Trail News

Year in Review: New Funding Sources, Partnerships, and Progress in Lynn Shape 2016

By Peter Sutton Bike to the Sea, Inc. Board Member

From new funding sources and partnerships to several high-profile events, 2016 marked another banner year for Bike to the Sea and the Northern Strand Community Trail (NSCT).

People look up at the mural along the trail in Lynn.
Bike to the Sea worked with a Lynn neighborhood group and Raw Art Works on the mural project.

With the existing 7.5 miles of continuous trail now open through Everett, Malden, Revere and Saugus, steady progress was made with the city of Lynn in developing the final section there.  In September, the first annual Community Day Bash opened the first path section in Lynn with an unveiling of a large mural, designed and painted by teens at Raw Art Works.

Other memorable events this year included Bike to the Sea Day in June, with more than 130 riders participating; the Bike to the Sea and Town of Saugus hosting a packed forum in March highlighting the trail’s value as a non-motorized regional network and its potential benefits to elected officials, municipal staff and advocates throughout all five communities.

In addition, The Baker-Polito Administration through the Department of Conservation and Recreation once again awarded Bike to the Sea a $50,000 Recreational Trails grant earmarked for further improvements to the Saugus segment of the trail. The NSCT was also one of only a handful of projects to be awarded funding from the Solomon Foundation - champions of Greater Boston's parks and greenways, and its unique contribution to the quality of urban life.

Highlights by Town:


Development of the Wynn Resorts Casino took a step forward in 2016 and with it, funding to study the extension of the NSCT to the existing and proposed network of trails along the Mystic River.  A $150,000 grant awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will study the potential extension of the trail for recreational use as well as casino and shopping access.

Bicyclists in front of Night Shift Brewing in Everett.
This year's Fall Colors Ride started and ended at Night Shift Brewing in Everett.

This year’s Fall Colors Ride was also a huge success – co-sponsored by Night Shift Brewing with more than fifty riders taking part.

The paved trail also continues to act as a catalyst for new development, with a 200-unit residential development completed on Waters Avenue as well as the arrivals of Bone-Up Brewing Co. and Short Path Distillery - two new additions to the burgeoning “fermentation district.” A new ADA-accessible ramp was also constructed at the end of Norman Street providing direct access from these fine establishments to the trail.  Stop by and sample some locally-sourced craft brews or spirits at the end of your next ride.


The city continued to leverage the path as a key asset in unlocking further development, with new housing and retail being constructed trailside through Malden Center.

The NSCT also had a ripple effect in raising awareness for one of Malden’s other great recreational assets - the Malden River, with most not even realizing the close proximity of the two resources – only 400 feet apart at Canal Street.

Bike to the Sea began partnering with various advocacy groups, the Friends of the Malden River, the Mystic River Watershed Association and the Solomon Foundation, helping to solidify future greenway planning along the river.

The Malden Community Garden between Faulkner and Bryant Streets expanded its footprint to nearly double its former size, and nearby a new street connection to the trail was established at Harding Lane.

Last but not least, Mayor Gary Christenson formally established the city’s Complete Streets Task Force, potentially providing up to $400,000 of MassDOT funding worth of upgrades to bicycle, pedestrian and transit improvements including potential upgrades to the trail.  Bike to the Sea Project Manager Clay Larsen was one of the first appointments to the task force, bringing his expertise in planning and design to make for a safer, better-connected Malden.


A man sprays seeds along the trail in Revere.
Hydroseeding (above) and a wildflower garden were planted along the trail in Revere to help control erosion near the Rumney Marsh.

The Baker-Polito Administration through the Department of Conservation and Recreation once again awarded Bike to the Sea a $50,000 Recreational Trails grant earmarked for further improvements to the Revere and Saugus segments of the trail.

Tasks included updates to trail entrance gateways, trail shoulder improvements and tree work, installation of signs and park benches and training and use of community youth corps and volunteers for trail clean-up events, maintenance and plantings.

Grant funding was put to great use regarding all aspects of trail development this past year on the one-mile segment that skirts Rumney Marsh.  The most visible feature to the NSCT infrastructure came in the installation of a pedestrian-activated rectangular rapid-flash beacon where the trail crosses Salem Street.

Cyclists and pedestrians now have a far safer crossing along this busy stretch of roadway due to the new high-visibility strobe-like warning to drivers.  Security gates were also installed at this location to prevent any motorized vehicles from accessing the trail illegally.

Hydroseeding - a planting process that uses a slurry of seed and mulch - was deployed as an erosion control technique along the path in addition to routine maintenance grading.  Wildflower meadow installation also took place along portions of the trail to complement the existing marshland surrounding the area.  Benches were also installed to take in the sweeping views for all to enjoy.


Flags and people flanked a podium on the Saugus portion of the trail.
A trail dedication to Purple Heart recipients was held in Saugus.

On March 18, 2016, for the first time in ten years, more than forty residents, advocates and officials from all five municipalities of the trail assembled in the town library to discuss plans for completing the trail in Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus and Lynn.

Elected officials in attendance – including State Senator Thomas M. McGee  –  supported extending the trail through Lynn to Nahant Beach, while a presentation given by MassBike highlighted the trail’s potential draw as an economic catalyst and job creator.

Other notable enhancements made this past year included trail mileage markers being installed by a local Boy Scout troupe.  Lastly, over the summer Saugus honored Purple Heart recipients by dedicating a portion of the trail to them on Sunday, August 7, 2016. Veterans – including Bike to the Sea board member Gus Fish - attended the ceremony and were honored for their military service.


(This video tells the story of Bike to the Sea's involvement with the Lynn community to use art to draw attention to trail efforts there.)

Bike to the Sea made great advances this past year with local public officials and neighborhood advocates in laying the necessary groundwork for future developments. A major milestone of this ongoing effort was the first annual Lynn Community Day Bash held in September.

Bike to the Sea coordinated with the local community group, One Community, One Voice,  in the unveiling of a large trailside mural, designed and painted by teens at Raw Art Works.  The mural resides on Neptune Court along the first open path section in Lynn - the future route of the NSCT/ West Lynn Community Path.

At the invitation of Mayor Kennedy, the Solomon Foundation then advised the Community Development office and civic leaders on how to undertake a planning study for the West Lynn Community Path.  It is hoped that sufficient funding can be identified for this process to move forward in 2017.

Bike to the Sea’s end of the year annual meeting – hosted by the Lynn Museum - was also notable as being the largest, most well-attended event in the group’s 25 year history!  More than 75 attendees enjoyed a potluck dinner learning how future trail development could improve Lynn’s economy and public health.  The meeting also featured the expertly-crafted mini-documentary “An Artful Alliance” by Bike to the Sea webmaster Mark Micheli.

Revere Section of Trail Now Open

(March 15, 2016) The missing link in the Northern Strand Trail opened in the spring of 2015. The Revere segment of the trail connects four miles of paved trail in Malden and Everett with 2.5 miles of trail in Saugus. All that remains in Bike to the Sea's goal of creating a trail to the beaches in Revere, Lynn and Nahant is extending the trail from Saugus through Lynn. The city of Lynn has not yet approved those plans. The city of Malden helped connect the end of the Malden portion of the trail to the beginning of the Revere section by creating a paved path through Linden Square. The one-mile stretch of trail in Revere runs along the edge of the Rumney Marsh and features scenic vistas of the natural landscape. Work to improve the trail at the intersection of Salem Street was done by the city of Revere and Bike to the Sea. Funding from DCR Recreational Trails Grant B2C helped remove old train tracks and install new curbing there to make the area safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Plans to add fencing and a map kiosk will help transform the intersection from an industrial site into a small greenway. Iron Horse Preservation Society worked in Revere removing railroad ties from the old rail bed. The trail was graded, then topped with a layer of recycled asphalt, followed by a smooth layer of stone dust. There are no immediate plans to pave this section or the section of the trail in Saugus. -------------------------------------------------------------
[LATEST UPDATE, 10/18/2013: Much progress was made over the summer on the Everett, Malden and Saugus sections of the Northern Strand Trail. The trail from Everett through Malden, a 4.1-mile stretch from West and Wellington streets in Everett to Linden Square in Malden, was paved.  Iron Horse Preservation completed the surfacing of the Saugus section of the trail. The first community garden was also built along the trail in Malden, between Faulkner and Bryant streets. Work on the Revere portion of the trail is expected to begin in the spring of 2014. Meanwhile, the city of Lynn still has to approve the trail.]

It’s Official: 3.1 Miles of Trail Now Open in Malden

Officials pose at a ribbon cutting ceremony near Linden Square in Malden. Malden officials made it official at a ribbon cutting ceremony near Linden Square on Saturday, Dec. 1. The Malden portion of the Northern Strand Trail is officially open. Check out the video (of the Malden portion of the trail):


A long wooden bridge was built over the Saugus River.
A 110-foot long bridge was built over the Saugus River, thanks to help from partner Iron Horse.


eBay Foundation Donates $5K For Trail

The money will go towards developing the trail through Revere. The eBay Foundation considered several applications before choosing Bike to the Sea to win the award.


Malden Soon To Have 3 Miles of Continuous Trail

A yellow bollard stands out on the trail.
Bollards, crosswalks and safety signs are being installed this Fall on the Malden section of the Northern Strand trail.
The blocked section of trail near Maplewood in Malden will be opened up this fall (2012) so Malden will have a continuous three miles of trail. Many thank to the Mayors office and the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) for moving this critical issue forward and Beth Debski for her hard work on the trail! See announcement below. Mayor Christenson, "I am pleased to share some very exciting news with you about the Bike to the Sea trail. As you know, the MRA has been working closely with DEP and EPA to develop a plan to construct the trail through the contaminated parcel located behind Papa Gino’s at Maplewood Street. I was just informed that both DEP and EPA have approved the City’s construction plan for this area which will allow us to have 3 miles of a continuous trail through the City. "Construction will begin next week and should be completed by the end of October. Work will include the placement of 12 inches of material over the existing tracks and the installation of fencing on both sides of the path. The path will be 12 feet wide in this area with 3 foot shoulders on either side of the path. I have authorized funding through the City’s Chapter 90 allocation. Once construction is complete, I will schedule a formal ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of this long-awaited project. "In the meantime, please feel free to share this news with your constituents and members of Bike to the Sea. Thank you to Beth Debski for staying on this issue since it was identified way back when." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saugus Bike to the Sea Trail Project Almost Finished

A black trail through a green forest.
A portion of the trail in Saugus, Mass.
Bike to the Sea Project Manager Clay Larsen told the Lynn Item last month that he's hoping to finish the 2 1/2-mile trail in Saugus in "about a month." The path starts at the Revere Line near Salem Street and goes past the Anna Parker Playground, past the Belmonte Middle School, through Central Street to Chute Brook and out to Boston Street. Read more about the project in the Lynn Item.

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