Neponset River Greenway
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Neponset River Trail: Fixing a gap

May 4, 2005


Despite the fact that the trail has been open for two years, there still has never been an opening ceremony. There is still work going on. MBTA repairs to the Shawmut Junction trolley overpass have closed the trail from 7 pm - 7 am for several weeks, but it should be open full-time by the end of May. There will be a 2-3 day closure of the trail from Granite Ave. to Shawmut Junction a bit later to fix the damage that construction vehicles did to the permeable surface section of the trail along the salt marsh. Speaking of which, a piece of that salt marsh is being restored to its original state, and that work should be completed by August, with interpretive signs saying what was done.

Granite Avenue Crossing

A walk light where the trail crosses busy Granite Ave. is on its way. Two state agencies, the Division of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which owns the trail, the Mass. Highway Department, which owns the adjacent drawbridge over the river, and the City of Boston, which owns the road and a traffic signal a block away, have had to come to terms. The final (hopefully) obstacle has been to figure out how to wire the new light into the old, undocumented system of signals connected with the bridge for coordination and power. It is hoped that the new light will be installed by summer.

Upstream Planning

Funding for a "resource management plan" to connect the existing trail to the Fowl Meadow section of the Blue Hills Reservation through Milton, Mattapan, and Hyde Park is being proposed in the legislature. All of the state senators and representatives along the Neponset corridor should be supporting this connection of a great inland park to the sea, providing a corridor for human-powered transportation.

Downstream Action

The Neponset doesn't end at Tenean Beach; the extuary extends past the gas tank to UMass/Boston. Post-9/11 security issues have slowed progress toward extension of the Neponset Trail between the Southeast Expressway and the brightly painted gas tank on an easement along the edge of Keyspan's property, but discussions are occurring once more. Funding exists for trail construction, which will be partly on a boardwalk over sensitive seasonal wetlands, but it needs to be spent soon, so it is hoped that an agreement between the DCR and Keyspan can be reached this summer or earlier. The DCR also needs $120,000 from the legislature to match committee federal funding for this piece of the trail.

Quincy Riverwalk

On Monday, April 4, the Neponset River Watershed Association presented plans for the Neponset Riverwalk, a 5-mile-long walking/biking/jogging path along the eastern bank of the Neponset River to the Environmental Committee of the Quincy City Council.
Check it out in PDF format on the NepRWA web site.

Greenway Festival

Smaller than in the past, this year's festival will kick off at the Martini Shell in Hyde Park on Thursday, June 30. There will be weekly movies at Pope John Paul II Park and weekly children's events at Ryan Playground in Mattapan. On Wednesday, August 10, there will be a bike ride upstream from the current end of the trail at Central Ave. in Milton to discuss possibilities for the future.

-Doug Mink,
Neponset River Greenway Council