Belmont - Cambridge - Somerville Path

Linear Path

This project aims to improve multi-use path connections between the communities and to transit by creating and improving elements of the existing paths and by creating new segments from the Belmont town line, through the Alewife area and connecting to Linear Park into Somerville. The design for this project is complete and construction has begun by the MassDOT. First phases of construction are adjacent to the Alewife Reservation, behind the Alewife MBTA Station. Construction is complete at Cedar Street and Massachusetts Avenue to complete the new crossing of Linear Park.

About Alewife Linear Park / Somerville Community Path

Alewife Linear Park is a beautiful paved trail stretching 2 miles east from the Alewife T-station in Cambridge to Cedar Street in Somerville. The park came about in 1985 after the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (the "T") built the Red Line extension underground. (Between the Alewife and Davis T-stations, the subway runs directly beneath the trail.) The trail's urban/suburban locale and its direct link to the 11-mile Minuteman Bikeway makes this a busy commuter and recreation corridor. While dogs are not permitted on the trail, local residents often break this rule. The west end of the trail starts at Russell Field, an attractive park with a football gridiron and field house, baseball diamonds, water fountains, and a loop cycling path. A few blocks beyond the park, the path crosses Massachusetts Avenue. A tree-lined brick path leads directly to the Davis T-station. From here east the trail is referred to as the Somerville Community Path. Continuing past the station, the path continues for another mile to Cedar Street. Along the way you'll pass a couple of parks, including one with a playground. East of Cedar Street the trail is slated to continue another 0.25 mile. Additional plans call for the trail to be extended to Cambridge and Boston as part of the Green Line extension (light rail) of the MBTA.

Highlights of the Improvements

  • Formalizing the trodden path that exists between Brighton Street in Belmont and the Alewife garage (adjacent to the Alewife Reservation);
  • Widening the sidewalk/path along the Route 2 side of the Alewife garage with a cantilever over the bank of Yates Pond, and installation of a rapid flash pedestrian signal as the path crosses this access road;
  • New paving to delineate a multi-use path in the area of the Alewife station headhouse near Russell Field;
  • Improving the safety of Linear Path users by creating a direct, signalized and fully accessible crossing of Massachusetts Avenue;
  • Creating improved connections for cyclists through Davis Square in Somerville from Linear Park to the Somerville Community Path.

Click here to view a Map of the Cambridge Elements of the Belmont, Cambridge and Somerville Path Project.

Project History

Design on the project began in 2000. MassHighway held a public hearing on May 13, 2004 regarding the 25% conceptual design of the project, with the exception of the Linear Park/Massachusetts Avenue crossing component. A conceptual design for a direct crossing of Massachusetts Avenue at Linear Park was completed in 2006. This design was the result of comments heard at the hearing in 2004, looking for the safer and more direct crossing of Mass. Avenue. The design concept for the crossing was presented and discussed at a meeting of the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee in late 2004. A public hearing was held on June 28, 2006 to review the project plan and hear community comments. Tree removals were approved in January, 2009.

Linear Park - Massachusetts Avenue Crossing Plan

Linear Park is a heavily used multi-use path and park that runs between Alewife Station in Cambridge and Davis Square in Somerville. Currently, the park crosses Massachusetts Avenue at Cedar Street, but no signalized or accessible crossing exists at that location for pedestrian and cyclists. To cross at a signalized location, path users must detour to the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue with Cameron Avenue and Harvey Street.

The plan includes re-aligning the intersection of Cedar Street and Massachusetts Avenue so Cedar Street meets Massachusetts Avenue at a right angle. An adjacent landscaped area will be relocated to the opposite side of Cedar Street and new trees planted. Crosswalks of Cedar Street and Massachusetts Avenue will be located at this new intersection and will allow path users to cross during each cycle of the traffic signal without having to push a pedestrian button.

For more information

For more information contact Tegin Teich Bennett at tbennett@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4615.