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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MassDOT hosts 25% Design Meeting For Community Path Extension From Cedar to Lowell

MassDOT, City Officials, and members of Weston & Sampson participated in an official public hearing on the 25% design completion of the Community Path extension from Cedar to Lowell Street held on November 21st at the VNA.

According to the PowerPoint...
The entrance of the path will be accented with plantings and earth work while the path itself, at this point of the design stage, will feature a pervious main surface similar to other paths, but with a rubberized edging for running. This rubberized edging will be maintained by the City should it need repair. Throughout the path, existing rail artifacts will be used as art pieces to thread together the past and future of the 1/4 mile section.

The grade of the path will be set to allow runoff into basins on the side, so no water collects on the path itself or the rubberized edging. Currently, sections closer to Willow Avenue endure a collection of water going directly across from one side to the other after large rain storms. Numerous residents expressed a desire to have deeper collections on either side, but not so deep that a repeat of the path collapse in Arlington was experienced after an intense three day rain storm in April of 2009.

Features that are included in the 25% design consist of benches, kiosks, racks, play/exercise stations, landscaping, lighting, lamp and stairs to Warwick Street, ampi-theatre seating section, informal play structures, and access to both sides of the Lowell Street bridge.

Not Included...
Surprisingly, an off-leash dog area and community garden are not included in the initial 25% much to the dismay of many attendees. Representatives from the Friends of the Community Path, an organization that has advocated tirelessly for the extension, vocalized their disappointment over a garden not being included and asked that it be seriously considered for the remaining 75%.

Other residents, myself included, also advocated for the inclusion of an off-leash area for dogs. During initial meetings held at the VNA, many dog owners included an off-leash area in their drawings and suggestions to the designers. No dog owners spoke at this recent meeting, however, people who have been approached by unleashed dogs did. I, personally, would like to see this added, not only for dog owners to have their own separate space, but to get unleashed K9s off the path and out of the way of runners, walkers, cyclists and baby stroller pushers.

Another main concern that will be included is advertisement for surrounding areas. I, as well as other genuinely concerned patrons of Magoun Square, put this at the top of our wish list as the path will bring users closer to Magoun Square than ever before. Recently painted bike sharrows on Lowell Street and impending bike rack inclusions near businesses complete the picture of bringing much needed pedestrian and cyclist traffic to Magoun.

The timeline for path completion puts the bidding at Winter 2011, construction to begin in fall of 2012 with completion by summer of 2013.

For documents on previously held meetings, check out MassDOT's web page dedicated to the Community Path Extension:

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