On Saturday the Greenway Extensions Committee hosted a Halloween-themed Open House to collect feedback and share information about the future extension of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway to Winthrop. The Greenway Extensions Committee includes the Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, Bike Winthrop, Friends of Belle Marsh, and AIR, Inc.
This multi-site open house included four stations situated along the potential route from Orient Heights to Winthrop and gave participants the opportunity to talk to Greenway members, bike to Winthrop, and meet the project team.
The stations included Orient Heights, Saratoga Street by CVS, Bayswater Street near Constitution Beach, and Morton Street at Belle Isle Marsh Marine Ecology Park entrance in Winthrop.
Saturday’s Open House is part of a six-month “Feasibility Study” planning process for the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway extension to Winthrop that is overseen by an Extensions Committee and led by the Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. Kittleson and Weston & Sampson are the consultants working on this study.
Last year 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 has been long supported by the Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.
Recently, the group began engaging residents 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.
This summer there was a community survey completed by over 500 people, including Winthrop and East Boston residents of all ages, where 30 percent of the respondents were youth.
Survey highlights included:
• 76% would use the greenway for walking; 50% would use it for recreational biking
• 55% would use the greenway just for recreation; 35% would use it for both recreation and transportation
• 41% ranked separation from cars as the mos- important feature desired
• 56% ranked existing parks, beaches, and nature trails as the most-desired connection
“This fall the project team will continue to build on this work to join community meetings to discuss the proposed Greenway extension to Winthrop and collect additional feedback,” said Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway coordinator Michelle Moon. “The Greenway extension to Winthrop will connect people for both recreation and transportation between the communities. There are several other Greenway Extensions to Revere and Chelsea that have also been identified as opportunities to build out a regional greenway network that connects people to local beaches as well as transit.”
Funding for this work is from the State 2019 budget for a Feasibility Study for a Greenway extension to the Belle Isle Marsh Trails and Boardwalks in Winthrop from the Orient Heights MBTA Blue Line station, which was led by Rep. Madaro and supported by Speaker Robert DeLeo and Sen. Joe Boncore.