Friends of the Community Path

At A Glance


Somerville, Massachusetts

Primary Issue Area:

  • Land & Water
  • Climate Change & Energy
  • Environmental Health

Active since:


Tax Status:


Core volunteers:


Community Size:


Our Purpose

MISSION. The mission of the Friends of the Community Path is to link the Minuteman Bikeway and Charles River bicycle/pedestrian path networks, by extending the Community Path along the future Green Line extension (GLX).  
  • LOCAL GOALS. Our proposed Community Path Extension (CPX) will provide a safe, accessible/ADA-compliant bike/ped path and will be primary route to 4 of the GLX stations. No parking garages will be built as part of the GLX, so people with walk or roll to these stations via the CPX. The CPX will also pass near 6 Somerville public schools, 2 public libraries, and Somerville City Hall.
  • REGIONAL GOALS. By linking the 23-mile multi-use Minuteman Bikeway and 23-mile Charles River path networks, the CPX will make for 48 continuous miles of regional path network in Greater Boston through 11 Boston metro cities/towns: Somerville (including the Environmental Justice neighborhood of East Somerville), Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Belmont, Medford, Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Boston.
  • There are 3 million bike/ped trips per year projected for the completed CPX! (…). Thus, the CPX would likely become the most well used multi-use path in the U.S. , since the Minuteman is already in the top three at about a million trips/year.
  • By providing a healthy, just, safe, car-free, and transit oriented recreation and transportation Path link, the CPX will help improve our local and regional environment.
  • HOW WE FORMED. The Friends of the Community Path formed in 2001 after the City of Somerville commissioned and published a feasibility study on establishing the path. The Friends group was the brainchild of Somerville resident and long-time cycling activist Joel Bennett (then on The Somerville Bicycle committee). Joel founded the group with his life partner, Lynn Weissman, who is now the co-President of the Friends of the Community Path. The other current co-president, Alan Moore, joined the group in 2002.
  • This missing CPX link is the last gap in an otherwise 48 miles of continous regional trail network connecting the Minuteman and Charles River path systems. It is also in the Environmental Justice section of East Somerville, as shown in the map in our attached photos. Without this CPX link, the only bike/ped choice from Washington St. to Boston is a narrow, decripit, non-accessible, unprotected sidewalk on a fast. polluted McGrath Highway (Rt 28), with no shoulder or room for bike lanes.
  • After many years of advocacy by the Friends and other CPX stakeholder, MassDOT and the MBTA had announced in 2014 that full CPX was to built as part of the Green Line Extension Project. However, the State reneg-ed on this in 2016 as part of GLX cost reduction and was going to cut the CPX from the GLX project.
  • Due to efforts spearheaded by the Friends with the City of Somerville, and support by many stakeholders, much of the CPX was restored to the GLX project. Yet the MBTA’s GLX Team has removed from the GLX project the most critical last leg of the CPX from Washington Street (Somerville) to NorthPoint (Cambridge) – a 3100’ missing CPX link including a bridge over the Fitchburg commuter rail tracks, from Washington St. in Somerville to existing North Point path just over the Cambridge border – which would enable the key path connection to the Charles River paths.  (Please see our map in our photos.)
  • Yet if this CPX section is not built as part of the GLX project, it may not be built in our lifetime – because the GLX and CPX will share infrastructure and heavy construction machinery in this very busy right-of-way. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
  • So although the GLX is the State’s largest transportation project (~$2.3 Billion), the GLX is so far declining to build this last CPX section, which may cost as little as $5 Million with a cost-effective and user-friendly design or ~$20-25 million with the current heavy, over-designed plan.
  • The Friends will be happy to do a presentation about or host a tour of the proposed CPX route with New England Grassroots Environment Fund.