Belmont Community Path On The TIP Of A Milestone

Photo: Russell Leino, chair of the Community Path Project Committee at Town Day

Just how important is the vote taking place on Thursday, May 26, for the future of the Belmont Community Path?

Russell Leino, chair of the Community Path Project Committee, used “big” four times – “it’s big, big, big, big” – to describe the pending milestone of securing the money needed to build the first section of the two-mile path bisecting the town between the borders of Cambridge and Waltham.

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization will vote on Thursday to endorse the final version of its Transportation Improvement Program – known as the TIP – which lists the construction projects in eastern Massachusetts it will fund through federal fiscal years 2023 through 2027. And the first section of Belmont’s community path was preliminarily tagged by the MTO back in 2021 for the funding slot in 2026.

By allocating funds to the path, “it says there is a solid belief in the project,” said Leino, as he held down the fort at the Community Path tent on Town Day Saturday, May 21.

A critical link of the 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) from Boston to Northampton, the Belmont path is slated to receive $21 million in federal funds to build Phase 1 of the path from the Clark Street Bridge via Belmont Center and along the commuter rail tracks to the Cambridge border. In addition to the path, a pedestrian tunnel under the commuter tracks from Alexander Avenue into the new Middle and High School campus leading to Concord Avenue makes up Phase 1.

A “yes” vote on Thursday “means our our community’s interests are aligned with the state’s interest and with the feds interest. That means everybody is working together to make this make this a reality,” said Leino, who has been leading the effort to build the path from it’s first rough concept up to a working design.

The path has also received a big push from residents: at the end of a three-week comment period on May 22, the MPO received 35 letters in support, two letters in opposition and an online petition in support with 707 signatures.

While a favorable vote by the MPO on the Belmont Community Path is anticipated, there remains a great deal of work remaining for the committee, town and Nitsch Engineering – which is leading the design work – to complete as the clock begins ticking on Thursday.

“We’re at 25 percent design completion, which is a preliminary design right now. We’ve got to progress all the way to 100 percent design in just about four years,” he noted. “It’s a long road ahead. There’s lots of work for our committee to do and for the town to do to make sure the design is finalized. “

“But Thursday’s vote is just a huge step. I can’t understate how important this is,” said Leino.

Updated Design Presentation Of Community Path Set For Thursday, Nov. 4

Photo: The location of the design presentation of the Belmont Community Path

The Belmont Community Path Project Committee invites residents and the public to join the Town of Belmont’s design consultant Nitsch Engineering for a public presentation (via Zoom webinar) of the 25 percent design plans for the Phase 1 of the Belmont Community Path on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m

Phase 1 of the Community Path will extend from the end of the existing Fitchburg Cutoff Path at Brighton Street on the Cambridge line through Belmont Center Station and to the existing Clark Street Pedestrian Bridge at Pleasant Street, and will include a spur at Alexander Avenue connecting the Winn Brook neighborhood to the Belmont High School and Middle School and Concord Avenue via a tunnel under the MBTA Fitchburg Line. 

Phase 1 of the Belmont Community Path has been determined by the state to be eligible for Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) funding for construction and the submission of the 25 percent design plans to MassDOT (which occurred on Nov. 3) is an important milestone towards securing TIP funding and generally moving the project toward completion. 

During the presentation, the design consultant will walk through the 25 percent design plans, discuss updates to the plans since the draft set of plans were presented in July 2020, discuss next steps for the project (including further opportunities for public input), and answer questions and take comments and feedback on the plans. 

The 25 percent design plans are posted for review at For those who wish to watch the presentation again or for the first time, the event will be recorded by the Belmont Media Center.

Community Path Public Meeting Set For Thursday, July 16, 7PM

Photo: The community path in Belmont

The Belmont Community Path Project Committee is holding a remote public information meeting Thursday, July 16 with the the town’s engineering consultant Nitsch Engineering to go over Phase 1 of the Community Path project.

The meeting will be a presentation by the Boston-based engineering firm regarding the draft 25 percent design plans for the community path, and an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the draft design.

The presentation will include the path from the Clark Street bridge to the Belmont/Cambridge line and the proposed pedestrian tunnel under the MBTA commuter rail tracks at Alexander Avenue.

The CPPC also encourages you to review the draft design plans, which are posted and available for download on Nitsch’s project website at

This important milestone helps the project advance and remain on track to receive funding as part of the state’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., and you can find the agenda and Zoom sign-in information is available on the town’s website:


FOR PARTICIPANTS: The Community Path Project Committee meeting will start at 7:00 P.M. and you may join the meeting remotely starting at 6:50 P.M.  The meeting will also be broadcast and recorded by the Belmont Media Center.



Enter your Full Name under participant if you would like to provide comments and feedback (only those with a name entered will be allowed to comment and provide feedback to the CPPC team)

When prompted by the meeting chair, you can “raise your hand” to be recognized by the meeting host

Comments will be limited by the Chair, shall be concise, and shall not repeat previous comments or questions presented by others before you Chair is not obligated to recognize all comments and may end comment period prior to your comment being heard


  • Dial-in: 1-929-205-6099
  • If you would like to provide comments: press *9 when prompted
  • When the host is ready for you, you will be called on by your phone number or name (when prompted always start by presenting your full name)


  • Channel 8 on Comcast
  • Channel 28 or 2130 on Verizon

Original Meeting Notice MeetingDownload