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cambridge-watertown-bike-phase-2-december-2018Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver today joined Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy, elected officials, local leaders, and transportation advocates at an event in Cambridge highlighting the start of construction on Phase 2 of the Cambridge – Watertown Greenway.

Through this collaborative project between MassDOT, DCR, and the communities of Watertown and Cambridge, crews will construct a 1.25 mile shared-use paved pathway that will connect the existing Phase 1 of the Cambridge – Watertown Greenway with the Fresh Pond Parkway path system. This new 16-foot wide section of the greenway will provide a safe off-road route for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people using other active forms of transportation.

It will also serve as a linear park with abundant native plantings and habitat enhancements. Once completed, the greenway will allow users to travel between an extensive network of existing shared use paths and trails along the Charles River as well as the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and Alewife Brook Greenway.

“This phase of the Cambridge – Watertown Greenway Project is an important milestone,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “By building this 1.25 mile connection, the public will find it easier to navigate between the existing path system and all the important destinations adjacent to the corridor, including shopping centers, the hospital, schools and nearby parks. This project demonstrates the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to constructing new trails to help improve access to our scenic environment, reduce congestion and carbon emissions, and increase options for healthy recreational activities.”

“This new section of the Cambridge – Watertown Greenway is being built thanks to many different stakeholders coming together and working collaboratively to provide multimodal accommodations for residents and commuters throughout these local communities,” said Highway Administrator Gulliver. “We are proud to be beginning work activities and providing this new multimodal travel option, and we appreciate the hard work of the staff members, designers, planners, and advocates who have helped us reach this milestone.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to providing residents across the state with ample opportunities to explore and enjoy the Commonwealth’s natural resources,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Cambridge – Watertown Greenway, and its shared-use foot paths and bridges, is yet another example of the positive work conducted by state and local partners to ensure increased public access throughout Massachusetts.”

This new section of the Cambridge – Watertown Greenway will follow the former B&M Railroad corridor that travels between Watertown and Cambridge. Construction is currently expected to be completed in spring of 2020, and work through this project will also include native plantings and drainage improvements, railroad tie removal, and landscaping activities.

“I’m thrilled to see this project move forward,” said State Senator Will Brownsberger. “It will offer great benefits for the community and provide a through-cycling route that will allow cyclists to commute more safely. I’m very grateful to all who have helped move this effort forward through many years.”

“This is an exciting moment for the Greenway,” said State Senator Pat Jehlen. “Advocates have worked for years in collaboration with the state and city officials to make this a reality. They should be proud of their work, as we continue to make alternative methods of getting to work and navigating our communities a priority for the region and the state.”

“This project is a major milestone in the creation of a multi-use path system serving the millions who live, work and play in the metro Boston area,” said State Representative Jonathan Hecht. “It is the result of years of hard work by community advocates and local and state officials. I thank them all.”

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has constructed or funded 150 miles of paved trails, adding to the current statewide inventory of 565 miles of paved trails. Over 30 miles of trails spanning over a dozen projects are currently expected to be completed across the Commonwealth in 2018.

In 2017, Governor Baker established an Interagency Trails Team which is led by the Governor’s office and is comprised of staff from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The purpose of the team is to help develop a unified vision for a trails network and translate that into strategic investments, policy innovation to facilitate the development of trails, and an enhanced relationship with municipal partners.

Recently, the Baker-Polito Administration also announced the MassTrails Program, an interagency initiative that will provide funding and resources to municipal and public entities in order to expand and connect networks of off-road, shared-use pathways and recreational trails for all users across Massachusetts.

The MassTrails Program will provide a total of approximately $5 million in matching grants through the first round of funding in Fiscal Year 2020 and will also offer technical assistance and resources to individuals, municipalities, non-profits, and other public entities to design, construct, and maintain high-quality Massachusetts trails. The grant application for the MassTrails Program is now available and more information can now be found on the new public website: https://www.mass.gov/welcome-to-masstrails.

MassDOT’s 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP) sets aside $160 million for multi-use pathways as well as $60 million for high-priority projects through the statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Plans that are currently being completed. Other efforts to strengthen multimodal transportation include the Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, which has awarded over $23 million to municipalities throughout the Commonwealth to build pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.

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