Multi-use path unveiled near Cambridge Common

“Pedestrians and bicyclists now have access to a newly constructed multi-use path at Flagstaff Park, part of the historic Cambridge Common.

According to Bill Deignan, transportation program manager for the city’s Community Development Department, more than 10,000 cyclists and pedestrians use the area daily.

The Cambridge Common and Flagstaff Park project is part of a joint effort between the city of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to rehabilitate the Common and improve conditions for park users and folks traveling along Massachusetts Avenue, between Garden and Waterhouse streets.

“The problem that people saw is that when you’re on the Harvard Yard side of Massachusetts Avenue and you want to go north, the only way you can do it easily is to cross over and do it on the Common side,” Deignan said, adding that the path officially opened to the public July 4. “The path fills in this missing link for pedestrians and cyclists that hasn’t been there for years.”

The $5.1 million project, funded through Community Preservation Act funds, state and federal funds, kicked off in the spring 2014 and the finishing landscaping details are expected to be complete by the end of the year, Deignan said.

The path features a new crosswalk to the Common across the entrance to the bus tunnel, as well as a waiting area for bicyclists and two traffic signals at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

“The feedback has been very positive. People have been waiting for a long time for this link that’s missing between Harvard Square and Massachusetts Avenue to the north,” Deignan said. “We know this area will be well used.”

Orange construction fencing currently surrounds the park. Crews still need to replace all pathway surfaces on the Common to meet access codes, replace and upgrade all benches and trashcans, plant approximately 100 trees, improve drainage and turf surfaces, and replace the lighting system utilizing energy-efficient LED lighting, Deignan said.

The city will plant 70 new trees at Flagstaff Park and Cambridge Common this fall, and another 30 next spring, he said.”

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By Sara Feijo

Posted Jul. 15, 2015 at 11:41 AM