<- Artist's rendition of new crossing over the Charles River in Newton Lower Falls.
This conversion of an unused and dangerous old railroad bridge in Newton Lower Falls to a pedestrian-friendly facility has created a walkable green space environment to residents, plus access to trails on DCR land along both sides of the Charles River. In addition, a near-term mixed use retail development on the Wellesley side would become attractive as a walking destination for Newton Lower Falls residents. Easy pedestrian access over the bridge also reduces traffic and parking congestion in the area. Our proposals to the CPC helped fund these improvements and landscaping of the bridge and its approaches from Concord Street in Newton to Washington Street in Wellesley.
The BPTF partnered on this project with the Newton Conservators, the Wellesley Natural Resources Committee, the CRWA, and the DCR, and worked hard to advance this project toward construction in 2010. Work continues on the path on the Wellesley side of the bridge.
Newton Lower Falls bridge
On May 8, 2012, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the bridge to commemorate and officially thank the many people whose involvement and persistence led to the renovation and made the bridge and trail open to the public. Here's a brief article in the Newton Patch with a video:
Among the many attendees at the opening ceremony:
Newton State Rep. Kay Khan, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Mass. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan, Mass. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, Newton Aldermen Deb Crossley, Vicky Danberg, and Marcia Johnson; Wellesley Selectboard chair Barbara Searle.
The Newton TAB also provided coverage:
We're very proud to acknowledge recognition (along with State Representative Kay Khan) by the Newton Conservators for the completion of the Lower Falls bridge project.
The bridge is decked, the railings up, and is usable. Plans for the spring include a crosswalk at Concord St. and some amount of finishing of the pathway leading up to the bridge on each side.
Construction on the bridge has started. Over the past week, the old timber decking of the bridge has been removed. New decking will be installed, the abutments sandblasted, and then painted. Assuming the weather is cooperative, this should be done in about three weeks (mid-November).
<- Here's the old railroad bridge
In December 2008, George Kirby, chair of the Newton Bicycle/Pedestrian Task Force, explained the goals, future plans, and benefits of the construction of a rail-trail bridge and associated path in Newton Lower Falls:
On January 14, 2009, a proposal was made to the Newton Community Preservation Committee (CPC), detailing the location, need, current conditions, and timing for the project. Goals, funding, plans and status are all listed here:
The BPTF is working with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Newton Preservation Committee (CPC), and the Newton Conservators to convert a former rail bridge over the Charles River at Newton Lower Falls to a greenway for pedestrian and bicycle access. We are also advocating for the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail from Newton south to Needham, Dover, and Medfield, creating an off-road “rail trail” greenway that could rival the tremendously popular Minuteman Trail through Lexington.
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