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Massport and city officials agree on East Boston Greenway extension

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  August 18, 2011 04:24 PM

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GREENWAY CONCEPTS PLAN_4-7-2011.jpg

(Boston Natural Areas Network/Schneider Studio)

This image provided by architect Gretchen Schneider shows two possible routes (in thick, orange dotted lines) to extend the East Boston Greenway. Massport and city officials negotiating the plan have tentatively agreed on the northern route, passing between the Blue Line MBTA tracks and the proposed bus depot.

Representatives of the Massachusetts Port Authority have reached a tentative agreement with city officials to extend the East Boston Greenway across Logan International Airport property toward Constitution Beach.

A Massport spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the parties had reached a “broad-brush understanding” on the proposed path extension, of about a half mile in length. He said that while the plan wouldn’t be final until approved by a vote of the authority’s board later this year, a Massport representative had agreed with the city on “general parameters.”

“The final details haven’t been worked out, but I think there’s a general understanding of the pathway going from the northern end of Bremen Street Park along the Blue Line tracks to the northern edge of Logan’s property,” said Matthew Brelis, director of media relations for the agency.

James W. Hunt III, the city's chief of environmental and energy services, said that from there, the route would likely continue along an unused Massachusetts Water Resources Authority right-of-way to Constitution Beach. Now, Hunt said, Massport, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and other agencies will move quickly into a public process to design the path’s exact route and dimensions.

“We think we can do the design quickly. This fall,” Hunt said. “That’s our desire. That’s Mayor Menino’s desire, to expedite the design.”

The completed design and subsequent construction of the route would conclude a long, hard-fought effort by the community to connect the neighborhood across its full length with a safe, green biking and walking path. The effort began in the 1990s and picked up steam earlier this year when Massport came before the Boston Conservation Commission seeking approval on plans to build a new, more environmentally friendly bus depot at the northern edge of Logan International Airport.

With dozens of neighborhood residents calling on the commission to halt the planned construction unless it also included a path northwest to Constitution Beach, commissioners told Massport to work with residents toward a solution. Last spring, city and state elected officials backing the residents began talks with Massport that led to the recent agreement.

Hunt said efforts to complete the path had the full support of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and that he and other high-ranking city officials had “extensive discussions to work out a consensus alignment” for the path that would provide the access desired by residents while also ensuring security could be maintained at Logan Airport.

“This project continues to be a top priority for the city in connecting the Bremen Street Park and the East Boston Greenway to Wood Island Marsh and the Constitution Beach area so that we can fill in this missing link for the community,” Hunt said. “Mayor Menino and the elected delegation have continued to work with Massport to make the community’s vision of a continued greenway a reality.”

Previous coverage of East Boston Greenway negotiations:
Commission calls on Massport to work with East Boston residents
After a tense hearing, talks on greenway extension will continue
East Boston moves one step closer to a greenway connector
Progress seen on plan to extend East Boston Greenway
With consensus on East Boston greenway path, commission calls for public participation

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.

depot site.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

The consensus route would pass between the MBTA Blue Line tracks and this parking lot, planned site of a new Massport bus depot.

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