“How would you navigate the Mystic River without a boat?”
The answers they got were a lot like this:
“There are some great multi-use paths along the river for biking or walking, but I can’t really get anywhere on them because they don’t connect to the places I need to go.”
This doesn't just happen in Medford—it’s true in many communities within the Greater Boston area—but many cities and towns, the state and other organizations have proposed solutions. Here are some that we featured at the Celebration:
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has created the Landline, a greenway network that would connect 200 miles of existing and proposed multi-use paths so people could walk or ride bikes to all sorts of places.
The Mystic River is a critical element of the plan because it is at the geographic center of the network and flows through some of the most densely populated cities in the state like Boston, Everett and Somerville. Many existing trails follow the river, like the gravel path that goes past the Condon Shell, but to be truly useful, missing pieces need to be improved or constructed, such as:
- An underpass below Route 28 to connect MacDonald Park to the Wellington Greenway
- The “Clippership Connector” where I-93 passes over the Mystic River at Riverside Avenue to connect Riverbend Park to Medford Square
- Laying down a path between Winthrop Street and Route 16 to connect Medford Square to the Alewife Greenway
The Medford Bicycle Network
A complete travel corridor along the Mystic would connect towns together and create an efficient commuter route, but our local streets that connect to it must also be safe and easy to navigate. To do this the MBAC developed the Medford Bicycle Infrastructure Master Plan which details improvements that would need to be made in order to create a complete network that connects important destinations within our city.
Once implemented, the network would provide safer, easier to follow routes that would:
- allow students to bike to school,
- provide shoppers and diners convenient access to our squares,
- and make it easier for people to get to work.
This is good for those who choose to travel by bike, but it also benefits everyone in Medford by reducing the number of cars on our roads.
In the 19th Century Medford built clipperships that were the tractor-trailers of their day and made coastal commerce possible. In the near future Medford will be part of the East Cost Greenway, a bike trail that will go from Maine to Florida. If you have taken a ride on the Northern Strand Trail that goes through Everett, Malden and Revere you have ridden a small portion of it. The Medford section is not complete, but would run through the Wellington MBTA parking lot and connect the Wellington Greenway to the Woods Bridge which crosses over the Malden River.
Let’s make this happen
These networks involve many landowners, they must coexist with other modes of transportation and they need funding to be built. To see these plans realized we must all become advocates for them. Here are some things you can do:
- Learn more about the projects and their sponsoring organizations
- Let your elected officials know you support them
- Come to an MBAC meeting, they’re on the 4th Wednesday of the month at Medford City Hall, Room 201
- Like our Facebook page to keep up on bike news, events and ideas that are relevant to Medford