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Locations H, I , J, K, L, M, N in aerial photo

A rather circuitous and hazardous route connects the end of the Minuteman Trail (location G in the aerial photo) with the Linear Park (at the right side of the aerial photo.

The route first makes its way along a one-way eastbound exit roadway just north of the station. Westbound ones need to ride on the sidewalk (left foreground in the photo below), as they would otherwise be riding against traffic. Eastbound bicyclists may ride on the roadway or on the sidewalk.

At the east end of the sidewalk, cyclists make a right-angle turn into a wheelchair-width ramp and  a crosswalk (center of photo). On the south side of the roadway, large granite blocks narrow the entrance to a path along the east side of the public transit station. My understanding is that the purpose of these blocks is largely to prevent motorists from driving on the  path to park behind the station. Like the wheelchair ramp,the opening between the blocks is too narrow to allow bicyclists to pass each other in opposite directions. The potential exists for a bicyclist to be unable to finish crossing  the roadway because another is waiting to enter it.

Crossing from sidewalk to path on east side of Alewife Station

Barrier at Alewife.jpg (33967 bytes)

Crossing viewed from other end

IMG0002 Alewife barrier.jpg (36894 bytes)

The trail shown in the foreground of the photo above continues past the playground of a day-care center behind the station, and ends at a blind corner of the underpass under Alewife Brook Parkway (location I in aerial photo). Day-care personnel indicate that they have witnessed collisions at this corner.

The hazard here could be reduced by placing an open (see-through) barrier along the line between light and shadow that runs across the left foreground of the photo below, so that it would no longer be possible for trail users to turn sharply around the corner.

View of blind corner with day care center playground and parking
garage ramp structure in background.

DSCF0115blind corner.jpg (36911 bytes)

Next, the bicycle route passes through a plaza next to the headhouse of the Red Line subway terminal (location J in aerial photo).  It is hard for people who do not know the area to figure out how to get to the Linear Park (right side of aerial photo) or other destinations; also, the lack of a delineated right-of-way through the row of trees leads to potential confusion and collisions. The photo below looks back toward the station past the headhouse.

Headhouse plaza, looking west toward Alewife Station

DSCF0108headhouse.jpg (38698 bytes)

The photo below looks in the opposite direction along the pedestrian plaza. In the background, you can see the grandstands of an athletic field.

Headhouse plaza, looking east away from Alewife Station

DSCF0110Near headhouse.jpg (36064 bytes)

The photo below looks down the path from north to south, with the athletic field on the left. The path has a three-way intersection here, location K in the aerial photo. Parked adjacent to the intersection is a shipping container, probably used to store athletic equipment. The thoughtless placement of this container (in the right foreground in the photo below) blocks the view around the corner and constitutes an unnecessary hazard.

DSCF0105Storage box.jpg (29018 bytes)

The route between the Minuteman Bikeway and the Linear Park is very circuitous. A shorter route might more or less follow one of the the dotted lines at the top of the aerial photo, more or less along the route of a rail line that formerly connected the rail corridors that have become the Linear Park and the Minuteman Bikeway. It is my opinion that an overpass would be warranted at the Parkway, because a signalized crosswalk would be less safe and would add to the already serious traffic jams in the area.

While the creation of a this route would be expensive, it would make travel on foot or by bicycle between North Cambridge and South Arlington much more practical. The present "pillar to post" route is neither safe nor convenient. An overpass or crosswalk on Alewife Brook Parkway east of Route 2 would also provide access to the parkland on the north side of the Parkway for Cambridge residents.

Rindge Avenue in Cambridge  may be reached by continuing on the path to the left of the blue storage container in the background of photo above. This route is more direct, but there are still problems. The large block shown below is on the most direct route. A much less obstructive and less hazardous barrier would be sufficient to keep motor vehicles off the path.

DSCF0103small.jpg (34455 bytes)

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Contents 2002, John S. Allen ,
May be reproduced, with attribution.