Minor milestone on the Alewife

The view south along the path from Henderson Street on October 18. The road slopes up to the left to cross the Alewife brook.

Just when I was wondering if we’d see any more work on the Alewife Greenway in our neighborhood before the end of the year, along comes this impressive granite plinth. The work was done last Tuesday, October 18.

Alewife design on the north face of the marker

Now I know what those shallow circular wells are for. I have seen them in many locations along the Greenway.

The design is etched or cut into the surface of the granite and colored. The colored areas are set back from (cut into) the surface. If you look closely you can see that the stone around the logo has been polished smooth.

Given the fine detail (look at those blades of grass) and the need to reproduce this design on many markers, I think the technique for making these carvings must be a kind of laser etching.

I do not know what kind of paint or colored sealer is used for the black background.

Of greater interest to me is the map on the marker’s south face.

Reading this is a little challenging because it does not show any roads or buildings or town lines. There is a parking area (for the Alewife Reservation, accessible from the entrance ramp to Route 2 inbound off of Lake St.) but no indication of how to drive to it.

A trail map graces the marker's south face

If you are looking at one of these markers, however, you are not in a car anyway. Maybe the map would help you return to your car if you parked it there.

Look carefully and you will see the Greenway paths at the northern end on both sides of the brook, except for an area corresponding to St. Paul’s cemetery.

You can also see where the path crosses the brook, first at Broadway and then at Henderson St. Put a mental orange dot down there and say “You are here.”

Finally, notice how the Cambridge-side path ends abruptly. That’s where it meets Mass. Ave. at the intersection with Route 16 in Cambridge.

The most interesting part of this map to me, however, is the paths that are not built yet. I don’t mean the incomplete parts of the Greenway itself, still under construction, but the path from Fresh Pond south to the Charles River.

The left corner is already chipped

This simply does not exist today, though the old railroad right of way is there, passing underneath Brattle  Street on the Cambridge-Watertown line right by Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Still, the promise of a network of trails, from Waltham to Boston to Belmont to Somerville to Medford to Bedford, with an Arlington hub, is exciting. (Eat your heart out, Hub of the Universe.) Even more so, if the Community Path is ever completed in Somerville.

Traffic cones warn of possible hazard—while they last

Meanwhile, back at the hub, things are looking up—and unfinished.

The traffic cones imply that there might be another pour of concrete to level up the awkward moat area around the marker. Maybe that isn’t in the cards, though. (Update: See here.) At any rate, it didn’t happen this week. Instead the circular moat filled up with water and graffiti.

Hey, I reached 100 posts on this blog recently, and while most of them are about Mass. Ave. I also have been chronicling the progress of path construction near my house since the summer before last.

Here’s the first in that series, here’s the most recent before this one, and here is the whole darned thing. Update: And the next.

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2 comments so far

  1. Bob Sprague on

    .I like the headline (the double meaning works).

    Bob S

    • Adam Auster on

      The pun is the irresistible bane of headline writers.


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