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FAR Board stands strong on pathway link up between Mystic River, Arlington, Somerville, Cambridge and Belmont Lexington and Bedford
added to website December 18, 2006

Linking Bedford, Lexington Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville,Medford
To the Mystic River
Linking People, Towns and Waterways to the Mystic River

Rarely do public outdoor amenities come to us without much advocacy and hard work. We are fortunate to consider a beautiful state Alewife master plan for outdoor conservation and recreation for North Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and East Arlington. It was developed with great public support from Friends of Alewife Reservation, other environmental agencies and non-profits, ad hoc groups and many citizens for over a 3 year period, interfacing regularly with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and with the City of Cambridge.The top consulting planners from The Bioengineering Group of Salem helped prepare the Alewife Reservation Master Plan, and recently brought ecological restoration to Fresh Pond Reservation.

A recent gathering by the DCR at the Arlington Library was a long awaited public meeting to discuss an important phase of the Alewife master plan in Somerville and Arlington along the west side of Alewife Brook, which then connects to Cambridge. Many citizens, friends and neighbors want recreational and pedestrian transportation connections to the Alewife T stop and to the Mystic River in order to reach points east and west of Cambridge and Belmont. They want biodiversity and enhancements brought to the Alewife Brook. More public discourse is needed about the multi-purposed pathway connection between Somerville, East Arlington, Medford along Alewife Brook. The community wants biodiversity and enhancements brought to the Alewife Brook. The environmentally enhanced pathways will improve the quality of life with fewer cars in that part of the city, and help protect the area from debris and inappropriate homeless use.

While the DCR wants to repossess public property, confiscated over time by private parties, it offers Arlington and North Cambridge residents and friends of the Reservation and Arlington-Somerville Greenway, an opportunity to restore our deteriorating open spaces and to make a very much needed strolling and biking connection among four important sister cities along the watershed, from Lexington to Mystic River through the Alewife Reservation. The west side pathway at Henderson Bridge near the Cambridge-Somerville border is compacted dirt, and the DCR proposes to restore the banks and to develop a board walk along the path to the Mystic, restoring natural vegetation and re-creating animal habitat. Archeological and historical connections will be made as well. The area is the site of a pre-colonial fishing weir, and a 19th century alms house. After the Lexington- Concord battle, the British exited over the Mass Ave. bridge, a site worthy of national historical recognition.

The flooding and sewage problems that accumulate in the Broadway and Mass Ave. section of the watershed will be attenuated over time by municipal and state plans for water quality and quantity. Improvement plans are already funded and ready to go forward.

Just as the DCRís Charles River Reservation restoration and bike way in Watertown and Newton improved safety, sanitation and recreation; here in the Mystic river watershed, biking and passive recreation connections to Arlington-Somerville-Cambridge and Belmont will also improve life in our crowded western metropolitan corridor. Without pedestrian connections, these open land areas will eventually be zoned for buildings and will create more thermal heat centers. The Brook and Little River are now important fish channels for the chain of life in the Atlantic. We will aid in preserving ancient waterways for a diminishing and essential aquatic species, the Alewife herring, not to mention diverse and unusual species of many mammals and birds that live in and among this vital waterway corridor to the ocean.

Friends of Alewife Reservation

Don Bockler- Belmont
Mary White-Cambridge
John Walker- Cambridge
Ellen Mass-Cambridge