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June 02, 2004


Friends of the Path

Here's the website


There has been some talk that that bike path was to be sold to a developer within the next three years for condos to be constructed in place where the bikepath is now. Two hundred and thirty-one condos to be exact! The meeting was set up behind closed doors so the public wouldn't oppose it before the deal was struck. This hasn't been the first sneak attack that has been done by city hall! The purpose of the sale was to make up for the six million dollar shortfall expected for next year. This was a last resort deal to save the budget and their necks. You can view the particulars as of This coming Thursday on the developers website. Conveniently after the senatorial debate that takes place on Wednesday so no questions are asked that night! This has been going on for the past year after discussions about the Mass Pike being privatized surfaced and got shot down. Unfortunately the bikepath fell between the cracks and got sold behind our backs. Call your city hall, your senators and new senator candidates and your congressman before its to late! Stop this in its tracks!


This is true. I work for the city and I overheard it through my department head as she was talking on the phone! The city has the right to do this unless opposed by a certain number of people!

The real deal

This info can't be true, unless the laws of changed. I know this because I was involved in the community meetings when the original section of the path (from Davis to Cedar) was being planned. Many of the abutters were interested in purchasing pieces of the land in order to extend their back yard. We were told that because the land was purchased with public money (Amtrak, or probably B&M at the time) it could not be sold for private use. The city could obtain a long-term lease for public use, but that was it. I know there's a development being planned but I think it's going to abut the property, although they are looking for permission apparently, to add an access road along the property.


I don't think this is entirely true, having followed the process on that site. What is true, however, is that the proposal to redevelop that site could have significant impacts on the bike path extension, both good and bad. The good impact could be that the developers might help pay for the extension. The bad impact could be that they might want to share the path (use part of it as a driveway) in order to have additional access to their site. I also have some concerns about the overall scale of the project and whether a residential-only project makes sense if the Green Line is coming in a few years.

Ron Newman

The existing bike path is owned by the MBTA and leased to the city. The railroad right-of-way from Cedar to just past Lowell Street, where the bike path will be extended, is also MBTA property.

Neither one can be used for anything other than transportation purposes, and neither one is going to be sold to a developer for any purpose. Given how long and narrow it is, not much could be built on it anyway -- certainly not 231 condominiums!

What 'Harris' may be thinking of is the MaxPak site and neighboring abandoned industrial properties, which occupy the triangle between Warwick Street, the Lowell commuter rail line, and the disused freight railroad. A developer has proposed a high-density condo project here, but the neighborhood has expressed a desire for less density. Neighbors have also made it quite clear that they want the railroad right-of-way used for a bike path extension, not a driveway or access road.

Everyone needs to keep an eye on this situation, but it in no way endangers the bike path, present or future.

-- Ron Newman, Vice-Chair, Somerville Bicycle Committee


To Ron Newman, Stop acting like you know it all! Listen to others for a while! This is taking place as we speak. Look into it before you open your trap! I know because I work for the department that is ordering the sale. You dont know when your getting a hint from a inside source. Your too busy being Mr. dont know it all!


I wouldn't put too much faith in Mr. or Ms. Harris's claims. It's true that the area where the path is to be developed is owned by the MBTA, so the city has absolutely no legal ability to sell it.

Perhaps Harris is talking about a different area where there is a planned path? There is one over in Assembly Square by the river, which is to be developed by the IKEA people. Or perhaps he or she is, as Ron mentioned, thinking of the MaxPax site which is right next to the MBTA property.

Additionally, the city has just been awarded nearly a million dollars (part of some pork funding in the Federal Energy Bill that just passed) to build the section of the path from Cedar to Central St.


If you call city hall and ask the Mayors office they are not going to return your call on it until Thursday. Then it will be already put in place! Better yet ask your four senatorial candidates and IM sure one of them will spill the beans to get an edge over the other three candidates!


So, um, if this is really happening, wouldn't it be a perfect story for a local newspaper to cover--or dismiss?

Todd V.

Well, it's Thursday. Haven't heard/seen anything yet. Britt, as a community blogger, I did put in a call to the city. See my post at for their response.

If it is indeed the Maxpak site, the developer's website isn't very helpful. In fact, it's not even up:

Harris, you meant *this* Thursday, right? The cat still seems to be in the bag...

Ron Newman

I got a letter from KSS earlier this month, probably because I participated in some of the community meetings regarding MaxPak. It says:

"We are KSS Realty Partners, the current owners of the property at 61 Clyde Street known as the Maxpac site.

It has been sometime since we last engaged in a dialogue with the neighborhood. In that period of time, much has transpired as the City, thru its Planning Department, has conducted workshops and developed draft design guidelines which we have recently received from the Planning Department.

After reviewing the draft guidelines, we felt it would be useful to meet with you personally and directly in small groups to discuss the draft document, to give people the opportunity to talk directly to us about our concerns, and to share our thinking as to site constraints and design guidelines for the site.

We would like to invite you to join us one evening at the VNA (Lowell Street). We will provide a supper and refreshments for the participants. Please choose one of the following evenings from 6pm to 8pm and either call or email me to reserve your seat. My direct phone line is 617/948-2637 and my email address is . (Please be advised that we are limited to 12 seats per evening and that reservations are necessary.) If there is greater demand then we may try to schedule additional evenings.

Available evenings include:

Tuesday, August 9
Wednesday, August 10
Tuesday, August 16
Tuesday, September 13
Wednesday, September 14
Tuesday, September 20

We truly hope that you are able to find the time to come and visit with us, so that we can understand your concerns and engage in a dialogue with you as we prepare to begin the site design process.

We look forward to seeing you.

Best wishes,
Matthew J. O'Neil
Director of Development"

I haven't yet responded to this, but I may go to one of the September meetings.

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