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Groundbreaking for $1 Million Cochituate Rail Trail in Framingham

The $1 million Trail Project was made possible by a Massachusetts transportation bond bill, and is expected to be completed in 2015.

The $1.06 million project is funded by 80 percent federal and 20 percent state funds and is expected to be completed in 2015. Credit: Nichol M. Figueiredo
The $1.06 million project is funded by 80 percent federal and 20 percent state funds and is expected to be completed in 2015. Credit: Nichol M. Figueiredo

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was in Framingham Thursday morning to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Cochituate Rail Trail in Framingham. 

The 1.4 mile trail along an abandoned railroad right-of-way will extend from School Street to Route 30 at the Natick town line and connect a proposed residential development, the Natick Collection, TJX Corporate headquarters driveways and two MetroWest Regional Transit Authority bus routes.

“By connecting homes with business, retail and transit, the Cochituate Trail will provide a healthy option that boosts economic growth and enhances quality of life," said Patrick.

The $1.06 million project is funded by 80 percent federal and 20 percent state funds made available by legislative approval and Governor Patrick’s signing in April of the 2014 Transportation Bond Bill to invest in road, bridge, transit, trail and other critical transportation projects across the Commonwealth.

Thursday's groundbreaking for the multi-use trail occurs as Massachusetts celebrates Bay State Bike Week, Saturday, May 10 through Sunday, May 18, a nationally-recognized statewide event to encourage bicycling as a fun, healthy, safe and sustainable travel choice.

“It is fitting that we celebrate this multi-use trail during our extremely successful Bike Week celebration,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “We are demonstrating once again our commitment to a statewide goal of tripling the share of travel by bicycling, transit and walking.”

Framingham has completed grading and sewer installation along the trail. The final work on the Cochituate Rail Trail includes paving of the trail along with sidewalk construction, curbing, fences, bollards, benches, guard rail, landscaping and at-grade warning beacons. The trail will be ADA accessible. Completion of the project is scheduled for April 2015.

“The Cochituate Rail Trail will connect commuters, shoppers and students to MetroWest businesses and recreation,” said Sen. Karen Spilka, who represents Framingham “This is another terrific example of our commitment in the legislature to smart, sustainable transportation projects that increase access to the community and encourage people to get outdoors and be active. I am pleased that this trail will provide another transportation option for MetroWest, while attracting more visitors to this beautiful area.”

"The Cochituate Rail Trail is an investment in the quality of life of Framingham residents," said Rep. Tom Sannicandro, one of Framingham's three state representatives. "The trail will provide healthy transportation alternatives that also benefit our environment. I am proud that the Legislature and the Patrick administration worked together to make this project a reality while ensuring it's cost effective for Massachusetts tax payers."

“Today's transportation options cannot be all about the automobile, sitting in a car in stalled traffic is too huge a waste of both time and resources,” said Rep. Chris Walsh, who represents Framingham and a long-time advocate for walking trails in Framingham. “The residents of the Commonwealth need a diverse and multifaceted set of alternatives to keep our communities moving and viable. These options must include high quality pedestrian and bike ways like this Cochituate rail trail which taken together with the new aqueduct trails will became the basis of a healthier, smarter system for recreation and transportation.”

“Framingham’s vision for transportation orientated development (TOD) has another spoke in its wheel with the addition of the Cochituate Rail Trail currently connecting Framingham neighborhoods to some of our largest employers, many natural resources including the Weston Aqueduct, and the Golden Triangle area,” said Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin. “Exciting future connections linking the MBTA will only reinforce our ability to provide alternate means of transportation and to reduce vehicle traffic in and around Framingham.”

The Cochituate Rail Trail project reflects MassDOT’s GreenDOT initiative to incorporate sustainability into all activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. This law requires an economy-wide 2020 emissions reduction mandate of between 10 and 25 percent toward a required 80 percent reduction by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts.

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Editor's Note: Originally posted on May 15. Updated with photos. Updated second time for Friday's newsletter.

chuck matzker May 16, 2014 at 09:07 AM
The more bike and multi-use recreational trails we have in Framingham and the surrounding communities, the better our collective quality of life will be. After living in many communities around the country with successful bike trails, I've found a real sense of community stewardship exists that brings vibrancy and life to an increasingly impersonal world. Seeing this groundbreaking, and additionally the Bruce Freeman rail trail, will keep Framingham vital well into the future.
Johnie Fische and the chips May 16, 2014 at 01:24 PM
If they did the tracks from framingham through sherborn I could ride my bike to work...but recently they filled in an underpass on Eliot street..so that wont ever happen.
ron king May 16, 2014 at 09:53 PM
Hope this gets some of the homeless out of the woods in that area...for I can for see it as a better access to the nearest dumpster for the diver.
It's amazing how long it takes for these projects to get completed. This rail trail has been in the works for well over 10 years, and it's sad to me that there is no credit given here to volunteers like Mark Lamkin, or designees from the Friends of Saxonville, who have invested over a decade of their time to see this project through.
Susan Petroni May 16, 2014 at 11:20 PM
Charlene: Thanks for pointing out the work by Friends of Saxonville and Mark Lamkin. I did not know about their work with the project.

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