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northampton-bike-underpass-open-june-2018Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack today joined Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, MassDOT staff, local leaders, and members of the public to celebrate the opening of a new bicycle/pedestrian underpass beneath the existing railroad line in Northampton.

This new $4.4 million underpass in the area of Woodmont Road and King Street connects the Mass Central Rail Trail – on the east side of the railroad tracks – with the Northampton Bike Trail on the west side of the railroad tracks. The opening of this new underpass means that cyclists, pedestrians, and multimodal users can now travel underneath the railroad rather than utilizing a lengthy detour route.

“We are pleased that this bicycle/pedestrian underpass is open so that people who are using active forms of transportation, such as biking, walking, or running, are able to safely travel underneath this railroad and more easily and efficiently reach the places they need to go,” said Secretary Pollack. “By making these types of multimodal investments and increasing connectivity within trail networks, we can enable people throughout local communities to utilize their preferred mode of travel, enjoy more of the Commonwealth’s scenic beauty, and help improve their quality of life.”

Construction activities began in 2016 and this project was managed by the MBTA. The primary goals of this project were to encourage safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and travelers throughout the region, ensure effective rail travel, and better connect local multimodal trails.

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 development of trails, and an enhanced relationship with municipal partners.

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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