[Cape Cod and the Islands]
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- Battle Road Trail/Minuteman NHP
- This multi-use 6-mile interpretative, stone-dust surfaced trail is part of the
Minute Man National Historical Park
in Lincoln and Concord. It provides cycling/walking access to the park's
spectacular historical and natural resource areas.
Free bike tours
are led by park rangers are offered every other Sunday afternoon (Jun-Oct).
This is for pedestrians, wheelchairs and bikes; if you
are trying to get somewhere fast, use either Route 2A,
or Virginia Road and Route 62.
- Bedford Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail
- This three-mile-long stone-dust right-of-way runs from the end of the
Minuteman Bikeway in Bedford to Billerica. This
bikeway is believed to be the only rail-trail in the country constructed
over a two-foot narrow-gauge railroad right-of-way. The route was built
in 1877 by the Billerica & Bedford Railroad, America's first two-foot
common-carrier railway. In 1885, the line was rebuilt into the
standard-gauge Lexington Branch. It was abandoned in 1962.
- Fitchburg Cutoff Bikepath
- This little-known rail-trail conversion runs for about a mile west from
the northwest corner of the Alewife MBTA station to Brighton St. near the
Cambridge-Belmont line. The surface is crushed stone, but it can be quite
rideable. A useful bypass to Concord Avenue in Cambridge and Lake Street in
Arlington, it is maintained by the Metropolitan District Commission as part
Brook Reservation. The Mass. Highway Department is planning to cover it
with an ADA-acceptable soft surface, and the MDC is thinking of building a
bridge to connect it to the Alewife MBTA station. The Town of Belmont is
looking at ways to connect their end to Belmont Center, possibly along
the unused third track right-of-way of the MBTA's Fitchburg line.
Lexington Bike Routes
- Fourteen bicycle routes, 82 miles total, provide convenient ways to travel
within Lexington. Most have one end at the town border on a road that
enters a neighboring town. Many have the other end at Lexington Center
the first shots of the American Revolutio were fired.
Others connect to middle schools.
Several use or connect with the Minuteman
Commuter Bikeway. Three connect with the
Minuteman National Historical Park.
Each of the routes has separate cue sheets for the ride in each
direction. Each cue sheet lists mileages, actions, and landmarks. These
rides make good use of existing bicycle paths, identified bicycle lanes,
and quiet residential streets.
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
- This MBTA-owned railroad right-of-way runs from the Alewife station
in Cambridge through Arlington and Lexington to Bedford. The first
hundred yards, from the northwest corner of the Alewife station, under
Route 2, and across a field to the original start of the bikeway is
being fixed up in 1998. At the Alewife end, the
bikeway connects to the previous two bikepaths. At the Bedford end, where
the Bedford Depot Park is being
built, it connects to an unpaved path to Billerica, the proposed
Bedford Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail. While it was
built by the state, maintenance and policing is by the towns of Arlington,
Lexington, and Bedford.
Menotomy Vintage Bicycles has
online maps of the original railroad.
This is the most popular rail trail conversion
in the country, according to the
More Minuteman information.
- The MDC has a system of bikepaths along the Mystic River in Medford and
Somerville. It could be connected to the Minuteman
Bikeway by a spur along parkland along Alewife Brook, to Boston Harbor
with an extension through Charlestown, and to points north.
- In 2001, the City of Somerville started working toward a
connection across O'Brien Highway (Route 28) on the Somerville side
in the Assembly Square area.
Paul Dudley White Charles River Bikepaths
- This 14-mile loop follows both banks of the Charles River from the
Museum of Science in Boston to Watertown Square, in--surprise!--Watertown.
The quality varies from 12 feet wide with center stripes to 4 feet wide
with 6-inch drops at the edges. In some places it is
barely wide enough for one bicycle to pass another safely; in others,
there are separate bicycle and pedestrian paths. Despite the
fact that Federal funds paid for the completion of this
bikepath, it remains a constant battle to preserve cyclists'
rights to use it in its entirety. The path can be entered at
any point on the Cambridge and Watertown sides, from all but the
Longfellow and B.U. bridges on the Boston side, and from the
footbridges over Storrow Drive. The Metropolitan District
Commission (MDC) (20 Somerset St., Boston, MA 02108) manages and
maintains this path.
- Gary Smiley has
photos of the bad condition of some of this path.
- Ric Bayly's C
River Recreation page has some information, including a
- The MDC intends to extend the path upstream through its
Upper Charles Reservation,
which runs from Watertown to South Natick.
An upstream extension to Bridge St. in Watertown on both
sides of the river was completed in 1997, and a further extension almost
to Moody St. on the south side of the river was completed by early 1998.
The Cambridge side of the path is plowed when it snows.
- Red Line Linear Park Bikepath
- When Red Line rapid transit was extended from Davis Square in Somerville
to Alewife Brook in Cambridge, it was covered with a surface-level linear
park. A wide, paved path runs through this long, narrow park, with only one
awkward street crossing at Massachusetts Avenue. There is bicycle access from
Cambridge and Somerville to the Alewife MBTA station, where connections can
be made to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and the
Fitchburg Cutoff Bikepath. The park was built by
the MBTA and is maintained by the cities of Cambridge and Somerville.
An 0.8-mile paved extension of this path from Davis Square to Cedar St.
in Somerville was opened in 1995.
- This greenway will be on MDC land along the Winthrop side of the Belle Isle
Inlet, eventually connecting the
East Boston Greenway to the ocean at Short Beach.
The greenway is currently a footpath, and paving is not planned, but it is
interesting due to its connections.
- Alewife Brook Bikepath (not on map)
- The MDC is now looking at building a bikepath along Alewife Brook, in
Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville, parallelling the Alewife Brook Parkway.
This would provide a connection between the
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Mystic River bikepath system, if that system is
extended, as planned, upstream past Medford Square. A study completed
in 1993 was released in April of 1997.
- A group of cyclists in Malden thought up this rail-with-trail
bikepath from the center of Malden through Everett to Revere
Beach . A preliminary feasibility study was undertaken in 1995.
There are possible connections to the north and to the
Mystic River bikepaths.
- The City of Everett has applied for design money for the first phase of the
Bike to the Sea path. This runs along a rail line that parallels the Malden
River. The private developer of the old Monsanto property has committed to
extend the path across that property. The developer has sought Bike to the
Sea's assistance in connecting a road and the path to Route 99 near the
Mystic Station Power plant at the Boston line. Even if the developer does
not come through on the underpass, the path can easily go under the Salem
MBTA line Mystic River bridge and connect to Route 99.
- Boston & Albany Rail-Trail
- The Cambridge Bicycle Committee has looked at a path along this infrequently
used railroad line (which is also the focus of the proposed Urban Ring). Its
bridge over the Charles into the Conrail freight yard would also make a desireable
bicycle and pedestrian river crossing. There is currently one unused track which
could be connected if the railroad would come around. This railroad line will not
be abandoned until a north-south rail link is built between North and South Stations
as it is by far the most direct connection between the main rail lines south and west
of Boston and those north of Boston.
- East Boston Greenway
- The Trust for Public Land has been working since 1994 with Boston Natural Areas
Fund and local advocates to help the city acquire an abandoned rail corridor in East
Boston for use as a greenway and bike trail. In 1997, Consolidated Rail Corporation
(Conrail) donated the 1.2-mile corridor to the TPL and the Boston Natural Areas Fund.
Construction on the first phase began in 1999, but there was a year delay due to
unforeseen drainage problems.
Paving was completed in 2001, and the trail will open in Spring of 2002. The routing
of Phase 2 has become uncertain due to airport security issues.
- Minuteman Commuter Bikeway Extension/Reformatory Branch
- The right-of-way used by the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
continues westward through Bedford and Concord to Acton.
The trail is dirt, and quite good as far as Concord. Trail maps are
available at the Bedford Depot store. Without a map it can be a
challenge to locate the entrances.
- Minuteman Commuter Bikeway Extension/Watertown Connector
- Cathy Lewis of the state's Central Transportation Planning Staff
is working with local governments and citizens to create formal
connecting routes and paths between the end of the Minuteman Commuter
Bikeway at Alewife Station in Cambridge and the Charles River
Mystic River Paths/Assembly Square/Amelia Earhart Dam
- The Somerville Office of Housing and Community
Development worked with the Massachusetts Highway
Department, the Metropolitan District Commission, and private
developers in the Assembly Square area to design a
bicycle and pedestrian connection along the Mystic River under
the Wellington Bridge. Running between the Somerville-side
Mystic River Reservation paths,
Assembly Square, and the existing Draw Seven Park Path, it would
reconnect Somerville's entire riverfront. In January 2002, this
path was stricken from the budget.
PDF plans are online.
- There has long been a desire to connect across the Mystic River,
at the Amelia Earhart Dam. The Bike-To-The-Sea trail will increase
the pressure to make this happen.
Somerville Community Path
- Extending the Minuteman to Boston is the goal of Friends of the
Community path. Along the way Somerville would gain a linear park,
safe route to school, access to three T stops, non-motorized access
to Boston, and much more.
>From the current end at Cedar street, the path would go along the
abandoned railroad right of way to Lowell
Street; then parallel the railroad tracks at street level (along the
embankment) to City Hall/Somerville High School; it would descend into
the railroad right of way before the McGrath Highway and continue to
Lechmere, separated from the Commuter Rail and future Green Line trains
by a fence and a safe distance. Other routes are also under consideration.
The official report is online in Acrobat format. The Friends of the Path
are urging the City of Somerville & the MBTA to move forward.
- This path through Woburn, Winchester, and Stoneham would connect the
Mystic River, the Middlesex Fells, and
Bike-To-The-Sea, as well
as much of the parkland in these three communities.
- Watertown Branch Rail Trail
- This not-yet-abandoned right-of-way runs from just behind the Fresh Pond
Cinemas in Cambridge, past Fresh Pond through Kingsley Park, under Huron
Ave and Mount Auburn St., past Mount Auburn Cemetery and on to Watertown
Square est of and roughly parallel to Arsenal St. Other than the difficult
crossing of Concord Ave., it could provide a traffic-free connection from
the Minuteman Bikeway and Danehy Park bikepaths to
the Charles River bikepaths in
Watertown Square. With some creativity, it might be possible to make a
connection near the Arsenal St. bridge as well. Acuisition from Alewife
to School St. is currently being studied by the Massachusetts EOTC. The
City of Watertown is considering the portion from School St. to Watertown
Square. Public meetings are being held to discuss
- Wayside Rail Trail
- First suggested as a trail in 1874 when the railroad went bankrupt
the first time, the wayside trail may yet come to pass.
The MBTA owns the Waltham to Hudson section of the unused Central Mass.
Line right-of-way, which runs from the Belmont border of Waltham to
Northampton. On April 3, 1997, the state Central Transportation Planning
Staff (CTPS) released a preliminary feasibility study for a trail on 23 miles
of this right-of-way from Waltham through Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, and Hudson
to Berlin. By January 1, 1998, all of these towns except Weston approved
the project. An inward extension through Belmont to Cambridge which would
connect through the
Fitchburg Cutoff Trail to the
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway,
Red Line Linear Park, and the
MBTA Red Line Rapid Transit.
To find out more about this trail, contact Andy Greene of the Wayside Rail
Trail Committee at
Last updated November 10, 2005 by