A Big Step Forward for the Community Path

A map of some of the existing and proposed multi-use paths in Greater Boston. Image via Friends of the Community Path.

A map of some of the existing and proposed multi-use paths in Greater Boston. Image via Friends of the Community Path.

Those of us who have supported the construction of the Community Path along with the Green Line Extension (GLX) recently received some really good news. At issue was the question of what’s known as “the Fitchburg crossing,” the section of Somerville in which the GLX will bridge the Fitchburg Commuter Rail line. At a meeting last week in Medford, we were delighted to learn that MassDOT has committed to designing a way for the Community Path to bridge this gap and connect Somerville with North Point in Cambridge. This is an exciting announcement for a number of reasons.

Designing the Fitchburg Crossing section of the Community Path means that we are closer to seeing a single, continuous mixed-use path stretching from central Somerville to the Charles. Moreover, since the Community Path will run without breaks for rail or street crossings, the larger regional network of mixed-use paths—including the proposed Grand Junction Rail Trail—will finally be seamless. The Community Path is the critical link between paths on the Charles, like the Esplanade, and the eleven-mile-long Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. With the new design of the Community Path at the Fitchburg crossing, a commuter living in Bedford can get to work in North Point without ever leaving a designated bike path, and families living in Cambridge and Somerville can cycle safely to Lexington Common for a picnic.

I want to thank Governor Patrick, Secretary Davy, and the staff at MassDOT and the MBTA for seeing the long-term value in designing a complete community path. They have shown a commitment to listening to and engaging with the many advocates, residents, and neighbors who want to see the Green Line Extension and Community Path be the kind of projects that we can all be proud of. There’s still lots of work to be done on this project, but last night, we took an important step forward.

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