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Cambridge and state buy land for cycling, recreation greenway

Posted by Brock Parker  June 4, 2013 04:50 PM

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The state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the City of Cambridge announced Tuesday the purchase of land that will be used for a major link for the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway. Map courtesy of DCR.

The state and the City of Cambridge Tuesday announced the purchase of land that will be used to create the final link in the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway for cyclists and recreation.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation purchased 4.2 acres of land between Grove Street in Watertown and Huron Avenue in Cambridge from B&M Rail Road for $1.3 million. State funds and about $470,000 of federal funds for green transportation were used to buy the land.

The City of Cambridge also used $200,000 in community preservation funds to purchase land along a former railroad corridor from the B&M Rail Road in May and is reserving a 14-foot wide trail easement for the greenway, according to city and state officials.

“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 Ed Lambert the commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, in a press release announcing the sale Tuesday.

The Watertown-Cambridge Greenway is intended to provide an alternative route for cyclists and commuters using sustainable modes of transportation between Arlington, Cambridge and Boston, according to the state. A one-mile segment of the greenway was completed and opened in 2011 connecting the Watertown Mall and surrounding businesses to residential areas of Watertown and Domenick Filippello Park, according to the state.

The next phase of the greenway project will use the two new land acquisitions towards linking the Charles River corridor to the Fresh Pond Reservation, Fresh Pond Shopping Center, as well as the recently completed Alewife Greenway, Alewife MBTA Station and the Minuteman Bike Path and the Mystic River Reservation.

“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 Rossi, the deputy city manager of Cambridge in a statement Tuesday.

The project is also intended to improve air quality by reducing the number of motorists traveling from the western suburbs to the Greater Boston area, and provide a passive recreation corridor for walkers and joggers, according to the state.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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