On Friday, the new North Bank Pedestrian Bridge was opened to the public for the first time. In attendance at a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony were Governor Deval Patrick, Congressman Michael Capuano, MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis, Vice Mayor Denise Simmons, and members of the State Legislature, including Rep. Alice Wolf, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, and Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty.
This new bridge connects North Point Park in Cambridge and Paul Revere Park in Charlestown with a path that is open to pedestrians and cyclists. Spanning almost 700 feet, it is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the region and will play a vital role in increasing access and connectivity among parks and green spaces in the area. It is a key component of a series of projects that have been undertaken in order to forge stronger connections between green spaces along the Charles River Basin.
While actual bridge construction began in 2010, the North Bank Bridge was first made possible in 1989 when the City of Cambridge sued to block “Scheme Z,” a Big Dig design plan that would have have made the construction of new Charles River Basin parklands and the accompanying North Bank Bridge impossible. Cambridge successfully forced the Turnpike Authority to modify Scheme Z and adopt a design plan that allowed the extension of Charles River parkland into Boston Harbor. In 1993, the Turnpike Authority agreed to build the North Bank Bridge upon completion of the Central Artery Project and in 2009, Massachusetts was awarded federal stimulus funding that finally enabled the bridge to be constructed.
This bridge will now stand for many years as a strong physical and symbolic link between Cambridge and Charlestown. It is a capstone on the revitalization of a “lost half-mile” of Charles River waterfront, and is an essential addition to the Charles River Basin.