MBTA agrees to construct dedicated bicycle and pedestrian way in conjunction with Green Line Extension, creating 2-mile path through Somerville
SOMERVILLE – The Community Path is
heading to Boston. Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey announced today that the MBTA will build an extension of the path along the future Green Line from Lechmere Station to the forthcoming Lowell Street Station, connecting to the current path and bringing the total length of Somerville’s bicycle and pedestrian path to 2 miles.
Under an agreement between the MBTA and the City of Somerville, the MBTA will first build the path along the future Green Line from Lechmere Station to the forthcoming Brickbottom Station at Washington Street as part of Phase II of the Green Line Extension, which is scheduled for completion in late 2017 with the opening of the new Lechmere, Brickbottom and Union Square stations.
As the Green Line Extension project continues, the MBTA and will build the remaining stretch of the Community Path from Brickbottom Station to the future Lowell Street Station. Last May, MassDOT began work on extending the Community Path from Cedar Street to Lowell Street.
Once the Community Path is fully built, it will create a seamless link from the Minuteman Bikeway to the Charles River paths, creating a 48-mile continuous path network connecting 11 cities and towns in the Greater Boston region. The Community Path will also provide emergency egress and a utility corridor for the Green Line Extension.
“When construction began last May on the Cedar Street to Lowell Street extension of the Community Path, I said it was only the beginning and that we would extend the path to Boston. That day is here thanks to the determination of so many,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “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. 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 like Brickbottom and Inner Belt.”
“Today’s announcement of funding for the GLX Community Path further demonstrates our vision for the future of transportation in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Deval 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.”
Bicycle infrastructure is an integral component of the Green Line Extension, which upon completion will have 1,100 bicycle parking spaces throughout the seven stations, including dedicated Pedal and Park enclosed bicycle storage units that can be accessed using a Bike Charlie Card. Last June, MassDOT agreed to fund a complete design of the Community Path from Lowell Street to Lechmere as part of the Green Line Extension; previously, the design ended at Inner Belt.
“MassDOT’s vision for sustainable, healthy, accessible transportation has no better example than the commitment made to the GLX Community Path made here today,” said Secretary Davey. “The Patrick Administration’s continued investment in transportation infrastructure is key to the future of transportation in cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth, and I’m proud to be here in the City of Somerville today celebrating what that will mean for its citizens.”
Somerville’s bike network has more than doubled under Mayor Curtatone’s administration, bringing the city’s total to more than 30 liner miles of bike lanes in a 4.1 square mile city, along with the installation of 75 new bike racks and 10 bike corrals. The City has also updated and added pedestrian safety infrastructure such as street trees, curb bump-outs and ADA-accessible ramps that make the city more walkable. Somerville is now the 7th most walkable city and the 9th most transit-friendly city in the nation, regardless of population size, according the 2014 national Walk Score ratings, and a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community according to The League of American Bicyclists, a designation the city earned only two years after earning a Bronze level designation.