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Design of a Pedestrian & Bicycle Crossing of the Fitchburg MBTA Commuter Rail Line in North Cambridge

Photo taken from Sherman Street looking west at the MBTA Fitchburg Commuter Rail train tracks in North Cambridge

The Latest

April 2024 Update - The Final Feasibility Study Report

Please use the links below to view the final report studying the feasibility of building a pedestrian and bicycle crossing of the MBTA Fitchburg rail line. The report includes graphics showing conceptual drawings of overpass (bridge) and underpass (tunnel) options studied in 2023. The report explains the engineering and property constraints in the area and recommends a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to create a safe off-road connection between Rindge Avenue and Danehy Park. The report and appendices include conceptual sketches and opportunities and constraints associated with each of the over and under options studied.

Federal Design Funds Grant Award

The City of Cambridge is pleased to announce that the United States Department of Transportation has awarded the City a $2.4 million Reconnecting Communities & Neighborhoods (RCN) grant to design a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Fitchburg MBTA Commuter Rail tracks in North Cambridge. These funds will be combined with existing $600,000 of ARPA dollars to fund the design.

Over the next several months the City will work to secure the grant award and continue the public engagement process that began during the feasibility study in 2023 to understand community desires to help shape this connection between the Rindge Avenue neighborhood and Danehy Park. The City worked with the design team to study the feasibility of different options for creating a safe and grade-separated crossing of the tracks on City-owned property and easements. The feasibility study reviewed three separate underpass options and three separate overpass options. The study concluded that an overpass was the preferred option given the many space constraints and safety concerns associated with the underpass options. We are planning to use the grant award to advance the design of a pedestrian & bicycle bridge crossing in this area.

The RCN Grant Program

The Reconnecting Communities & Neighborhoods (RCN) grant program has awarded $3.3 billion to communities in this grant cycle to plan or construct transportation projects that improve access to daily needs, foster equitable development, reconnect communities by removing or retrofitting transportation facilities that create barriers to community connectivity, and that prioritize disadvantaged communities. The grant award is for design funds. The City will seek construction funding in the future. 

Project Background and Study Area

The study area is bounded by Alewife Brook Parkway, Rindge Avenue, Sherman Street, and the Danehy Park / Fresh Pond Mall area. The southern part of study area boundary also includes the former Watertown Branch rail parcel, which will become the Danehy-New Street Connector multi-use path. In 2022 when the Community Development Department began the Danehy-New Street Connector Path design project, City Council requested that we include funding for analysis to understand if the newly acquired city owned land offered new opportunities to create a crossing. The two links below include a study area map and a link to the Danehy-New Street Connector path web page.

Adjacent to our study area, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority has recently begun the Rindge Connectivity project. This project aims to improve the open space and connections at 362, 364, and 402 Rindge Avenue, as well as connections to essential community resources like nearby shopping areas and parks. To learn more about the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority project, please visit: https://www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/rindgeconnectivity.

Public Meeting #2 Recording and Presentation Materials

Thanks to those who joined us Thursday, September 14, 2023 to hear updates and learn about our plan to pursue design funding for the bridge crossing option. Please see below for related presentation materials.

Public Meeting #1 Recording and Presentation Materials

Thanks to those who joined us Wednesday, June 21, 2023 to hear about the study and see the different graphics and understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the different underpass and overpass options developed as part of this feasibility study. Please see below for related presentation materials.

Sign up for Email Alerts

Please use this link to sign up for email alerts to stay updated about the planning study and receive invites to future events.


Please contact Charlie Creagh or Bill Deignan with any questions or comments.

Charlie Creagh | 617-349-9167 | ccreagh@cambridgema.gov

Bill Deignan | 617-349-4632 | wdeignan@cambridgema.gov

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