Bicyclists and runners already enjoy using parts of the Community Path, but they do not link up in one key area – Watertown Square.
The Town Council’s Public Works subcommittee is exploring ways to create a link between the path that runs along Arsenal Street (and links to the path behind Target) and the one that goes through Saltonstall Park and extends to Waverley Avenue.
East of Mt. Auburn Street
On the eastern end, from Irving Street to Mt. Auburn Street, there are a couple of options, said Councilor Aaron Dushku at last week’s Town Council Meeting. See the drawings here.
The first option would go down Taylor Street, but that would require reconfiguring part of the road. The second would use the former railroad bed, which is currently impassable because the bridge was filled in. This option would pass through multiple privately-owned parcels and would also result in loss of parking spaces behind Dunkin’ Donuts.
West of Mt. Auburn Street
To the west of Mt. Auburn Street there are multiple options, but all of them would result in loss of parking spaces from public lots. It would require a few sections. (See above or click here for more diagrams.)
The first section would be along Baptist Walk (which runs between Mt. Auburn and Spring streets). The path could go on the north or south side, or where the parking island now sits.
The second section goes through municipal parking lot behind CVS.
Dushku said there are several paths through the lot, some of which would require reconfiguring spaces.
The next leg goes from Church Street to Sonny Whooley Way (near the old Police Station). The path would go through the parking area behind the Santander Bank property which is currently be used by the Firefighters and the Central Fire Station.
The last leg would go through the parking lot for the Watertown Free Public Library.
Some residents at the meeting said they would rather see money spent on other things that connecting a bicycle and pedestrian path. Russ Arico of Fayette Street said that the connections exist already – the sidewalks along streets like Summer Street.
“We have got to be prudent,” Arico said. “We have got to fund the needs not the wants.”