Somerville Community Path Drainage & Retaining Wall Upgrades

Updated 5/31/2019

The Community Path reopened Friday, May 31, boasting shiny new drainage upgrades, an improved retaining wall, new landscaping, and a freshly repaved surface.

One request: Please avoid traveling on the newly planted grass seed :)

Updated 5/3/2019

A section of the Somerville Community Path, from Buena Vista Rd. to Cameron Ave. behind the Davis Square T station, is expected to close on or around Monday, May 13, for the final phase of the Community Path Drainage & Retaining Wall Upgrades project. It’s anticipated to reopen around mid-June.

All cyclists and pedestrians will be detoured for the duration of the closure. Eastbound cyclists can access Davis Square via Cameron Ave. and Holland St. or Massachusetts Ave. and Day St. Westbound cyclists can access Massachusetts Ave. via Meacham Rd. or Dover St. Pedestrians should use Meacham Rd. Detour maps can be find by scrolling down this page.

The bulk of this project was completed last year, when crews upgraded the local drainage infrastructure and repaired a retaining wall to address recurring flooding and improve safety. During the closure this spring, five new trees will be planted, among other landscaping improvements, and this section of the path will be paved to its final condition. 

To stay informed about construction, sign up to receive a weekly email outlining upcoming construction citywide Residents are also encouraged to enroll in the City’s alert system at to ensure they’re notified prior to major detours or disruptive construction activity in their neighborhood.

Updated 4/26/2019

The Somerville Community Path between Buena Vista Rd. and Cameron Ave. is expected to close on or around May 13 through approximately mid-June for the final phase of this project. Crews will make landscape improvements, including adding loam, seeds, and five new trees along this portion of the path, and the path will be paved to its final condition. 

Updated 11/29/2018

As of Thursday, November 29, the Somerville Community Path between Buena Vista Road and the Cambridge City line has been reopened to pedestrians and cyclists. The path has been paved to a useable interim condition for the winter. In the spring, this same section will close once more for about three to six weeks as crews finish the project and pave the path to its final condition. Tree protection will remain in place for the winter. Related drainage work on Thorndike St. is expected to be completed by mid-December.

The Somerville Community Path is set to receive some much-needed upgrades to improve accessibility and public safety, thanks in part to funding from the Community Preservation Act. To accommodate this work, the section of the Community Path between the Davis Square MBTA station and the Cambridge city line will be closed to bikers and pedestrians.


Community path detour map

  • Project Overview


There are two main components to this work: drainage improvements and retaining wall repairs.

The existing drainage system within this section of the Somerville Community Path hasn’t been able to manage even average rainfall. Upon investigation, two catch basins were found to be failing, which is why the Community Path has been prone to flooding. To address this issue, crews will install two new catch basins and tie them directly into the City’s drainage system within Thorndike Street.

Along the southern end of the path, workers will also restore a wooden retaining wall, which has deteriorated over time. In this section, the path lies about 5 feet below the private properties that border it, so the existing wall was installed to hold back the soil and make way for the path. The wall will be updated with new structural reinforcement and a new concrete facing wall, which will go over the existing timber retaining wall.

Final surface restoration work will consist of repaving the existing path from the Cambridge city line to Buena Vista Rd. This will also include a brick walkway and sidewalk restoration, and loam and seeding as needed to account for any damage during construction.

Construction Timeline

In total, the project is expected to last through early September, and the path will be repaved to a final condition in November, though an interim pavement layer will be installed at the completion of the project for the duration of the winter. The project will include replacement of catch basins as well as the installation of new sections of drain pipe along this section of the Path. Additionally, the retaining wall in this area will be upgraded during construction. Work hours for this project will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m., unless otherwise noted. While work is being conducted to the retaining wall on the south side of the path, contractors do not anticipate needing access to private properties, though all abutters will be notified prior to the start of work in November.

Community path detour map


  • During construction, pedestrians will be detoured to Meacham Rd.
  • Cyclists traveling east can access Davis Square via Cameron Ave. to Holland St. or Massachusetts Ave. to Day St.
  • Cyclists traveling west can access Massachusetts Ave. via Meacham Rd. or Dover St.

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