On April 3rd, city council members, as well as those employed by MBTA services, discussed the possibility of a new bike path built near Oak Grove station as well as the reconstruction of the station. The bike path proposed would be built next to Banks Place, on the Malden-Melrose city line.
This idea was brought to the attention of the City of Malden after the MBTA filed a Notice of Intent related to the reconstruction of the Oak Grove Station and the adjacent road with Malden's Conservation Commission.
The Malden Conservations Commission's role is as “the official agency specifically charged with the protection of a community's natural resources." (https://www.maccweb.org/page/AboutConCommMA). The Conservation Commission is involved due to the planned location of the path being “25 feet riverfront area and the 100 feet buffer zone from the Spot Pond Brook,” according to Malden City Councillor Ryan O’Malley. The Spot Pond Brook is the “main tributary of the Malden River,” said O’Malley.
The ideal goal of the meeting was to make the Commonwealth aware that “the Malden community wants to construct a shared use walking and biking path along the Spot Pond Brook,” according to O’Malley.
Multiple councillors and organizations have already submitted letters in support of the construction of the new path, including Malden councillors Ryan O'Malley, Debbie DeMaria, Stephen Winslow, Barbara Murphy and Craig Spadafora, the Mystic River Watershed Association, Friends of the Malden River, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and two Melrose Alderpersons.
According to Holly Palmgren, the MBTA’s Manager of Environmental Construction, says that a major obstacle that Malden has to overcome is for “the City to reach out to DCR regarding the bike path and for us to look at implementing some type of stormwater infiltration swale in the landscaped area at the station.” She also mentions that the biggest question the city still needs to answer is whether it has “the ability to install an infiltration swale.”
The bike path, as well as other upgrades to Oak Grove station, is believed to provide Malden citizens with “a safer, more accessible station for users,” says Palmgren.
The next step that the city has to take for this issue is to conduct a proposal for the bike path as well as have the MBTA present any stormwater infiltration swales that could be installed. The main job for the stormwater infiltration is to allow practitioners to address water quality and quantity. After the issues are presented and addressed, the last step is to wait for a vote from the Commission that could either approve or disapprove of the improvements project at Oak Grove.