Expansion of shared-use paths is moving forward following MBTA Board approval this month of three 99-year leases with Saugus, Lynn and Methuen. The Lynn and Saugus leases are part of the larger Northern Strand Community Trail (aka Bike to the Sea Trail). When completed, the Northern Strand will extend 9.7 miles through five communities. The Northern Strand is also a key component of the North Shore corridor of the Bay State Greenway and included in the Bay State Greenway Priority 100, shared-use path segments that are MassDOT’s top trail priorities.
The Town of Saugus leased a 2.4-mile long section of the former Saugus Branch right of way extending between the Revere city line to the south and the Lynn city line to the north.
The City of Lynn leased a 1.8-mile long section on the same former Saugus Branch right of way extending between the Saugus town line and the end of the line in west Lynn.
The City of Methuen leased a 2-mile long section of the former Manchester and Lawrence Branch right of way to the New Hampshire state line, where the proposed trail will ultimately connect to the Granite State Rail Trail at the northern end and to a planned path in the City of Lawrence to the south.
MassDOT supports the construction of shared use paths, such as the Northern Strand, on abandoned railroad right-of-ways to provide healthy and sustainable transportation and support two MassDOT core livability initiatives:
- Healthy Transportation Compact, an inter-agency initiative that promotes public health and active transportation
- MassDOT’s GreenDOT Sustainability Policy, whose central goals include reducing GHG emissions and promoting healthy transportation.