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Somerville

Path mired in Green Line delay

September 15, 2011

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With the Green Line Extension potentially pushed back until 2018 or 2020, the path forward is also unclear for Somerville’s Community Path. Advocates had been urging the state to treat the rail extension and the path as one project. That’s how it’s been done in other light-rail projects, according to Wig Zamore of the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, including one that recently opened in Salt Lake City. State officials refused. Blame the railroad layout: At Lowell Street, the Community Path route veers from one old, unused rail bed to the future Green Line corridor. From there to Brickbottom, the path and train are on top of each other about half the time. “Literally in some places the path rests on the retaining wall of the Green Line,’’ Zamore said. The exceptions are places like the high school, where the path might cut a little higher up the hill. That means it makes the most sense to build the two together, Zamore said. “They are welded at the hip at this point.’’ When the Community Path is done, people will be able to walk, bike, and push strollers from Bedford all the way to downtown Boston. The remaining Somerville segment “is the only piece that’s not funded and in design,’’ Zamore said. The Metropolitan Planning Organization meets next Thursday to vote on the proposed Green Line Extension delay. Learn more at somervillestep.org and pathfriends.org.

- Danielle Dreilinger