bike path

The $2 million quarter-mile project will extend the popular pathway from its current end at Cedar Street to Lowell Street, the site of a future MBTA Green Line transit station.

The City of Somerville is about to grow one step closer to its vision of a bicycle and pedestrian path that connects the city to Boston. For the first time in 18 years, a new section of the Community Path in Somerville is under construction.

This week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will begin work on the extension of the path from Cedar Street to Lowell Street. To celebrate, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Ward 5 Alderman Courtney O’Keefe invite community members to a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday, May 13, at 6 p.m., with MassDOT and the Friends of the Community Path. The event will be held at the intersection of Cedar Street and the Community Path entrance.

The almost $2 million project dovetails with the Green Line Extension and will eventually provide access to the new Lowell Street Green Line station, further strengthening the city’s commitment to making it easier and safer for residents to bike, walk or ride public transit to work­, or to simply enjoy a healthy stroll or ride through Somerville.

“Somerville is already one of the most walkable and bikable communities in the nation, but we want to be number one,” Mayor Curtatone said. “The extension of the Community Path brings us closer to that goal and supports the multiple modes of transportation that are fueling our urban renaissance. We are using untapped resources in our community and transforming them into conduits for recreation, commuters and consumers. It’s better for our economy, our health and our environment.”

The city’s 2012 snapshot bicycle and pedestrian counts show impressive growth in bicycling activity, with 46 percent more in Somerville compared to 2011 and 56 percent more than 2010. According to 2010 “journey to work” data, approximately 13 percent of Somerville commuters choose biking or walking for their commutes.

The Community Path extension will run adjacent to the Maxwell’s Green development and provide access to both sides of the Lowell Street Bridge and to Warwick Street.  Construction is scheduled for completion in late fall 2013.

“The Community Path is wildly popular and now it will be even easier for Ward 5 residents to reap its benefits,” Alderman O’Keefe said. “Likewise, once it’s built, I want to invite all Community Path users to travel to our end of the path and up Cedar St. to check out all the great businesses we have here in Ward 5 in Magoun Square, Ball Square and on Highland Ave. The path offers such a great opportunity not just to get outside, but to better connect the residents of our city.”

“This innovative project is directly in line with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s way of rethinking how people move around,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “Somerville’s Community Path exemplifies the kind of viable, healthy alternative to driving we are focused on, and we are proud to partner with the city and supporters.”

The Cedar-to-Lowell extension of the Community Path represents Phase II of an overall vision that began with connecting the Community Path to the Linear Path across Davis Square. Phase III will extend the path to Boston, while linking to the Minuteman Bikeway that runs from Cambridge to Bedford and also serving as the final link the 104-mile long Massachusetts Central Rail Trail from Boston to Northampton. The path would also connect with the Mystic Valley Active and Safe Transportation Network that will run along the Mystic and Malden Rivers and the Alewife Brook.

Funding for the Cedar-to-Lowell extension is provided by the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) match with funds from MassDOT, and an over $1M earmark secured by Congressman Capuano. Early donations from the Friends of the Community Path and their continued advocacy have been instrumental to the project breaking ground. The Maxwell’s Green development also contributed to the project by removing existing railroad tracks between Cedar Street and Lowell Street and regrading the area.


17 Responses to “Residents invited to groundbreaking ceremony for Community Path extension”

  1. Tom says:

    When will the city consider some much-needed maintenance on the section from Willow Ave. to Cedar Street? I have turned my ankle more than once on the uneven surface.

  2. Barry the Pig says:

    Nice. Now I have another 400 yards to run when unleashed dogs chase after me!

  3. mememe says:

    $2 million for 0.25 of a mile? But I thought we could not feed pregnant mothers, or supply education to those that need it?

    But we can drop $2,000,000 on 2k square feet of black top?

  4. mememe says:

    Also, this is a direct copy of the cities press release.

    Can you please add some reporting? Does anyone know if there is any information about the bidding process? Was it the (expected) closed bidding? I assume it is protected under the prevailing wage laws so it is in effect limited to union bids?

  5. A. Moore says:

    mememe says: Yes, 2 million and we just cut back on money to feed the homeless here of which has been rising here. Must be me.

  6. Gene Rodenberry says:

    Also correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Maxwell Green supposed to pay for this? With all the breaks we gave them its the least they could do.

  7. philb says:

    There is also drainage, access up to Lowell street, lighting, etc. But if we didn’t have all this union and prevailing wage stuff, it probably wouldn’t cost so much. In any case, the community path extension is a positive thing overall which improves the quality of life for everyone.

  8. mememe says:

    @Philb: You must not have walked down that section of the bike path 3 days after a rain storm if you think they are going to do drainage (correctly).

    As for that ‘improves the quality of life for everyone’ ridiculousness. If you look at it in a vacuum, ya its great. But that money comes from somewhere. You are talking property taxes from people that never use that area, then spending it on the very well off that live in the area. Moreover, you need to consider the opportunity cost of where that tax money could have been spent.

    If you look at it as taking $2million from the kids in the Mystic Projects that could have used that for a tutor, and instead giving it to unions that held placards for the mayor or got O’Keefe instill without a vote, it does not look so great.

  9. Laura says:

    Read the bottom of the article…it says where the money came from. This is part of the big dig debacle lawsuit and has nothing to do with the mayor or the alderman.

  10. paul says:

    mememe, Discussions of drainage is kind of heresay to anyone who has not reviewed the plans. Note that the part of the path you referred to was built 18 years ago, presumably they will do better.

    By your rationale, no parks in any part of the city would ever be built. Or there would be a toll everytime you enter a park.

    Kids in Mystic projects getting tutors, could be worthwhile, though that sounds like a pretty narrow interest group in your world view. Pitting that against the community path seems pretty like a petty debate trick.

    Honestly can’t see why having one dedicated path for bikes would make people angry, it seems like a bare minimum for environmental sustainability.

  11. Lucas Rogers says:

    Some of the expense went to making the path ADA accessible, which I think is a good thing. And isn’t it good for kids to have parks to go to?

    Parks last decades or centuries, and are open to everyone, which I think makes the upfront investment entirely worth it.

  12. Josh says:

    Paul, I think you misspeak when you say that the path is a ‘dedicated path for bikes’. It is not. It is for pedestrians as well. If it were dedicated to bikes perhaps we could get them off our streets.

  13. A. Moore says:

    Some people are angry over this stuff as we are a country in deep debt and spending money we don’t have. We are using borrowed money and not building on our own money. These projects should be done with extra money or donated money. We have a problem in this country that needs to be worked on as we are getting deeper and deeper in debt. If we start from the bottom up maybe we have a chance to bail out of it and not add to the problem. I don’t want to leave the generations behind this with this problem that is out of control. The debt is piling up faster than we can count it, never mind paying it. There is not one country that has been ever able to pay it’s way out of debt. Anyway, right or wrong that is my opinion on the money part.

  14. Harry says:

    All I have to say is that we have an invasion of yuppies from the Bay Area! That is why this BS is going on… There, I said it. They still think they are in California and probably never experienced a real winter in their entire life!

  15. Atlee Elmont says:

    What does a Yuppie look like?

  16. Atlee Elmont says:

    I’m still waiting for an answer from Harry. Do you have facts and figures to support your assertion of this “Yuppie Invasion” you speak of? How do you know they are from the Bay Area?

    Inquiring minds want to know,Harry.

  17. Harry says:

    Atlee, I bet YOU are from the Bay Area too, since you act so superior to the rest of us. Three of my neighbors sold their places over the last year. All of them to PC liberal California expats. And the first thing they did to me, even before saying hello, was to tell me to take down my pro NRA signs outside my house because it would be inappropriate for their kids!!!!

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