Minuteman Bikeway

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The Minuteman Commuter Bikeway in Lexington, with abandoned tracks from former use as a rail line

The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10-mile (16-kilometre)[1] paved multi-use rail trail located in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts.

Route[edit]

In Bedford:
Railbanked line to Concord Reformatory
South Road
Bedford Depot Park
to Billerica
Elm Brook
Wiggins Avenue
in Lexington:
Hartwell Avenue
to Hanscom Air Force Base
Interstate 95
Bedford Street (Routes 4, 225)
Revere Street
Hancock Street
Lexington B&M Station
Woburn Street
Site of B&M's Munroe Station
Pierce's Bridge (Maple Street)
Arlington’s Great Meadows
Site of B&M's East Lexington Station
in Arlington:
Site of B&M's Arlington Heights Station
Park Avenue
Lowell Street
Site of B&M's Brattle Station
Site of B&M's Arlington Centre Station
Massachusetts Avenue (U.S. Route 3)
Spy Pond
Site of B&M's Lake Street Station
Lake Street
to Alewife Brook Greenway
Massachusetts Route 2
in Cambridge:
to Fitchburg Cutoff Path
to Alewife Linear Park
Alewife Station

The Minuteman Bikeway runs from Bedford to the Alewife station at the northern end of the Red Line in Cambridge. It passes through the towns of Lexington and Arlington on the way. Also along the route are several notable regional sites, including Alewife Brook Reservation, Spy Pond and "Arlington’s Great Meadows" (actually located in Lexington).

At its Cambridge terminus, the bikeway connects with four other bike paths:

Plans are underway to extend the Somerville Community Path to downtown Boston, which would create a much larger continuous bikeway accessible from the Minuteman.

At the Bedford end, the Minuteman Bikeway connects with the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail and the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail.[4]

History[edit]

Map from 1946, where Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) passes along the route of today's Minuteman Bikeway

The path comprising the current Minuteman Bikeway has a long history. The trail closely approximates the route that Paul Revere took on his famous ride in 1775, which heralded the beginning of the American Revolution.

Along the way to becoming a railroad, the path's right-of-way was laid out east of Lexington in 1846 by the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad and west of Lexington in 1873 by the Middlesex Central Railroad.

Railbanking of the line was first proposed in 1974, three years before passenger rail service was discontinued, and a full seven years before rail service was discontinued altogether (in 1981). In 1991, the final plan for the conversion was approved, and construction started on the original section of the bikeway. The path was dedicated in 1992 and completed the following year.[5]

In 1998 the bikeway was extended from East Arlington to Alewife station (in Cambridge). In 2002 it was entirely repaved and in 2004 the Bedford Depot Park Enhancement Project was completed at its west terminus.[5]

The property is currently owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and leased to the municipalities through which it passes on an interim basis.[citation needed]

Uses[edit]

Area residents use the bikeway for a host of activities, including bicycling, walking, jogging, and inline skating. The main use of the path, however, is for casual biking.[5] In the winter there is often enough snow on the bikeway for cross-country skiing. However, the Bikeway is now plowed from Alewife Station to Bedford.[6] No motorized vehicles are allowed except for powered wheelchairs and emergency vehicles.

Future possibilities[edit]

New connections under contemplation include one from Lexington to the Battle Road Trail and one to the Charles River bike path via Fresh Pond Reservation and the abandoned Watertown Branch Railroad. A portion of the latter path, at the Watertown end, has been completed.

In April 2014, state officials announced that the Somerville Community Path will be extended alongside the Green Line Extension, creating a continuous 4.5 mile route from the Minuteman Bikeway to Boston’s Charles River Bike Path.[7]

See also[edit]

Gallery of views along the bikeway[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Some sources list it erroneously as 11 miles. The confusion arises because the mile marker at the beginning of the trail is 1 instead of 0. Wikipedia editors have measured the distance as shown on maps and in Google Earth, and it appears to be 10 miles to within a few hundredths of a mile. For further verification, see: Project for Public Spaces or About the Lexington Branch
  2. ^ "Alewife Brook Greenway Corridor Improvement Project". Town of Arlington, MA. July 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  3. ^ "Patrick-Murray Administration Obligates 100% of ARRA Highway Funding One Month Ahead of Schedule". 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  4. ^ Rail-Trails at Bedford Depot Park
  5. ^ a b c Viser, Matt (2007), "Rage on the bikeway", The Boston Globe, Volume 272, Number 1, 2007-07-01, p.A1.
  6. ^ Gilsdorf, Ethan (June 29, 2008). "Popular bike trail gets even better". boston.com. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  7. ^ Conway, Abby Elizabeth (30 April 2014). "Somerville Bike Path To Extend To Boston". WBUR. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 

External links[edit]