UPDATED: Unresolved Accessibility Issues Push Somerville Community Path Opening to Mid-June
The opening date for the long-awaited Somerville Community Path, a new multi-use trail along the new Green Line tracks in Somerville and Cambridge, has been pushed to mid-June.
MBTA officials have confirmed that additional work still needs to be done to bring the path into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
“All areas of the project were designed to be within compliance of all ADA requirements,” explained an MBTA spokesperson in an email to StreetsblogMASS earlier this month. “It is not uncommon after construction is complete to discover small areas that are not in full compliance due to construction tolerances. There are two such short areas that have been identified by the project’s Quality Control procedures. The contractor’s repair plan has been approved by the MBTA.”
The MBTA official added that the corrective work is being completed at no extra cost to the T. In a follow-up email sent Thursday, another MBTA official clarified that the T is “targeting mid-June” for completing the work, which is a necessary condition for opening the path to the public.
On Wednesday, May 3rd, Green Line Extension program manager Bill Ferrari met with Somerville’s state legislative delegation on a tour of the project to provide additional detail about the outstanding work that remains to be done.
Rep. Mike Connolly of Cambridge later tweeted some photos and additional details from that meeting.
“It looks like the path is fully completed and is just sitting dormant — but as we saw in yesterday’s presentation, there’s still some significant work to be done, much of it pertaining to safety and accessibility,” wrote Rep. Connolly. “There are incomplete guardrails, drainage installation issues, missing bollards, ADA compliance issues, etc. We were told there are about 150 items in all that require work.”
The Community Path Extension is one of the last unfinished elements of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension project, which has been under construction since 2017.
Once completed, the MBTA will transfer maintenance responsibilities for the new path to the City of Somerville under a lease agreement that the Somerville City Council approved this winter.
The path runs alongside the new Green Line tracks for a little over two miles, and is a segment of the much longer Massachusetts Central Rail Trail. When complete, it will connect several Somerville neighborhoods to the Alewife and Fresh Pond area in Cambridge, where several other off-street multi-use trails converge, and to downtown Boston and the Charles riverfront to the southeast.
This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 to add additional information and photos from Rep. Mike Connolly.