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The Neponset River Greenway: Dorchester's hidden gem

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 19, 2011 09:08 AM

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(Patrick Rosso/

The riders who participated in MAPC Neponset Greenway ride.

On a sunny afternoon, bicyclists zipped along Boston's Neponset River Greenway.

The riders, from all over New England, joined the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a nonprofit group that works in 101 cities in metro Boston to protect natural resources and promote citizen engagement, on Saturday for their bike tour of one of Boston’s premier bike trails.

Tucked along Dorchester, Milton and Mattapan, the Neponset Greenway is one of the hidden gems of Boston and one of the best ways to spend an afternoon before the snow comes. Scenic views of Dorchester Bay and smooth bike trails also make it a winner among tourist and families, not just the hardcore bike enthusiasts.

“I wanted to see what it was like, especially the sections along the coast,” said Paul who was visiting Boston from Connecticut.

The group of 20 or so riders ranged in skill level, which makes the trail especially welcoming because of its flat terrain and off street advantages.

“We wanted to encourage people to get on their bikes,” said Amanda Cleveland, metro future coordinator for planning council.

Along with getting people out for a bike ride the tour was also meant to display sections of the trail that are in the works.

“We are also trying to highlight something that is in line with our plan,” added Cleveland.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to fill in the gaps in the trail which require bike riders to take detours on city streets.

Currently, the trail is missing sections near Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. Sections in Mattapan and Milton are also incomplete but the DCR recently proposed a plan to fill the gap near Mattapan and Milton.

Although the ride was intended to highlight the portions of the trails that are missing and to give residents an idea of the work ahead of the DCR and MAPC, most people couldn’t help but talk about the beauty of the trail and how they never knew it existed.

From the views from behind the JFK Library or riding along the Mattapan Trolley tracks, many couldn’t help but be awestruck that this sort of trail even existed in Boston, let alone Dorchester and Mattapan.

Once completed the route would allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel along the coast out of traffic all the way from Boston’s North End to Mattapan.

The trail which has sections that are paved as well as dirt paths, is perfect for veteran cyclists looking for a quick ride or parents with their kids who want to get out of the house and see some of Boston’s best natural beauty while still safely riding away from traffic.

E-mail Patrick Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso.

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