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State, Everett and Somerville officials announce they're going to get that pedestrian/bike bridge built over the Mystic

The new bridge will connect the Assembly MBTA stop with the Northern Strand bicycle path.

Roughly 18 months of construction could begin in early 2023. At a press conference with Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, Gov. Baker said the state will use federal grants to fund much of the work, and vowed the state would make up the difference. Encore Boston, whose customers could use the path to get to and from the Orange Line, had paid for design of the span.

What the bridge will look like.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

This is a big missing link. Very happy it's happening.

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Voting closed 37

Now I can go to the Christmas Tree Shops AND Target without getting on the orange line (and walking along 16)

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Voting closed 29

Sadly (?) the Christmas Tree Shops will probably be gone before this bridge opens as the new Assembly Row master plan calls for replacing all the big box stores on the west side with mixed use development

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That seems unlikely.

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with how well the rest of Assembly is doing (and selling out) it's inevitable the strip mall will become development - but that doesn't mean the bog boxes can't return once complete. But all of this is probably years off...

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Voting closed 6

After Kmart closed in November 2019, I thought Federal Realty would rush to demolish it, since the landlord paid Kmart $14.5 million to terminate the lease. Instead, they are subdividing it into one retail and two non-retail spaces. Someone from Assembly Connect said that the retail space will house Ashley Furniture, a chain I am not familiar with.

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Despite the seemingly slow pace I do suspect the roads on the metro area are going to look very different in the next 5-10 years.

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since they are the major benefactor.

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I'm glad they're paying for it too, because we need ways to get around the horror show traffic out front of the place. There will finally be a good way to walk between Somerville and Everett...

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It gives them Orange Line access for their workers and for people coming to the Casino and for bored people at conventions to amble over to the Orange Line and shops at Assembly Square.

The obstacle has been the Mayor of Somerville and his whining.

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Why does it take 14+ months after the grant is awarded to start construction? The article says it's nearly fully designed.

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Because people matter less than cars in Boston. Sad but true.

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Because it takes just as long for road projects to get started as it will take for this to get started. You have to get the contract wording right, then of course the contracts publicly bid. Once the bids come in, you have to evaluate them weighing cost versus quality, before finally approving the winning bid.

Then, you have to actually get the workers to come out to the site to get the work done. I had a tiny bit of work done on my house this year. It was scheduled 4 months out, for 2 hours' work.

I don't know if you are familiar with Jamaica Plain, but about 8 years ago they tore down an overpass and rebuilt the roadway. That took years to get to the start of construction and a few years to actually do the construction. So yeah, that's how much Boston cares about cars.

Also, you do realize that this project is not taking place in Boston, right?

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Voting closed 29

I'm surprised they are planning to start it so soon. The timeline announced seems very optimistic given the scope.

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And also, why are you comparing a bike/ped bridge to the Forest Hills jamaicaway, a project that involved something like three major arterial roads (one of which was a divided highway), a subway station, a major bus terminal, and two bike paths? And the demolition of half a mile worth of bridge? It was one of the most complex public works projects in recent history for the area.

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The state gets a waiver on contracting law when it comes to pedestrian infrastructure? In that case, they can just start work next month and hope the feds will retroactively give them aid then.

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Especially since there are a number of things which are harder/impossible to do in winter.

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Also add that this is an area with serious legacy pollution problems that may need to be remediated if they are digging down in the site. It is along the river, too - and in an area with an EJ population and vulnerable to sea level rise.

The permitting on this is going to be a doozy.

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More below.

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So Permitting a public project (well, a private project as well) can take a while.

A rough guess of some of the permitting:

  • I"m sure there are Public Improvement Commission if you touch/modify anything that is in both Somerville and Everett (curbs, crosswalks, access ramps, etc)
  • Conservation Commission for concerns on/in natural resources
  • MA DEP for being in the water
  • It may be designed, but there will be more public meetings to gain full approval of abutters
  • MassDOT if there is any interaction with State roads to enforce pedestrian safety access (bollards, rails, etc)
  • MassDOT for bridge safety review
  • Somerville and Everett Transportation Depts for signal review and pedestrian safety review if signalization is part of the project

I can tell you from experience that these reviews are not quick.

ETA: The MBTA is involved, so that's another entity that has a say and review of the project. Further, legal has to put together all of the MOAs (Memo of Agreement) and LMI (Liability, Maintenance, and Indemnification) agreements in place for the future of the bridge. And Survey has to make certain all delineations are drawn correctly. Survey also has to make certain all property lines, ownerships, easements, rights of access (different from easements) etc are fully understood to then help Legal put all the paperwork together. We don't know if an underwater survey has been done. Geotechnical borings likely need to be performed as well.

Just because it's 'designed' doesn't mean all details are complete. The article says design needs to be finalized and permits need to be granted.

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Abutters aren't going to be a problem, as the touchdown points are next to the casino (which supports the project) and DCR's Draw Seven Park. Traffic signals aren't involved here, either. However, anything built in the water needs to undergo environmental review for good reason.

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The site was remediated years ago, but there will need to be some testing, review, and possibly some remediation.

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Providing access to the Assembly MBTA station from Draw Seven Park, on the east side of the tracks, is necessary, but is a separate project from the bridge. The main MBTA impact of the bridge project is that part of it will pass under the Rockport/Newburyport commuter rail bridge.

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Navigable waterway, too, so might be another entity/permit.

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Happy this will happen, but how pathetic that it won't start for over a year (probably later) and take a year and a half to build (probably longer). Have we become a nation that can't build things?

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We are too busy giving subsidies to oil companies and hand outs to car drivers to build infrastructure for people.

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what the industrial revolution did for the human race. Go live in the wilderness somewhere and see how long you last, especially without your cell phone. BTW bikes don't work so well there either, since there aren't any roads, which as we know, are paved with asphalt, which comes from oil.

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Not parroting ignorant right wing talking points sponsored by Exxon, et al?

Or would that be too much like thinking.

Ending oil subsidies would not plunge us into a dark age - quite the opposite. It would pave the way for a new ENERGY revolution to increase efficiency and stall out climate change rather than kill us all for the sake of oil company profits and Joe Manchin's ego.

Bikes do fine on dirt - people ride thousands of miles off road on the regular. One way that the Viet Kong kicked ass in Vietnam was their ability to load up bikes and trek them through territory impassible to motor vehicles. The US Army even trains paratroopers to drop into impassible areas with bikes.

Want your cracker now?

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Sounds like oil doesn't need any subsidies with all of those ways it can be sold.

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"Stop giving handouts to oil companies" doesn't mean "I want to go back to pre-industrial civilization". If you really think it does, you've got some things to examine.

(Also, bikes don't need asphalt roads, so there's that too.)

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Aren’t we still owed 2 more bridges on the Charles by the Zakim on the Lost Half Mile? The North Bank Bridge was the first of three to reconnect that area by foot so you could walk the entire length of the banks of the river. I want to say one was Cambridge across to the area of the jail, and the other was over the tracks at North Station.

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The T has a project, whose timeline I do not know, to replace the railroad drawbridges coming over the Charles River into North Station. When they replace the more westward one, they are supposed to include a pedestrian walkway alongside it. The need for this will become more evident once the Somerville Community Path extension to Lechmere opens next summer.

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"the state will use federal grants to find much of the work"

First, Adam, find --> fund.

Second, does the state know something that everyone else doesn't about the RAISE grant they submitted an application for in June? I don't think those have been announced.

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