Interlocking pieces of the Wellington Greenway puzzle came closer to becoming a reality with the announcement of a Massachusetts Trail Grant, to the tune of about $190K, for Medford’s underpass design. State Rep. Christine Barber, who has been advocating for funds for the project, announced the grant on Aug. 5.
“The Wellington Underpass has been in the planning for a long time,” Barber said, noting that the highway is challenging and dangerous to cross.
The funding would replicate a wooden boardwalk, currently on the Somerville side, that allows pedestrians and bicyclists to cross under Route 28. A similar boardwalk has been planned for the Medford section of the highway.
In July, Congresswoman Katherine Clark appropriated funds for the construction phase of the Wellington Greenway project. The construction will complete a 10-mile, continuous, waterfront path-and-park system along the Mystic and Malden rivers.
The vision put forward by the Mystic River Watershed Association, in conjunction with local governments, environmental organizations and recreation groups, is of a continuous blue and green necklace, running from Chelsea to Cambridge and Arlington along the Chelsea, Mystic and Malden rivers and the Alewife and Mill brooks and the Mystic Lakes, connecting the communities through trails, waterways and community parks.
The Wellington Greenway project will expand and enhance access for all users, make connections throughout the region and bring more visitors to the river communities to enjoy the green spaces, local shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
At a Feb. 17 community meeting, Amber Christoffersen, of the Mystic River Watershed Association, discussed two projects the organization is working on in cooperation with the city, including a new underpass at Wellington Circle that would construct the community pathway to connect Torbert MacDonald State Park with Station Landing.
The project is eligible for state funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Program (TIP), said Christoffersen. A companion project, the Wellington Greenway, Phase 4, an 1,800-foot section of pathway that runs behind the Wellington Station parking lot, is also one of the joint projects with Medford. Once completed, all of Medford’s waterfront will be accessible to the public.