Last year Rep. Adrian Madaro secured $100,000 in the state budget for an engineering, environmental and feasibility study to extend the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway past Constitution Beach to Belle Isle Marsh and eventually to Winthrop and Revere.
Support for the decades-old plan to connect the Greenway with neighborhoods north of Eastie is now gaining some speed and the Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway (FoMEWG) have been circulating an online survey on the future extension.
The survey, which can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MHRNVCQ, asks residents to rate how they would use a future greenway extension.
The group is trying to gauge the number of residents that would use any future extension of the park system for commuting, running, biking, leisurely strolls, walks with family members or simply a route to access businesses and amenities in places like Winthrop or Revere.
The FoMEWG have been working for years on extending the Greenway further to the north to Revere and east to Winthrop, allowing more people to enjoy this amenity and access the open space and safe, beautiful, low-stress corridor for active transportation that it affords.
There are several proposed extensions to the existing Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. Four proposed extensions include:
• Winthrop Extension: Mary Ellen Welch Greenway to Winthrop
• Revere Extension: Constitution Beach to Revere
• Chelsea Creek: Chelsea St to Revere Beach Parkway
• Chelsea Spur: Wood Island Station to Chelsea
The extensions to Winthrop, Revere, and Chelsea would create a regional greenway network like that connects Lynn, Everett, and Malden. With the greenway extensions, residents and visitors alike will be able to walk and bike to beaches, wetlands, and destinations throughout these nearby but currently disconnected communities, while also gaining new levels of access to Eastie and beyond.
Perhaps one of the easiest visions and the one most likely to take the least amount of time in terms of planning and development is the proposed greenway bridge across Belle Isle Marsh into Winthrop.
The vision to create a “Winthrop Greenway” has existed for a couple of decades. There has been a strong interest from East Boston and Winthrop residents, the Greenway Council, Bike Winthrop, the Winthrop Transportation Advisory Committee, and Friends of Belle Isle Marsh to extend the Greenway to Winthrop through an off-road multi-use path.
An extension of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway to Revere is also actively being discussed. The two greenway extensions will need to be connected at Orient Heights Station. The developer of Suffolk Downs, HYM Investment Group, has committed to building the Greenway connection from Constitution Beach via Bennington and Walley Street as a part of the mitigation package for the Suffolk Downs Development. Coordination between the consultants and the community will be beneficial to ensure that extensions link together seamlessly for walkers and bikers.