Jan 162018

Connections to the Belmont Community Path

by John Dieckmann

In the months to come, there will be a unbroken bike path from Boston all the way to Amherst. (Pixabay Stock photo.)

The community path in Belmont connects or will connect to several existing and future shared use paths in our immediate region. To the east, there is the Fitchburg Cutoff Path running from Brighton Street to Alewife Station, the Linear Park from Alewife Station to Davis Square, and the Somerville community path from Davis Square to North Point Park in Cambridge.

In Weston and Wayland . . . Eversource is constructing a maintenance access road along the right-of-way, which will double as the bike trail.

These three path segments are part of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT), as is the Belmont community path, and are complete from Brighton Street to Lowell Street in Somerville, about a mile and a quarter past Davis Square.

From Lowell Street to North Point Park, the community path will coincide with the Green Line Extension (GLX). A recent significant development is that the final bid to construct the GLX includes construction of this section of the community path.

Also radiating out from Alewife Station is the Alewife Greenway, headed generally north, parallel to Route 16, completed several years ago up to the Amelia Earhart Dam, and the Watertown Bike Path, also called the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway, which runs southward toward the Charles River. One section of the Watertown Bike Path, from Arlington Street to School Street (roughly one mile long) has been open since 2010.

A second section, from Concord Avenue to Huron Avenue, parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway, has also been open for several years. The section connecting Huron Avenue to Arlington Street has been designed, is currently out to bid for construction, and is scheduled to begin this coming spring. The remaining section between Alewife Station and Concord Avenue will run behind the Fresh Pond Mall. The City of Cambridge acquired this right of way recently, but a timetable for design and construction has not been established so far.

Western Suburbs Moving Ahead Rapidly

To the west of Belmont, significant progress is being made on the MCRT in Waltham, Weston, and Wayland. In Waltham, a contract to prepare the detailed design has been awarded to Pare Engineering and is underway.

In Weston and Wayland, the MCRT coincides with an Eversource electric power line right-of-way. Eversource is constructing a maintenance access road along the right-of -way, which will double as the bike trail. The company is covering the cost of building a gravel roadway and DCR is funding the additional coast to add a layer of hard asphalt pavement. Construction of the gravel roadway is underway in Wayland and will begin in the spring in Weston, with the asphalt pavement to follow shortly behind.

John Dieckmann is a member of the Belmont Citizens Forum board and an avid cyclist.


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