Posted by Catherine Cagle, MassDOT Manager of Sustainable Transportation
The MBTA is continuing its long and fruitful legacy of advancing the construction of shared-use paths with the announcement of two new leases that will turn abandoned railroad corridors into new paths. Just as the MBTA has done with many abandoned rail corridors, including the corridor that now hosts the popular Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, these two recent MBTA initiatives will promote shared-use path construction that will foster healthy transportation modes and provide new connections to transit, residential areas, schools, and employment centers.
The Somerville lease will facilitate the extension of the Mass Central BSG corridor. A 1.2-mile section of the former Somerville Freight right-of-way, between Lowell Street, Somerville and the Cambridge border, will be used exclusively by Somerville to build, maintain and operate a rail trail. Under a previously approved license with the MBTA, the City of Somerville has already developed the rail trail between the Cambridge border and Cedar Street. This action allows the trail to be extended to Lowell Street. Increasingly popular with residents, the rail trail provides a safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycling connection to the Davis Square Red Line station.
The Saugus Branch lease will speed the expansion of the North Shore BSG corridor. The MassDOT Board has approved a separate 99-year lease with Revere for an approximately one-mile section of the former Saugus Branch right-of-way, between the Malden and Saugus borders. This section of inactive railroad will become part of the 10 mile-long Northern Strand Community Trail (Bike to the Sea) which, when completed, will travel through five communities. Under the lease agreement, the City of Revere will assume the cost of scrapping the abandoned rail and disposing of the old railroad ties. As with other rail trail agreements, the lease includes a reversion clause should the property be needed for other future transportation purposes.
To date, the MBTA has entered into 27 similar agreements with cities and towns, leading to the creation of more than 100 miles of rail trails. This valuable program preserves right-of-ways for the Commonwealth’s future transportation needs, as well as providing environmental and recreational benefits.
The MBTA’s actions reinforce major MassDOT initiatives, the GreenDOT Policy and the Healthy Transportation Compact, and they directly support implementation of the 740-mile, seven-corridor Bay State Greenway (BSG) identified in the 2008 Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan.
New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Public Meeting Set posted on Jan 29
MassDOT is conducting a study of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Corridor, a bridge that spans New Bedford Harbor. The swing bridge connecting the communities of New Bedford and Fairhaven is functionally obsolete, constrains marine traffic, and its opening results in extensive vehicle delays. This study …Continue Reading New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Public Meeting Set
Winter Storm Update: Travel Ban Lifted, MBTA Open posted on Jan 28
The statewide travel ban has been lifted as of midnight. Motorists, especially those in the City of Boston and Eastern counties, are asked to use caution as MassDOT crews continue to plow and clear state roadways and ramps. Parking bans are still in effect in …Continue Reading Winter Storm Update: Travel Ban Lifted, MBTA Open
Winter Storm Update: Statewide Travel Ban, MBTA Closed Tuesday, January 27 posted on Jan 26
Governor Charlie Baker has signed an Executive Order allowing for the enforcement of a statewide travel ban effective at midnight, Monday, January 26. The following exceptions shall exist for the ban and all drivers are encouraged to remain safe and use their best judgment: …Continue Reading Winter Storm Update: Statewide Travel Ban, MBTA Closed Tuesday, January 27