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DCR submitting new application for Neponset River Greenway Corridor funds

Posted by Patrick Rosso  March 12, 2012 01:14 PM

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(Image courtesy DCR)

The three sections of the Neponset Corridor that still need to be completed.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is resubmitting its application to the US Department of Transportation for funding to complete sections of the Neponset River Greenway Corridor.

Last year the DCR applied for the so-called TIGER III grant but did not receive the funding. The USDOT now has a $500 million TIGER IV grant available, which it will divide among projects across the country.

With a new application and grant, the DCR and Massachusetts Department of Transportation, a partner with DCR on the project, hope to get the funding to complete the trail that connects to a network stretching from the Boston Harbor to Hyde Park.

"DCR considers the completion of the Neponset River Corridor to be a signature project that will connect our Blue Hills Reservation to Boston Harbor, while providing more access to public spaces for residents in urban neighborhoods, connecting communities, and improving the transportation network,” said Edward Lambert, DCR commissioner in a statement. “Investments in parks and pathways are a priority for the Patrick-Murray administration and provide healthy and alternative forms of transportation.”

The grant if won, will provided the DCR with close to $12.5 million. DCR is matching the grant with approximately $4.23 million of its own and project sponsors’ funds, to complete three sections of the trail in Dorchester, Mattapan/Milton and Hyde Park.

According to the DCR’s Project Plan, the project would work to link transit connections and residents.

“This grant would complete construction of a bicycle/pedestrian system that MassDCR developed through extensive community involvement and that MassDOT prioritized as part of the Bay State Greenway. A key feature of this Project is its link to transit…the project route lies within half a mile of 11 transit stops and will pass through the terminus of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA’s) Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line,” said the Plan.

In Dorchester, the money will be used to complete an unfinished portion of the trail to allow residents to bypass the I-93 off-ramp at Morrissey Boulevard. DCR plans to build a raised boardwalk over property owned by National Grid. DCR estimated in 2011 that it would cost about $6 million to complete the Dorchester section of the trail.

In the Mattapan/Milton section of the trail, the most expensive of the three segments estimated in 2011 to cost more than $10 million, DCR still needs to complete 1.5 miles of trail. DCR proposed to build a bridge that would connect the Mattapan and Milton communities as well as a bridge that would help residents cross over the Mattapan Trolley tracks and connect it to the lower section of the corridor.

The money for the Hyde Park section, the smallest of the three sections, would fill in the trail near the Martini Shell on Truman Parkway, with a half-mile off-street route for bikes and pedestrians as well as improved on-street routes for bikes. DCR estimated in 2011 that the section would cost about $2 million dollars to complete.

Currently DCR and MassDOT are working to file the application and organize letters of support which they are hopeful will show the USDOT the real value of the project.

“We're hopeful because we think this is a tremendous project for the community and by teaming with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation we greatly increase our chances with the FedDOT,” said Lambert in a statement. “This partnership states to the DOT that the Greenway is a part of the states larger efforts in transportation planning for all modes of travel. One of MassDOT’s priorities is completion of the BayState Greenway.”

The final day to apply for the grant is March 19.

The USDOT will announce the recipients of the grants June 1.

If DCR does receive the grant, it plans to begin construing of the Hyde Park section in August, the Mattapan/Milton section in March 2013 and the Dorchester section in June 2013, with all work completed in fall 2014.

Partners for the project included the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Stop & Shop, National Grid and the Boston Natural Areas Network.

For more information about the project, visit DCR’s project page.
Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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