Bikeways and Trails
Future Metro Boston Bikeways
Alewife Brook Bikepath
Assabet River Rail Trail
Bike to the Sea
Central Mass. Rail Trail
Cochituate Rail Trail
Dedham Rail Trail
Somervile Community Path
Upper Charles Trail
Watertown Branch Rail Trail
Wayside Rail Trail
Existing Metro Boston Bikeways
Cape Cod and the Islands
Last updated October 27, 2003
by Doug Mink
Future Metro Boston Bikeways and Trails
Alewife Brook Bikepath
- The MDC is once again looking at building a bikepath in the
along Alewife Brook, on the stretch where it forms the border between
Cambridge and Somerville and Arlington, parallelling the Alewife Brook Parkway.
This would provide a connection between the
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Mystic River bikepath system, when that system is
extended upstream past Medford Square. A study completed
in 1993 was released in April of 1997, and it looks like public meetings
may be happening in 2002 or 2003. The
of the Commutity Path in Somerville is organizing community support
for this path.
Assabet River Rail Trail
- A group of citizens is working to establish a 12.5-mile bike and
pedestrian path on a long-abandoned railroad right-of-way paralleling
the Assabet River through Hudson, Stow, and Maynard, with connections
to Marlborough and the MBTA commuter rail station in South Acton. In
1998, all five communities started to acquire land for the trail.
- As of October 2003, 1.25 miles of the trail are paved in Marlborough
and 0.6 miles are graded in Maynard. Construction of the next 5 miles
(all of Hudson and Marlborough) started in September 2003 and is scheduled
to finish in 12 months.
- Bike to the Sea
- 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.
- Central Mass. Rail Trail
- West from the end of the proposed
Wayside Rail Trail in Berlin, the
Central Mass. Line, while in private hands, is mostly
undeveloped and may be recoverable. There is a wonderful 1/4-mile tunnel
in Clinton right above the Wachusett Reservoir Dam which could be the
terminus of a 40-mile-long trail from Boston. This trail parallels US.
20 through Waltham, Weston, Wayland, and Sudbury, then heads northwest
through Hudson and Berlin to Clinton. After the reservoir, the
right-of-way continues across the middle of the state, south around the
Quabbin Reservoir, to Amherst, where the Norwottuck Trail follows it to
Northampton. Various groups are working on the sections of the right-of-way
in their towns. West Boylston got a state greenway grant to develop a
- Cochituate Rail Trail
- This proposed rail trail would utilize the Saxonville Branch Line roadbed
to give downtown Natick a recreational route north along Lake Cochituate and
to the day-use area of Cochituate State Park, plus car-free bike access over
major highways to the very popular Natick Mall. The northern extension, along
the west bank of Cochituate Brook and up to Route 126 at the Sudbury River,
would provide the same access from north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The
Town of Framingham is working on plans for their 1.3-mile stretch, currently
owned by the Mass. Turnpike Authority and the MBTA, but totally unused.
Natick's section is seldom used, but has not yet been abandoned. The
entire path would offer a 3.8-mile bike and walking trail through a very
dense, high-speed highway network.
- Dedham Rail-Trail
- An abandoned rail line from the Readville station in Boston runs past the
high school and almost to Route 1. Connections can be made to quite a bit of
Dedham's greenspace from this right-of-way, and it is being considered as
part of Dedham's Open Space Plan along with other bicycle amenities.
Bruce Freeman Trail
- The Sudbury to Lowell section of the mostly unused Old Colony rail
line from Framingham to Lowell is slowly being converted into a
multi-use trail. Running through Sudbury, Concord, Acton, Westford,
and Chelmsford, it will connect the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway Extension
in Acton and the Central Mass. bikepath in Sudbury to the Merrimac River
in Lowell. A preliminary study was done by the state Central
Transportation Planning Staff in 1987. The project was on hold for
years, until it was split into 2 phases. Phase 1, the 7-mile stretch
from Lowell to Westford, is being designed in 1998. The status of Phase 2,
the 15 miles from Westford to Sudbury, is less clear due to 3 obstacles:
the Assabet River, Route 2, and an active rail section to a lumberyard.
There may be sufficient support and funds to design the path to be 14 feet
wide. The Northern Middlesex Council of Governments is the driving force
behind this one. While construction money is ready, the state is balking
at building an underpass under Route 3, which is being rebuilt in 2001.
- Minuteman Commuter Bikeway Extension
- The right-of-way used by the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
continues westward through Bedford and Concord to Acton.
Problems include crossing Hanscom Field Air Force Base, the
Assabet River (the bridge has been removed), and Route 2 (near
the West Concord rotary). It would connect with the
- Minuteman Charles River 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
bikepaths. Arlington and Cambridge are building the first part of this
extending the path, with its own bridge over the
Little River/Alewife Brook, to Alewife Station. Construction began in
the fall of 1997.
- Somerville Community Path
- The Community Path is a proposed linear park that would connect the
existing bicycle/community path, which connects to the
Red Line Linear Park and thus to the
from where it ends at Cedar Street to Lechmere and eventually to downtown
Boston. It 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 City has applied for
a DEM Greenways Grant to start construction of the trail.
- Tri-Community Bikeway
- This path through Woburn, Winchester, and Stoneham would connect the
Mystic River, the Middlesex Fells, and the
Bike to the Sea path, as well
as much of the parkland in these three communities.
- Upper Charles Trail
- The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is currently conducting a
feasibility study for this trail which would run mostly on abandoned
railroad rights-of-way through Framingham, Sherborn, Holliston, Milford,
Hopkinton, and Ashland for at distance of 24 miles.
- 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
- 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