Grand Junction Multi-use Path

The Grand Junction Multi-use Path is a proposed off-street multi-use path running along side the existing railroad tracks in the Grand Junction corridor from Boston University Bridge to Somerville. The city's objective is to design, in as much of the corridor as possible, a 14-foot wide path with 2-foot wide buffers on both sides. The Grand Junction Multi-use Path will provide a continuous off-street path for for residents, schoolchildren, workers and visitors to stroll, jog, or bike. This path will connect many neighborhoods with each other, MIT, business districts, and regional resources like the Charles River. Within a half-mile of the Grand Junction corridor are 42% of Cambridge's jobs (49,000) and 31% of residents (33,000). The City's intent is to provide an important regional off-street path connection to the Somerville Community Path being constructed as part of the Green line Extension and to pathways proposed in the Allston I-90 Interchange project. The city also believes that the path can be constructed while maintaining the minimal rail operations today and accommodating potential future use of the corridor for passenger rail service. 

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March 2021

The City hosted a Grand Junction Multi-use Path Design Working Group Meeting with remote participation on Zoom on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The City and project team invite the public to view the meeting presentation

January 2021

Virtual Open House Archived – Thank you for your comments

The City has closed the comment tools on the Grand Junction Multi-Use Path design virtual open house website as of Monday, January 4, 2021. We have left the materials on the virtual open house website available at the following URL: The project team will begin processing your comments to update our multi-use path designs.

In the coming months, the project team will share information on the next opportunity to learn about the Grand Junction Multi-use Path project including updated and near-final path designs. Click here to sign-up to receive future e-mail updates.

If you have questions or comments, send an e-mail to Andrew Reker at

Diagram showing simplified project timeline for Grand Junction project. Includes, working Group meetings, community meetings, design development, and dates for potential construction.


The Grand Junction was one of the first north-south rail links in the Boston metropolitan area. Opened in 1855 by the Grand Junction & Depot Company, the line followed a serpentine alignment weaving through the newly industrialized areas of Cambridgeport, East Cambridge, Charlestown, Everett, and Chelsea, and ending at the piers of East Boston. The closing of industrial and manufacturing uses along the corridor in the twentieth century reduced the importance of the line for freight. Presently, two to four trains a day run on the Grand Junction through Cambridge, as this corridor remains the only north-south rail connection east of Framingham and Worcester.

Path Planning

The Metropolitan District Commission (now the Department of Conservation and Recreation) 1997 Charles River Basin Master Plan recommended that the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge, a double-barreled crossing with active tracks on one side and an abandoned roadbed on the other, be used to connect bicycle/pedestrian paths on both sides of the river.

The use of the Grand Junction corridor itself as a multi-use path was first formally envisioned by the 2000 Cambridge Green Ribbon Open Space Committee in its study of possible new parks and open space in the city, and was identified as a top priority. The 2001 Eastern Cambridge Planning Study (ECAPS) also recommended the creation of the path along the Grand Junction corridor as an infrastructure project to enhance non-auto mobility. In August 2001, the Cambridge Bicycle Committee completed a concept proposal for the path. In October 2006, the city completed a feasibility study of the corridor. As part of MIT’s Commitment Letter to the City related to Kendall Square PUD-5 re-zoning in 2013, MIT committed to conduct a more detailed feasibility analysis of the proposed path through MIT property between Main Street and Memorial Drive. In 2015, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) awarded a Forward Fund grant to study connections across the proposed path alignment as well as the future regional connections.

Rail Planning

In 2010, MassDOT proposed introducing commuter rail service from Worcester to North Station with about 20 trains per day along the corridor, a project that was cancelled after further analysis. Additionally, the 2013 MassDOT Healthy Transportation Policy Directive clarified the state’s willingness to accommodate shared-use paths along railroad rights-of-way. 

MassDOT’s 2014 Capital Investment Plan introduced the idea of using European-style Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains on the Grand Junction corridor, providing urban rail service from a proposed new “West Station” at Beacon Yards near the Allston-Brighton I-90 interchange to North Station with a stop in Cambridge near Kendall Square. The concept of DMUs was not advanced from this point. 

In 2016, as part of the Kendall Square Mobility Task Force, a technical analysis and workshop was carried out to discuss an updated vision for future transit on the corridor.

Path Commitments and Construction

As part of MIT’s Commitment Letter to the City related to Kendall Square PUD-5 re-zoning in 2013, MIT also agreed to provide $500,000 in construction funds to the CRA for the construction of the Grand Junction Park, which included the first segment of the Grand Junction multi-use path between Binney Street and Main Street. The CRA committed a similar amount of funding, and the park and first path segment were completed in 2016.

Connectivity to the Grand Junction Path and its role as a connector in the public space network was also an important element of the Eastern Cambridge Kendall Square Open Space Planning Competition in 2015. This competition guided the design of Binney Street Park, which is expected to be constructed in 2018 and will include the second segment of the multi-use path. This park is being built with money obtained from mitigation for Boston Property’s Google Connector on land contributed by the CRA.

In 2016, the City committed $10 million for the design and construction of the multi-use path north of Binney Park to the city line with Somerville. As part of MIT’s Commitment Letter to the City related to the Volpe re-zoning in 2017, MIT committed $8.5 million and the land for the multi-use path on the MIT-owned portion of the right-of-way. With these commitments, there is only one MassDOT owned segment surrounded by MIT property that is not funded for construction.

The City has been engaged in carrying out a survey and has gotten a design contract underway for the entire Grand Junction multi-use path in Cambridge in 2018, but the successful design and construction of the path is still contingent on MassDOT’s agreement to a rail-with-trail concept.

Supporting Research

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, over time, people who live near bicycle and walking paths become more active than those who do not.

Working Group Meeting 6 - March 4, 2021

Virtual Open House - December 2020 to January 2021

Working Group Meeting 5 - August 6, 2020

Working Group Meeting 4 - December 3, 2019

Working Group Meeting 3 - October 1, 2019

Site Visit Worksheet

  • Worksheet to note conditions during site visits to specific locations on the Grand Junction corridor

Working Group Meeting 2 - July 22, 2019

Community Meeting 1 - June 12, 2019

Working Group Meeting 1 - April 30, 2019

Historical documents

The City has posted previous studies that inform the way that the Grand Junction Multiuse Path will be planned for, designed, and constructed. Documents are listed below from most to least recent.


January 4 The project team closed the comment tools on the Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design virtual open house. The virtual open house website remained available to view as an archive.


December 8 The project team hosted a question & answer public information session

December 4 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design virtual open house launched.

August 6 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design Working Group Meeting #5 with remote participation on Zoom

February 2020 The City and project team continue to work on updating intersection designs for this project


December 3 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design Working Group Meeting #4

October 1 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design Working Group Meeting #3

August Public observation activity

July 22 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design Working Group Meeting #2

June 4 First community meeting

April 30 Grand Junction Multiuse Path Design Working Group Meeting #1

April City of Cambridge appointed a working group for this project

Members of the Working Group

Joseph Aiello; Jason Alves; Rebecca Bowie; Christopher Cassa; Nicholas Dard; Tom Evans; Amy Flax; Kathryn Lachelt Brown; Tony Lechuga; Caroline Lowenthal; Michelle Lower; Bill McAvinney; Sarabrent McCoy; Miguel Perez-Luna; Brad Pillen; Diana Prideaux-Brune; Robert Ricchi; Jose Luis Rojas; Dalila Salcedo; John Sanzone; Katrina Sousa; Florence Toussaint


Late 2018 City entered into a contract with a consultant team led by Kleinfelder for the full design of the Grand Junction multi-use path and conceptual transit design so that the path design does not preclude two track passenger transit on the Grand Junction right-of-way at some point in the future.

Before 2018

In 2016, the first segment of the path was constructed as part of the Grand Junction Park, funded by MIT and Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA). The second segment is being designed as part of the Binney Street Park and is expected to be constructed in 2018. The City allocated $10 million in funding to design and construct the northern portion of the path to the Somerville line. In 2017, MIT also committed another $8.5 million and the land to design and construct the path on MIT-owned portions of the rail right-of-way.

For more information, please contact Andrew Reker at 617/349-6959 or