path will open in phases, and will be complete with the opening of the Green Line Extension project in 2020. The path will not only provide a direct route from neighboring cities and towns to Boston for bicyclists and pedestrians, but also provide connections between the Red and Green Lines.
“This is great news for both pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Congressman Michael Capuano. “I have been strongly advocating for inclusion of the community path as an integral part of the GLX, fearing that separate consideration would add years of delay in construction. Establishing a pedestrian and bike link along the Green Line is an essential component of the Green Line Extension and something I strongly support. I applaud the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for including a fully constructed Community Path to Lechmere in the Green Line Extension project.”
“The commitment to the GLX Community Path made here today once again affirms the Patrick Administration’s commitment to healthier, more sustainable transportation options,” said Secretary Davey. “The Community Path will better connect customers to multi-modal transportation that will improve both environmental and economic conditions in the region.”
The Community Path originally connected the Alewife Linear Park to Davis Square in Somerville. In 2011, MassDOT completed the first extension of the path to Cedar Street using federal and state highway funds. In 2013, MassDOT began construction of the path extension from Cedar Street to Lowell Street. That phase is expected to be completed and open to use this fall.
MassDOT and the MBTA are working closely with the city of Somerville on the planning, design and construction of the path that will run through some of its most rapidly-developing neighborhoods.
“This project is about much more than biking and walking--it’s about building a community and a region that is equitable, connected and vibrant,” said Mayor Curtatone. “When we create connections between neighborhoods and communities, economic health follows as our squares thrive, local businesses get busier and a resilient, self-sufficient economic base is built for our city and the region. That is the connectivity and vibrancy that will also help us bring back our historic neighborhoods in Somerville like Brickbottom and Inner Belt.”
The MBTA and MassDOT are in the process of designing the path and the Lowell Street path extension is currently being constructed. The city of Somerville is acquiring land and easements where necessary for the construction of the path, of which part will be constructed as emergency egress routes from the GLX stations. Somerville will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the path. The Community Path will be fully ADA accessible and amenities will include fencing, lighting, wireless alarm call boxes, bollards (removable and permanent), trash receptacles, landscaping and benches.
“As someone who supported the then-controversial creation of the original stretch of the Community Path in the 1980s, I applaud Somerville’s embrace of the full extension of the Path, and the Patrick administration’s support of this project,” said Representative Denise Provost.
During the Green Line Extension State Implementation Plan (SIP) public process, many people requested that the state fund the construction of the Community Path as mitigation for the delay of the Green Line Extension itself. However, given that the Community Path will not be open during the time of the GLX delay, it cannot be used as SIP mitigation. Regardless, the overall economic and environmental benefits of the Community Path are reason enough for the Commonwealth’s commitment to its construction.
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work. For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot blog: http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/ , or follow MassDOT on twitter at https://twitter.com/MassDOT and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo .