Tag: Lynn

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

February 6, 2019

To Kurt Gaertner
Land Policy and Planning Director
MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

Mr. Gaertner,

Thank you for your continued efforts to develop the Northern Strand Community Trail from the Mystic River to Lynn. We are inspired by the leadership and dedication demonstrated by your team and Governor Baker, and we appreciate your extensive community outreach as the pathway is developed over this coming year.

We would like to comment on the inadequate width of the pathway, as it has been presented by the project team, as a contiguous 10’ width for the entire length. The standards set forth in AASHTO and MassDOT’s own separated path design guidelines recommend 10’ only on low-volume pathways, with a recommendation of 12’-14’ for paths with high pedestrian volumes. Based on current and projected usage of the pathway, we believe the Northern Strand Community Trail should adhere to the standard of 12’-14’, or even potentially exceed that, wherever possible. It is important also to note that these path standards do not take into account the emerging technologies of micro-mobility devices and electric bicycles, which will invariably be used for transportation purposes on the Northern Strand. This goal of widening the pathway is to mitigate conflicts between users, and to plan for the area’s expected growth and development that will bring more people out onto the path in the coming years. We believe that the pathway’s intention is to serve the community and provide safe recreation and transportation options, and thus we implore the EOEEA and the project team to widen the pathway.

The communities served by this pathway are dense residential and commercial areas. The communities of Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn are cities and towns that are developing at an expected growth of more than 12% by 2040 (see: MAPC Population Growth Projections). By comparison, many other regional pathways are already strained in capacity due to their narrow designs, and we see issues of narrowness contributing to user conflicts on the Minuteman Bikeway, the Paul Dudley White Bike Path, and the Southwest Corridor. This pathway is also a crucial corridor for the East Coast Greenway, a contiguous route that connects 15 states with 3,000 miles of trails. We can assume the Northern Strand will receive heavy usage, and we must design and build accordingly to ourprojections.

(Population and Housing Demand Projections for Metro Boston:


Further, as you have heard at every public meeting, the worry about conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers is a widely held concern. A wider pathway means a safer pathway, with more room for more people at varying speeds to maneuver and pass safely. We feel that a 10’ pathway is not sufficient to provide space for two-way walkers, joggers, strollers, and bicyclists to co-exist without conflict. Since safety is of paramount concern, especially as this pathway serves users young and old, we recommend widening the pathway to 12’-14’, or alternatively providing separate spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers where right-of-way allows.

We appreciate how the design and construction of the Northern Strand has a funding limitation set by the Commonwealth’s budget, and this may impact the width of the path by requiring less pavement as a cost issue. However, the cost of additional 2’-4’ of pavement at the onset of construction is considerably less than having to go back and widen the pathway after construction and landscaping has completed. Widening the pathway where possible on Day One only makes financial sense.

Lastly, we should expect the Northern Strand to be used as a commuter route, and thus will have users after dark during the months of October – March (since we live in the Northern Latitudes and the sun sets early in the evening). We ask the project team take into account lighting wherever feasible to provide safe passage for pathway users. Along this argument, we also acknowledge that lighting elements will eventually be installed along certain sections of the pathway, once enough people are using the pathway to provide a safe environment. Thus, we ask that the EOEEA and the project team install conduits for lighting during this initial construction of the pathway where lighting is expected to be installed in the future, to more easily facilitate and lower the cost of installing lighting later on.

We appreciate your consideration of these issues of wider pathway and lighting elements for the Northern Strand. We applaud your team and the leadership for supporting this impactful project, and we look forward to the benefits it will bring the region for better health and wellness, smart growth development, and sustainable transportation connecting these cities and towns.


Galen Mook, Executive Director, MassBike

Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston

Kristine Keeney, New England Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance

Walk Assessment Lynn

Walk Assessment Lynn

The City of Lynn identified several high-priority intersections that are particularly dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. With input from the Mass in Motion program, City officials and the Lynn Police Department, WalkBoston established a walking route that incorporated a section of downtown Lynn including City Hall, the courthouse, Central Square, Lynn Community Health Center, and the Greater Lynn Senior Center. This area sees high volumes of pedestrians conducting business at the courthouse and City Hall, visiting local retail establishments and restaurants, and utilizing the many social service agencies in this district.

Read the full report here:

Nahant Beach Rehabilitation Comment Letter

Nahant Beach Rehabilitation Comment Letter

July 15, 2008

Secretary Ian Bowles
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

RE: Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF) Rehabilitation of Nahant Beach Reservation, City of Lynn/Town of Nahant
MEPA # 14268

Dear Mr. Bowles:

We have reviewed the EENF for the Rehabilitation of Nahant Beach Reservation. As the Commonwealth’s leading advocate for pedestrians and safe walking, we have a responsibility to note projects that affect large groups of pedestrians within the state.

We commend the Department of Conservation and Recreation for their sensitive consideration of the needs of pedestrians who use the beach facilities. The work that has been done will lead to positive improvements in both rehabilitation of the facilities and upgrading to accommodate modern needs and concerns.

The retention and upgrade of the dune-top path that runs the full length of the Reservation will assure access for relatively long-distance walkers while providing a pleasant view and walk experience. New sidewalks within the parking lots and parallel to the Parkway will certainly make the lots safer for pedestrians, making for a pleasant experience for walkers who are being discouraged from taking informal paths across the dunes.

The plan has only one drawback: a fragment of a walk along the Lynn Harbor side of the Reservation is intriguing because it would offer a novel experience for walkers along a distinctly different side of the beach. Financing may prevent current upgrading of the walkway, but, over the long-term, we hope the addition of the harborwalk along the full length of the Reservation will become possible. Perhaps the steps involved in improving the Lynn Harbor side of the Reservation might be designed to accommodate (or not preclude) upgrade of the walkway along the harbor.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Nahant Beach Reservation project. Please feel free to contact us if further questions arise.


Wendy Landman
Executive Director