MassDOT Offers a Virtual Ride on the New Multi-Modal Community Path

And you thought the new Green Line extension video was exciting.

We already have an idea of what a ride on the new Green Line extension through Somerville and parts of Medford will look like when the project is complete in the next few years, thanks to a virtual tour supplied by developers of the project and officials from MassDOT.

But for those less privy to hopping on a Green Line trolley (even when said trolley is brand new), the transit agency unleashed another video this week, which gives pedestrians and cyclists a glimpse at the extended pathway that will weave through several communities.

In the six-minute video, viewers get a chance to explore the 1.9-mile multi-modal Community Path that will begin at West Boulevard in Cambridge, and head northwest to connect with the existing Somerville Community Path.

The gated, heavily protected stretch of roadway will be built as part of the Green Line Extension project and give users access to four new MBTA stations at Lowell Street, Gilman Square, Washington Street, and the relocated Lechmere Station. The path will cost $39 million to build—half of which will be paid for through federal funding. It’s expected to open in stages during the construction phase, but be complete sometime in 2020.

Members of MassBike, a coalition that supports meeting the demands of providing access to safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians alike, said the announcement made last month by MassDOT and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone that the path would be built was a “huge victory” that came after “years of championing.”

“The biking and walking advocacy community recognizes that this path will be a game-changer,” the group said.

That’s because once it’s finished, this particular section of the path will complete a 48-mile cycling and pedestrian highway that links the Minuteman Bikeway to the Charles River Paths. According to Curtatone, this is an essential piece of infrastructure for the state as it continues to make active transport a viable alternative to clogging roadways with more cars.

“It links mass transit to active transit. With 1,100 bicycle parking stations as part of the Green Line extension, you’ll be able to hop on your bike, park it at the T and then take the T to your ultimate destination. We’re building a key piece of our future transportation network,” Curtatone said in an earlier statement outlining the benefits of the plan. “The Community Path is going to be the nerve center around which our entire healthier, more active city operates.”

A meeting was already held about the progress of the pathway’s construction, and more information about the proposed project is expected to come out in the months ahead.