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Partnership urged for Mystic pedestrian, cycling bridge

The Arlington-based Mystic River Watershed Association calls on state and Encore to partner on Mystic River pedestrian and bicycle bridge (rendering below).

Option 2, HMFH, Jan. 22, 2019

A Feb. 6 report in The Boston Globe (Everett officials envision aerial gondolas from City Hall to the casino to Assembly Station) described Encore’s proposal to replace an 800-foot pedestrian bridge connecting Assembly Row across the Mystic River to the casino with an aerial gondola. The next day, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $13.7 million contract to complete the 11.5-mile Northern Strand Trail, which would now dead-end at the site of this long-anticipated bridge.

The Mystic River Watershed Association—along with more than a dozen walking/biking advocacy organizations—has been advocating for the completion of the Mystic River pedestrian and bicycle bridge for years.

 

A workhorse piece of public infrastructure, it will connect residents of Lynn, Saugus, Revere, Malden and Everett with Somerville, Boston and Cambridge. It will be to people-powered commuters what the Zakim and Tobin bridges are to drivers. Such safe nonmotorized routes are increasingly necessary as our region grapples with gridlock and the need to cut carbon emissions. 

With Encore having committed considerable resources to getting its employees from the Orange Line to its facility, the Commonwealth has a can’t-miss opportunity for a public-private partnership to complete this critical infrastructure. We call on the MBTA, MassDCR and MassEOEEA to work with Encore on a solution that fully serves both public and private transportation needs.

Public benefits of the Mystic River pedestrian and bicycle bridge:

  • Unlocks high-capacity, nonmotorized access to the Orange Line, thus reducing automobile trips and vehicular traffic.
  • Closes a highlighted gap in the 3,000-mile, Maine-to-Florida East Coast Greenway.
  • Connects Somerville’s Baxter Park and Draw 7 Park and Everett’s Gateway Park.

This viewpoint was published Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.

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