The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) are collaborating with associated cities and towns to open up 40 + miles of existing and former aqueduct right-of-ways are available to be permitted for public access for the first time in the western suburbs of Boston. Four aqueducts are being considered for public access.
The first one-mile section along the Weston Aqueduct in Framingham opened to the public in October 2012. By eventually connecting these aqueducts with existing trail systems, we are ultimately creating a 50+ mile continuous greenway network, primarily using existing public land permitted at no cost to municipalities, requiring minimal investment, and creating a maintenance partnership between the MWRA and cities and towns.
The MWRA is working with each of the communities to issue public access permits. Each town will be able to conduct limited improvements to the right-of-way to allow for improved hiking, cycling, and dog-walking activities. A number of schools are adjacent or close to the aqueduct corridors and will provide car-free access for children to walk between school and home. Sections of these aqueduct corridors have been used as informal trails for a number of years. Under the new policy, public access activities will now be authorized and maintenance responsibilities will be split between the MWRA and municipalities.
MAPC is working with each of the communities to connect the disjointed aqueduct segments into a seamless, continuous, connected greenway network. Working through each town’s public process, MAPC is identifying the trail segments that will connect with existing regional rail trails, including the circumferential Bay Circuit Trail around Boston and numerous others. MAPC expects to complete an implementation plan in 2013 that identifies the proposed alignment of the completed aqueduct trail network system.
Loutzenheiser, David; Lindberg, Tom; and Barrera, Joel
"Aqueduct Trail Network Development in Metro Boston,"
Proceedings of the Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning: Vol. 4:
1, Article 28.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/fabos/vol4/iss1/28
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