The Concept of a Riverside Greenway
The Riverside Greenway Concept includes a combination of shared-use, ADA-compliant and foot-trails to connect the current terminus of the Blue Heron Trail in Lyon's Field in Auburndale with the Lower Falls "Trestle" Bridge with access to 45 miles of trails in Wellesley. The slideshow below, which depicts the key elements of the Greenway developed over the last year, was presented to an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience at the Newton Main Library on January 24th 2018.
View the slide show above on the Greenwway Concept or a video of the entire event with presentations by Emily Norton of the CWRA, Dan Driscoll of Mass DCR and Herb Nolan of the Solomon Foundation and the RGWG, including the Q&A filmed by Ted Kuklinski of the Newton Conservators.
Our work began with a study of the Two Bridges Trial which connects Newton Lower to the Riverside MBTA station and then an extensive trail system along the banks of the Charles River, some of which exists, some is potential. The role of the RGWG is to define and advocate for this potential to be realized, using public-private partnerships to achieve our goal. Our primary public partners are the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Newton. The RGWG has engaged and been supported by Mass Departments of Conservation and Recreation (Mass DCR) and Transportation (Mass DOT) and the City of Newton Transportation Planning staff on the entire project.
The Two Bridges Trail Study was funded by the Mass DRIP-Recreational Trails Program is nearly complete. This short link is the key element to unlocking the entire trail system for both recreational and transportation uses. Click here for a more comprehensive discussion of this study.
The RGWG's partner the Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation funded a just-completed, conceptual design of the Commonwealth Ave., Auburndale Street grid, Riverside Depot Tunnel and Pigeon Hill Trail conducted by the Jacobs Engineering. This entire report can be downloaded and studied. The Solomon foundation is now funding a 25% design of the Commonwealth Ave segment. The RGWG has a grant from the Mass DCR Recreational Trails Program to do a 25% design of the Depot Tunnel and Pigeon Hill Trail; and has applied for a grant to move these elements to 100% design.
The work done by Jacobs to convert the carriage road on the Commonwealth Ave between Lyon's Field and the Route 30/Commonwealth Ave Bridge to a multi-use recreational trail was enthusiastically received by the City of Newton transportation planning staff as possible with no degradation of traffic flow and markedly increased pedestrian and vehicular safety.
The RGWG has been coordinating with Mass Departments of Conservation and Recreation (Mass DCR) and Transportation (Mass DOT) on the entire project. The staff of these agencies with the aid of State Representative Kay Khan and the governor's office has accelerated (now at 25%) design the replacement of the bridge at the Lasell Boathouse/Recreation Rd., and has key recreational features included in restoration of the Route 30/Commonwealth Ave bridge, that will greatly increase access to important features on the Weston side of the Charles River.
The Mass DCR will be conducting master-plan of the Leo J. Martin golf course in the next year. We have approached Commissioner Roy and the planning staff to include recreational trails side-by-side with the golf and cross country ski activities on the campus. The goal would be to create year-round foot trails close to the river.
The proposed development at the Riverside MBTA site creates an p opportunity for connections to the Greenway trails from the site with the obvious benefits for transportation and recreational opportunity. The RGWG is actively engaging in the Riverside Vision Process conducted by the City of Newton and the developer of record to make these connections a requirement of whatever development happens.