Boston's Morning Newsletter
One last Green Line Extension delay: Missing link in 50-mile bike path network slated to open this spring
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What a wild weekend of Boston sports finishes — from the incredible yes!-no!-yes! final seconds of the Celtics’ win to the Red Sox’s first spring training game, which ended in a tie, bottom of the ninth, two out, full count… pitch clock strikeout?
Even the Revs kicked off their 2023 season with a last-minute game-winning goal, and the Bruins sealed their victory with a goalie goal.
Today also is expected to end with an exciting finish: snow! Meteorologist Danielle Noyes says the flakes will start falling late tonight, hitting most of Massachusetts with between 3 to 8 inches. So, get ready for shoveling and a slow commute tomorrow morning. Check out these maps for the exact timing and expected snow totals.
Nearly a year since the Green Line Extension first opened, Somerville and Medford are now enjoying the full benefits of two trolley branches featuring six new stops. But there’s one part of the long-awaited project that remains a wait, especially for local cyclists and foot commuters: the extension of Somerville’s community path.
- The 1.7-mile project, which will run along the GLX’s Medford branch from central Somerville to East Cambridge, is the missing link between dozens of miles of multi-use Charles River paths and the Minuteman Bikeway, as well as Alewife and Mystic River paths. When it opens, the extension will create a nearly 50-mile continuous network of paved, off-road paths — connecting Bedford to downtown Boston to Waltham. It even includes a 50-foot-high bridge with sweeping views above the train tracks.
- Its completion — much like the larger GLX project — has been an exercise in patience. MBTA officials said last summer that it would open “when trolley service begins on the Medford branch” this past December. That didn’t happen. Somerville officials then pegged the opening for this February. But now, the T says it’s aiming for this “spring.” (In a recent meeting, Somerville planner Viola Augustin said that means “most likely” later than March.)
- What’s the hold up? The T hasn’t explained why the date keeps getting pushed back, but Somerville officials say there’s still some “weather-dependent” construction left. Additionally, the two sides have been working to finalize a legal agreement on who exactly is responsible for the path’s upkeep.
- One more thing: Even when the new path does open, Augustin says one stretch by the Gilman Square T stop will remain closed for up to “a year or more” due to construction at Somerville High School. They’re planning a temporary bike lane detour.
For the first time today, Worcester police will work with a new piece of apparel on their uniforms: body cameras. Following a narrow 2019 pilot program, officials say that 300 officers will now be outfitted with body cameras and all have been trained how to use them.
- The rules require that officers turn on the cameras during traffic stops, investigations, 911 call responses, non-emergency calls for service and when ordered by a supervisor, according to MassLive. (Casual conversations with civilians do not have to be recorded.)
- The new program doesn’t go as far as some advocates hoped. Patch reports that several ACLU recommendations were left out.
- Go deeper: A major 2021 study found police body cameras led to a meaningful drop in use of force and complaints against police. However, the equipment remains the exception in Massachusetts.
Heads up: Gov. Maura Healey is expected to unveil her first budget proposal this week, after what’s been a back-and-forth, months-long process with members of the State House. WBUR’s Steve Brown reports the $50 billion plan will include unprecedented investments in the state’s Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which helps developers incorporate green tech into building projects.
- Go deeper: The proposal is also expected to include funding for free community college for people older than 25, as well as a boost in local aid and state funding for K-12 schools. Dig into Brown’s full preview of Healey’s budget proposal here.
- What’s next: Healey may also unveil her tax relief plan this week — and her office says she’ll make a “major affordability announcement” this morning in Lynn. Related? We’ll see.
P.S.— Tune in to Radio Boston this morning at 11 a.m. for our monthly segment with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. And if you have questions for her, don’t hesitate to ask. Tweet them to @RadioBoston or text BOSTON to 617-766-0382.