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.
Community Transit Grant Applications Show Significant Increase posted on Mar 5
The MassDOT Rail & Transit Division’s Community Transit Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2016 has received more than 90 applications, a 50% increase compared to last year. Applications were due on March 2. The Community Transit Grant Program provides financial assistance through the Federal Transit …Continue Reading Community Transit Grant Applications Show Significant Increase
Methuen Rotary I-93 Project Update posted on Mar 4
MassDOT’s $66.4 million Methuen Rotary Reconstruction Project on I-93 at Routes 110 and 113 is moving forward during winter 2015. During the month of March, the following activities will continue on I-93 at Routes 110 and 113: Removal of contaminated soil at mitigation area …Continue Reading Methuen Rotary I-93 Project Update
MassDOT Aeronautics: 2015 Aviation Art Contest Winners posted on Mar 3
The MassDOT Aeronautics Division held the Massachusetts State level judging of the 2015 International Aviation Art Contest, with this year’s theme, “World Air Games”. The World Air Games will be held in Dubai in 2015. During 12 days, spectators will see world class competitions and …Continue Reading MassDOT Aeronautics: 2015 Aviation Art Contest Winners