Somerville Community Path

Somerville Community Path

The Somerville Community Path is a project to build a mixed-use path in Somerville, Massachusetts, from the Cambridge border near Davis Square to the Cambridge border near Lechmere Square. Roughly 0.8 miles (1.3 km) of the path is finished and in use.] The two finished segments feature pavement interspersed with brick, and surrounded by grass, trees, pedestrian connections to nearby streets, and a community garden. The path is lit at night and plowed in the winter.

If completed, the project would connect the Minuteman Bikeway, Fitchburg Cutoff Path, and Cambridge Linear Park to the Charles River Bike Path and downtown Boston, Massachusetts. This would create connections for Bedford, Lexington, Concord, Arlington, Belmont, Somerville, and Cambridge to the proposed East Coast Greenway.


The "Alewife Linear Park" segment of the Somerville Community Path [As described on the sign at the Davis Square end] is a continuation of the Cambridge Linear Park, which runs from the Cambridge-Somerville border west to Alewife Station, the Fitchburg Cutoff Path, and the Minuteman Bikeway. The bicycle and pedestrian paths diverge slightly just before Seven Hills Park, [ [ City Of Somerville - Maps of the City ] ] to pass through Davis Square. Pedestrians have grade-level crosswalks, and bicyclists are routed via nearby streets or may walk their bikes. They join again at Grove Street] and continue to Cedar St (though there is an MBTA busway linking Grove Street to College Ave). [Another sign near Davis Square calls this the "College Ave to Cedar St Segment".]

Community activists hope to finish a 2.5 mile (4.0 km) extension of the Somerville Community Path by connecting this segment to the existing path in Lechmere Square in eastern Cambridge (at the North Point development.

The next segment to the east, from Cedar Street to Central Street, is in the design phase. This segment and the next portion, from Central Street to Lowell Street, currently consist of disused railroad tracks under a forest canopy.

The final segment, from Lowell Street to Lechmere/North Point, is proposed to be built in conjunction with the Somerville-Medford extension of the Green Line light rail. This will mainly run alongside the active Lowell Line commuter rail tracks, except for a disused railroad right-of-way near Lechmere. The path would parallel that route, while connecting with the new stations to be built along the way. [ Community Path Feasibility study, School St. To North Point Presentation, 2006] The Green Line extension was to be completed by the end of 2014 under an agreement to meet federal clean air requirements, [ Potential Green Line stops announced in Somerville, Medford] but the MBTA has indicated that the project might be delayed until 2016. [ Mayor sees chance in MBTA delay]

The Urban Ring project may result in a connecting "rail with trail" path along the Grand Junction Railroad right-of-way.


The Boston and Lowell Railroad was chartered in 1830 and started service in 1835. The main line is now the MBTA Lowell Line.

From Alewife on the Cambridge-Arlington border, to Lowell Street in Somerville, the Cambridge Linear Park and Somerville Community Path follow a railroad right-of-way that was laid out in 1870, known as the "Fitchburg Freight Cutoff", "Somerville Freight Cut-off", [ States/Boston, Massachusetts/MBTA Red Line ] ] or "Somerville Freight Spur", [ RAILROAD.NET :: View topic - Abandonment of Somerville Freight Spur (ex-Fitchburg Cutoff) ] ] or Davis Square Freight Cut-Off. [ [ City Of Somerville - Maxpak Planning ] ] (In the 1980s and 1990s, after the Red Line extension, there remained an active freight spur from the Lowell Line to the "MaxPak" site, where the last industrial user went out of business in 2002. [ [ RAILROAD.NET :: View topic - Abandonment of Somerville Freight Spur (ex-Fitchburg Cutoff) ] ] ) The Boston and Lowell built the connection from its main line (at Somerville Junction, at modern-day Lowell Street ["Somerville Junction Park" at the site of the former station, near the intersection of present-day Centre and Woodbine Streets, was dedicated on September 25, 2008.] ) to the Lexington and Arlington Railroad (now mostly converted to the Minuteman Bikeway), which the Boston and Lowell had just acquired. [cite book|last=Worden III|first=John L.|title=Arlington's Little Local Railroad|publisher=The Arlington Historical Society|date=1991|url=] There was also a connection to the Fitchburg Railroad main line, now the MBTA Fitchburg Line.

After various corporate acquisitions and the decline of railroad service in the United States, the public Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority acquired the rights of way in 1973.

The existing paths were created in 1985 by the MBTA, Cambridge, and Somerville, [According to the sign at the Somerville end of Linear Park] in conjunction with the extension of the MBTA Red Line from Harvard to Alewife. The Davis-to-Alewife segment of the Red Line was built using a cut-and-cover method. The surface landscaping for the path was added after subway tunnel construction was complete. Between Davis and Porter, the subway diverges from the surface street pattern, using a deep bore tunnel.


External links

* [ Friends of the Community Paths]
* [ Official page] from the City of Somerville

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Somerville, Massachusetts —   City   Davis Square, Somerville …   Wikipedia

  • Somerville, Massachusetts — Somerville Davis Square, Somerville Lage in Massachusetts …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Somerville (Massachusetts) — Somerville Davis Square, Somerville Lage in Massachusetts …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fitchburg Cutoff Path — The Fitchburg Cutoff Path is a short, unpaved multi use rail trail located in suburban Boston, Massachusetts. The 0.8 mile (1.2 km) path runs from Brighton Street in Belmont, Massachusetts to the Alewife station at the northern end of the MBTA… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River Bike Path — Charles River at night, with the Cambridge bike path on the left side of roadway. Length 23 miles (37 km) Location Boston, Massachusetts to Auburndale …   Wikipedia

  • Alewife Linear Park — The Linear Park is a mixed use path, about one mile long, running through Cambridge and Somerville (Massachusetts), and connecting the Minuteman Bikeway and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path near Alewife with the Somerville Community Path at Davis Square …   Wikipedia

  • Cambridge, Massachusetts — Not to be confused with Cambridge, United Kingdom. Cambridge, Massachusetts   City   Cambridge City Hall …   Wikipedia

  • Grand Junction Railroad and Depot Company — The Grand Junction Railroad is an 8.55 mile (13.76 km) long railroad in the Boston, Massachusetts area, connecting the railroads heading west and north from Boston. Most of it is still in use, carrying freight to the Chelsea Produce… …   Wikipedia

  • Minuteman Bikeway — The Minuteman Commuter Bikeway in Bedford, near Wiggins Avenue The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10 mile (16 kilometre)[1] paved multi use rail trail located in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts …   Wikipedia

  • Grand Junction Railroad — The Grand Junction Railroad was an 8.55 mile (13.76 km) long railroad in the Boston, Massachusetts area, connecting the railroads heading west and north from Boston. Most of it is still in use, carrying freight to the Chelsea Produce Market, and… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.