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Runners and a bicyclist using Linear Park on a sunny day

Linear Park Redesign

Linear Park, located in North Cambridge between Alewife Station and the Cambridge-Somerville city line, is a popular open space corridor for commuting and recreation. The park and pathway were completed in 1985 as part of the Red Line Extension project by the MBTA, and much of the length of the park is located over the Red Line Tunnel between Davis Square in Somerville and Alewife Station.

Given its age and condition, the City of Cambridge is undertaking the redesign and reconstruction of Linear Park between the Russell Field Fieldhouse and the Cambridge-Somerville city line, just north of Mass Ave. The goal of the project is to create a cohesive open space corridor that provides increased access for the community and improved opportunities for passive recreation and leisure, play, enjoyment of the landscape, and a reliable transportation corridor for commuters and recreational park users.

The existing paved path surface has deteriorated since it opened roughly 35 years ago. Additionally, the path redesign project intends to: 

  • rehabilitate the landscape through new plantings and trees

  • address drainage issues

  • replace older light poles

  • widen the path where possible – the current width is not operating at an acceptable level of service for path users on busy days

  • address known areas of bicycle and pedestrian conflicts

  • integrate art and placemaking into the park redesign 

  • enhance the park’s role as both a connection and a destination for people of all ages 

Public engagement activities are underway. See below for a list of upcoming public engagement events.

We would like to hear from you about your ideas for the site. Use the button below to submit your thoughts about the Linear Park design project.

Tell us your thoughts


The Latest

May 2024 Update

As a follow up to requests to have more information on why the City is proposing a slight widening to 14' along Linear Park, we summarized research from three publications by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). To view the short slide deck, please use this link. Widening to 14' in locations where we have sufficient space will reduce conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists, improve the path user experience, and make it more comfortable for pedestrians to walk along the path.

October 2023 Update

As we've been able to verify information in the field and further develop the linear park designs, here a few things of note you'll see in the updated path design plan. To view a PDF of the updated design plans, please use this link.

  • This plan shows just the paved portions of the path. We're working on developing updated plans showing all elements of the project including plantings, new lighting, seating, trash & recycling, and wayfinding. These will be shared with the public when complete. 
  • This design update shows a more detailed look at the path width and where the path can be slightly widened based on existing tree locations. 
  • The plan shows anticipated removals of 5 unhealthy cherry trees. (The plan does not show the anticipated 100+ new trees.)

Past Meetings

City Council Neighborhood and Long-term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee - November 15, 2023

  • To view a PDF of the meeting presentation, please use this link
  • This presentation discussed ley themes from public engagement, how we used public input to craft the vision for the project, the ways we used that vision to create design plans, and how we are ensuring the continued protection of trees

Committee on Public Planting - October 11, 2023

  • To view a PDF of the meeting presentation materials in a PDF, please use this link.
  • This CPP meeting reviewed many of the items presented at the June public meeting and reviewed the October 2023 updated draft design plans.

Advanced Design Public Meeting #3 - June 8, 2023

Conceptual Design Public Meeting #2 - November 16, 2022

Introductory Public Presentation #1 - June 7, 2022

Past Events

  • On Thursday, June 22, 2023, staff from the Community Development Department and staff from Neighborways Design hosted a tabling event on Linear Park to review the advanced design plans and answer questions. We had a great turnout!
  • On Thursday, June 23, 2022, staff from the Community Development Department attended a community open house event at 362 Rindge Ave. We handed out maps of the project area and discussed the two path projects with residents.
  • On Saturday, June 18, 2022, the City hosted a Paint the Path party at the Linear Park crossing at Harvey Street. The family-friendly event included opportunities to share your ideas for the path redesign.  
  • On Saturday, June 4, 2022, approximately 25 people joined us for the second community site walk exploring both project sites. Members of the Community Engagement Team joined us to promote public engagement among folks who speak Spanish, Bangal, Haitian-Creole, and Amharic.
  • On May 5, 2022, approximately 50 members of the community attended the first project site walks.
  • On December 15, 2021, staff from the Community Development Department attended a community open house event at 362 Rindge Ave. We handed out maps of the project area and engaged area residents.
  • November 2021 – HDR and Halvorson retained as consultants to aid in the planning and design of the path.

Path Location Map

The path project is taking place between the southwest corner of Russell Field and the Cambridge-Somerville municipal border near Cameron Ave. View this map to see the extents of the path design and construction project.

Project Vision

The Linear Park Redesign project will reimagine a beloved and highly used community park and pathway.

The outcomes of a redesigned Linear Park are:

  • to be an inclusive space and accommodating for all users
  • create an engaging community open space
  • strengthen and add neighborhood connections
  • be a resilient, and biodiverse landscape suited for a changing climate

To enhance the experience of path users and park visitors, we will:

  • include playful and creative features
  • add new seating for all to enjoy
  • widen and differentiate paths of travel, where possible

We encourage you to give us your feedback on the vision above.

What is a project vision?

A vision is a broad statement about the goals of a project. Project goals are general statements about what path users and neighbors hope to achieve with the completed multi-use path project.

How did we craft the vision?

We received hundreds of survey responses, comments at in-person events, and additional feedback during remote meetings. This feedback has helped shape the draft vision.

Stay in the Loop


For more information, please email project manager Charlie Creagh at Ccreagh@cambridgema.gov or Bill Deignan at Wdeignan@cambridgema.gov.
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