Sunday, December 15, 2013

Urban Aspects. Watertown Branch Rail Trail Conversion.

The Watertown Branch railroad line served the Watertown Arsenal and made a run toward the Waltham border.

It veered away from the Fitchburg Line near Sherman Street in Cambridge and followed Fresh Pond along its eastern side before turning toward Watertown.

Watertown has completed significant parts of a bikeway project and is working on plans to finish a section to Cambridge.

Cambridge has begun to contemplate its part in competing the Fresh Pond to Mount Auburn Street section.

The rail line is initially redundant at Fresh Pond as it has paved bikeways on both sides until it meets the park entry bridge.

But it has a number of advantages once beyond the bridge at the parking lot entrance to Kingsley Park.

It has also become a significant accidental urban wild corridor.

It is a serene verdant run through a canyon-like cut that pretty well obtains to the Watertown border and a grade crossing just south of Mount Auburn Street at Cottage Street.

Watertown has a rough section that extends from Cottage Street to a five way intersection at Arlington Street where the finished Watertown Greenway begins.

From there, it is quality design and implementation all the way to its meeting with the arsenal. It has an interesting and useful rules page that provides an indirect sense of conflict patterns.

One impressive innovation you'll find is the placement of etched system maps on granite posts at key entry points.

There is also retention of old rail line features recall the right of way's past.

It meets the arsenal across the street from a bus stop and some artillery.