Nitsch led a multi-disciplined team in the design and construction of a 2.7-mile multi-use path connecting Belmont and Somerville. At one time an at-grade freight and commuter rail transportation corridor, the corridor has now become a popular pedestrian and bicycle route, running from Brighton Street in Belmont, to the Fitchburg Cutoff Path at Alewife, along the Alewife Linear Path and the Alewife Linear Park, to the Somerville Community Path to Cedar Street. The project linked existing bike path segments into a cohesive corridor; improved safety by designing new connections, a new bridge, and a new traffic control signal (to cross the heavily traveled Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge); and extended the existing Minuteman Path from Alewife in Cambridge westward to Belmont.
Nitsch provided field survey and permitting services, as well as transportation and traffic engineering design services. We provided topographic mapping to document the existing conditions for the corridor; Nitsch’s property research revealed that the path west of Alewife Station was mostly located on property owned by the MBTA and a private abutter. The project implemented a transfer of land from the MBTA to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) so the bike path would become part of their Alewife Reservation; a permanent easement was donated to DCR by the private abutter.
Because the path crosses the MBTA’s Davis Square and Alewife Stations, we worked closely with the municipalities of Cambridge and Somerville, as well as the MBTA, to develop bike path designs that are well suited to the interests of the community and compatible with the needs of the MBTA, as well as adjacent projects. For example, the path runs through Alewife Reservation and past Yates Pond, which are sensitive wildlife habitats and wetland resources. To widen the sidewalk adjacent to Yates Pond without impacting these sensitive resources, a cantilever structural design was implemented.
Nitsch provided construction phase services, including preparing contract documents, supporting the project bid process, and providing construction administration services.