Building the Alewife Greenway

the words

The full inscription at this trail head reads “Alewife Greenway Corridor” incised in noble Roman capitals.

I had been hearing about the plan to build a multi-use path at the end of my street since I moved to town in 1995. There had even been a design meeting about it in the early oughts out in Belmont.

The path was to run along the Alewife Brook from the Mystic River to the Minuteman Path, and maybe someday connect to paths planned along the Mystic and beyond.

But time went by and nothing happened. The path became a myth.

When the project broke ground in 2010, it was like seeing a unicorn grazing on the knotweed by the brook.

Day-glow strips of fabric tied to tall wooden stakes recede along the path from foreground to background.

North along the Alewife from Cottage Ave., June 30

By then, my Mass. Ave. blog was up and running. I could not resist covering the Alewife Greenway work, though it was not related to the road project.

Also, it was easy! Just walk over to the path every day and see what was new.

The result was a kind of a blog-within-a-blog showing the progress of the Greenway from the perspective of my little neighborhood.

It was a lot of fun, and less serious than my Mass. Ave beat, which was getting hot, heavy, and more than a bit weird.

What Now?

The Alewife posts got a lot of attention at the time: many people were eager to know what was happening with the path. Many contributed their own reports.

Today I guess it is of purely historical interest, or perhaps might satisfy the curiosity of anyone who lives near where one of these has been proposed.

I can tell you this: the path is great, arguably the best new thing in East Arlington so far this century.

Ironically it took Goldman Sachs and the destruction of the world economy to bring the path from the drawing board to reality.

When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, the Alewife Greenway was shovel-ready.

Why can’t we have nice things just because they are nice?


There’s lots more, nearly 50 reports in all. Jump in at any point and click around.

For a real trip down memory lane, watch construction unfold from start to end. I have even managed to trick WordPress into showing these reports in chronological order! Note however that with this trick the navigational controls are reversed: older is newer and vice-versa.

Men in suits holding an oversized scisors before a red ribbon streched between two poles

Alewife Greenway ribbon cutting. October 25 2012.


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