Belmont Community Path

Belmont, MA
Key Elements
  • Shared-use path design
  • Underpass design
  • Public outreach

Located adjacent to the Fitchburg Line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail, the Belmont Community Path is a two-mile segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT), a bicyclist and pedestrian path that will ultimately extend 104 miles between Boston and Northampton. The Belmont Community Path segment is intended to provide a safe and accessible connection between Belmont High School, the Fitchburg Cutoff Path, the Clark Street Pedestrian Bridge, public transportation facilities, neighborhoods, and area businesses for community members and visitors to enjoy. As the path runs parallel to the active railroad, Nitsch worked closely with the Town of Belmont and the MBTA to provide a design that allows path users to feel comfortable riding along the railroad, while still meeting the safety requirements of the MBTA.

The Nitsch team compiled a Functional Design Report that outlined several design alternatives along the Belmont Community Path. As part of the conceptual design, we held a virtual public information meeting to present the preferred design alternative to the public, key stakeholders within the Town, and the abutting residents to the project. Throughout the design, we continued these public outreach meetings to provide a design that best meets the needs of the Town, the users, and the abutters.

A vital piece of the path included the construction of a reinforced concrete culvert under the Fitchburg Line railroad tracks to connect Alexander Avenue to Belmont High School and the path. In addition to the Alexander Avenue underpass, Nitsch is designing multiple retaining walls and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps along the path. Our design team is also integrating landscaping along the path, path intersections, and trailheads to provide screening from private properties and create an overall aesthetically pleasing experience.

Key Collaborators

Owner: Town of Belmont
Landscape Architect: Copley Wolff Design Group
Geotechnical Engineer: GZA GeoEnvironmental
Environmental Engineer: LEC Environmental Consultants