Federal Grant To Help Connect Chelsea and East Boston

A $2.5 million federal grant from the US DOT’s Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grants Program will help reconnect Chelsea and East Boston by path along Chelsea Creek. “The funded project, titled Greening Chelsea Creek, will reconnect Chelsea and East Boston with an accessible, family-friendly path that both traverses physical barriers, links disconnected active transportation networks, and future-proofs new bus routes,” stated City Manager Fidel Maltez. With the grant award, Maltez said the city will be able to examine how to connect the existing Mary Ellen Welch Greenway in East Boston with the existing Chelsea Greenway, and with the proposed multi-use path/flood barrier on Eastern Avenue. That project is currently in the early stages of design. “Today, the greenways already connect dozens of points of interest, including waterfront and inland parks, schools, affordable housing, libraries, neighborhood shopping, community centers, bus and subway stations, and the limited number of supermarkets in Chelsea and East Boston,” stated Maltez. “Our community is deeply connected to East Boston by cultural, social, and economic ties. Residents, employees, and visitors frequently travel between our communities to reach major job centers, including Logan Airport, connect to essential bus and subway services, and access a high density of business, housing, and cultural and recreational resources.” Maltez said connecting the paths is also an opportunity to make substantial advancements in the communities’ resilience to climate change, noting that Eastern Avenue is a critical regional transportation corridor that is currently a major flood pathway in the city. “As sea levels rise and extreme storms become more common, the threat of significant flooding from Chelsea Creek will only grow,” stated Maltez. “Chelsea and East Boston are difficult to navigate between when traveling by foot, bike, or public transit. Chelsea Street and the Chelsea Street Bridge carries significant motor vehicle, transit, and freight traffic, are missing links in the growing high-comfort walking and biking network and are not designed to accommodate existing and proposed high-frequency bus services or growth in traffic.” Creating new walking, biking, and transit connections while also balancing critical freight needs, will become increasingly important in the coming years as traffic through Chelsea continues to grow, Maltez added. “We look forward to advancing this project in partnership with the City of Boston and the BPDA, and look forward to a future where our communities are more closely connected and prepared to withstand the hazards of climate change,” said Maltez.

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