GLX Community Path to Open on June 10
Posted on June 9, 2023
The City of Somerville and the MBTA are pleased to announce that the Green Line Extension (GLX) Community Path will open to the public on Saturday, June 10, 2023.
“The Green Line Extension Community Path offers a critical connection point between public transportation and the many wonderful pathways, bikeways, and other community spaces in Somerville and beyond,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We are excited to open the Community Path this weekend and grateful to the City of Somerville and the MBTA team for their collaboration to make this project a reality.”
“The completion of the GLX Community Path represents the culmination of so much hard work by the MBTA’s GLX team, the City of Somerville, and the many advocates who have rallied for this path extension,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “Thank you to the MBTA, the City, and the residents and activists for their diligence. I look forward to utilizing the Path, which is a vital connection to both GLX stations and our broader network of community paths.”
“The Community Path is of course a critical part of the region’s transportation system, but in Somerville, it’s also a unique part of our social fabric and the open space network we envisioned for all to enjoy and use,” said Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “I am grateful to the many incredible, determined Somerville residents, activists, elected officials, and staff who labored to make this dream a reality. And I want to applaud our state partners and elected officials for hearing the calls to save the path and finding solutions. The Community Path is the product of so many hands, so today we celebrate both the path itself and the pathway that got us here."
“I have heard directly from so many constituents how important this path is. I’m proud that we are now able to open this accessible path to better serve our GLX riders and the neighboring community,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “The GLX Community Path runs right alongside GLX’s Medford Branch, providing local residents with this excellent recreational outdoor amenity and access to Green Line service. Thank you to the City of Somerville and the GLX project team for their commitment and dedication, and to the many community advocates for their strong support in making the path a reality.”
As a final connection from Bedford, MA, to the City of Cambridge and Downtown Boston, the GLX Community Path runs parallel to the GLX Medford Branch and has direct access to newly built Green Line stations at Magoun Square, Gilman Square, East Somerville, and Lechmere Stations. The GLX Community Path also makes connections to the 26 miles of bike paths along the Charles River.
The original Somerville Community Path was constructed in 1985 in the former Fitchburg Cutoff Rail Bed and ran approximately 1.3 miles from Massachusetts Avenue to Lowell Street via Davis Square. The Somerville Community Path connects with the Minuteman Trail, which was constructed in 1991 and runs 10 miles from Bedford Depot to the MBTA’s Alewife Station. Bus Routes 62 and 76 also run nearly parallel with the Minuteman Trail. The GLX Community Path extends these paths, connecting with the Somerville Community Path at Lowell Street. This network of 13.2 miles of multi-use path serve approximately 900,000 people from the communities of Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston.
During the first efforts to build GLX’s Union and Medford Branches in 2014, the cost of the GLX Community Path was estimated to be approximately $39 million. In 2015, the GLX Project faced significant cost challenges beyond available funding, and the proposed Community Path was removed from the project scope in 2016 following a funding revaluation. Following robust advocacy from area communities, a partial path to Washington Street in Somerville was added back to the GLX Project in May 2016. The following year, following the implementation of a Design-Build Method to move the GLX Project forward, an additive option was included to extend the path to the Cambridge Crossing Development, adjacent to the relocated Lechmere Station.