Major Greenways Link for Watertown-Cambridge Greenway Acquired
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the City of Cambridge are pleased to announce the acquisition of a key land parcel that will create the final link in the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway. The development of the newly acquired segments will complete DCR’s goal of a comprehensive network of off-road recreational corridors between greater Boston and its western suburbs.
“Once constructed, this link will add enormous recreational and green commuting opportunities in some of the most densely populated suburban and urban areas of Eastern Massachusetts,” said DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert. “DCR, on behalf of Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to providing a statewide system of greenways and trails that connect communities and promotes use of healthy and green trails.”
The Watertown-Cambridge Greenway is designed to provide an alternative route for cyclists and commuters utilizing sustainable modes of transportation that are traveling between the west and urban centers in Arlington, Cambridge and Boston. It also serves as a recreational greenway and passive park with abundant native plantings and wildlife. Phase 1, a one mile segment completed and opened to the public in 2011, connects the Watertown Mall and local businesses at the intersection of Arlington, Nichols and Coolidge Streets to residential areas of Watertown and Domenik Flippello Park, a popular recreational facility in Watertown. The new properties acquired on May 22 are critical leaps forward for Phase 2, which will link the Charles River corridor, Fresh Pond Reservation, Fresh Pond Shopping Center, Alewife Greenway and T station, the Minuteman Bike Path and the Mystic River Reservation.
"I'm thrilled to see DCR continuing to make steady progress in connecting its network of paths,” said Senator Will Brownsberger. “I deeply appreciate DCR's dogged pursuit of the long term vision of off-road thru-travel for cyclists and pedestrians."
The overall project serves to enhance the aesthetics of the area, improve air quality by reducing the number of motorists traveling from the western suburbs to the greater Boston area, provide a passive recreation corridor for walkers and joggers, and, when complete, provide a commuter corridor that meets all state and federal off-road pedestrian and bicyclist standards.
“With this acquisition, we are on the verge of realizing a vision pursued over the course of 20 years by many dedicated residents and several of my predecessors,” said Representative Jonathan Hecht. “This is a huge moment for cleaner, healthier transportation and a better quality of life in Watertown, Cambridge and surrounding communities.”
The recent acquisition from B&M Rail Road, is a $1.3 million investment in the Commonwealth’s greenways, purchased with $829,000 of DCR’s Land Acquisition funds and $470,000 of federal funds for green transportation The corridor is 4.2 acres located between Grove Street in Watertown and Huron Avenue in Cambridge.
“The City of Cambridge is pleased to work with the DCR to help develop this multi-use path which will provide a vital off-road transportation link that can be used by cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, as well as provide important open space in the region and this neighborhood of Cambridge,” said Richard C. Rossi, Deputy City Manager. “We look forward to its completion.”
In a separate but equally critical transaction, the City of Cambridge also acquired from B&M Rail Road, a section of former railroad corridor to the north, between Huron Avenue and Concord Avenue with Community Preservation Act funds. Cambridge reserved for DCR a 14-foot-wide trail easement over the 2,000 linear feet above Huron Ave. These two acquisitions have more than doubled the length of the original greenway; expanding the greenway from 4,600 feet to 10,200 feet in length, and connecting it with many more miles of trail.
Map of Watertown-Cambridge Greenway and recently acquired links