MAPC, Somerville, and the Friends of the Community Path have been working together to study the benefits of completing the final two-mile segment of the Somerville Community Path, extending it from its current ending point at Cedar Street in Somerville to the Charles River Paths in Cambridge. Read more about the project and find our final report below.
The Community Path in Somerville and Cambridge is an off-street multi-use pathway that spans from the end of the MinuteMan Commuter Bikeway at Alewife Station in Cambridge to the North Point development in Cambridge. The Community Path, once completed, will be a 4-mile pathway connecting the MinuteMan Commuter Bikeway to the Dr. Paul Dudley White Pathway and effectively creating a continuous path network of about 48 miles. Currently, there is a 2 mile gap in the Community Path that is not yet constructed thereby severing regional connectivity.
The Community Path Extension, defined as the Community Path between Cedar Street in Somerville and North Point in Cambridge, represents the 2-mile segment that is not yet constructed. By completing this final section of the Path, significant benefits in air quality, economic development, public health, and reduced transportation costs will be realized. The Completed Community Path would provide added transportation options for low-income households and would provide connections to the future Green Line Extension.
Through the Sustainable Communities Grant, MAPC worked with the Friends of the Community Path group and the City of Somerville to develop a report detailing the potential benefits of completing the final 2 mile segment of the Community Path. This report provides quantifiable benefits related to transportation access, public health, economic development, environmental justice populations, increases in open space, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. MAPC also developed projections for how many users may access the Community Path daily and annually.
Why It’s Important
Constructing additional bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that is well connected to the rest of our region is critical to the success of MetroFuture and building a more sustainable MAPC region. These pathways, especially in urban areas, can provide alternatives to driving and bring active recreation opportunities within close proximity to densely populated neighborhoods. Creating additional walking and biking trips can help reduce congestion on local and regional roadways, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce instances of obesity and heart disease. This report and the accompanying methodology can be used on other pathways across the MAPC region to determine potential benefits.
The final data metrics report for the Community Path can be found here.
A map of the Community Path Extension and its connections can be found here.