For the past few years, the Greater Ashmont Main Street, along with other community groups and organization, have been working to create a bike and pedestrian friendly connection with the business district and a greenway path along Dorchester’s Red Line tunnel cap.
A petition has been created to show support for the DotGreenway. By signing, not only will you be showing your support for the project but you will be encouraging the city of Boston to allocate funds from the Community Preservation Act to help make the greenway become a reality. You can sign the petition here!
What’s There Now?
Right now, the tunnel cap has been paved as a pedestrian walkway outside the Shawmut station from Centre Street to Melville Avenue as part of the renovation of the Shawmut station by the MBTA. A devoted group of Melville Park area residents have maintained native plant garden beds in that area as well for many years, as part of the Shawmut Gardens project. The remainder of the tunnel cap is fenced off from public access.
What are the DotGreenway projects Goals?
1 Connect people to people
2 Connect people to mass transit
3 Connect people to local goods and services
4 Provide a safe recreation space for walkers and cyclists
5 Express the historic and distinctive qualities of Dorchester
6 Provide opportunities for community engagement and active programming
Who is Organizing this Effort?
Where Does the Project Currently Stand?
All departments at the MBTA have signed on to a letter supporting the prospect of the Greenway in principle, subject to design review and control of the property would most likely be transferred over from the MBTA via a 99-year easement to the City of Boston for $1, which would then lease the land to a non-profit dedicated to programming and maintaining the Greenway. A structural evaluation is complete and found the tunnel cap to have more than enough weight bearing capacity to hold the sorts of uses in the visioning documents.
A Trust for Public Land analysis of all those who will benefit from a completed DotGreenway expects that around 7,548 households, or 21,441 people will be able to use the greenway via a ten-minute walk to one of its eight or so access points.
In January 2019, the leaders of the DotGreenway project entered into fiscal partnership with LivableStreets Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for safe, inclusive transportation options in Greater Boston. The entire project team has been meeting monthly to keep the plans moving forward, and the group is hoping to receive a $500,000 in CPA funds to support the architectural, civil engineering, and structural engineering services needed to get to a complete, robust design.
With that design in hand, the DotGreenway project can begin to solicit foundation grants and corporate donations, which can then be formally signed off on by the MBTA and City of Boston. Sen. Collins, with support from Rep. Hunt and the rest of the Boston delegation, has secured at least $2 million in the environmental bond bill toward this project. The Governor’s office would be approached to release the funds once design is complete.
The design process will include more meetings and opportunities to provide input on how the DotGreenway would integrate into its surrounding community. The hope is to have a design completed by the end of spring 2020 and shovels in the ground spring 2021.
How Can You Help?
You can do your part to support the DotGreenway now by signing the petition to request CPA funding. If you are interested in volunteering in other ways, please reach out to Greater Ashmont Main Street at [email protected].
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