Connecticut RiverWalk & Bikeway, North


For over 300 years the Connecticut River, the largest river in New England, has been an important natural and cultural resource for its abutting communities and the Commonwealth.  But from the end of the 19th Century and into the 20th Century, industrialization and urbanization have impacted the health and character of the River.  In many locations, access to the River has been impacted by railroad tracks, highways and flood control levees.

Today, many communities are rediscovering their riparian resources and are improving their environment by instilling an appreciation through improved access to and education about the Connecticut River.  As part of a larger effort, the communities of Agawam, Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield and West Springfield, together with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), have developed a plan for a 21 mile pedestrian and bicycle path along the banks of the river.  With the goals of revitalizing the riverfront and improving the quality of life of its residents, this plan promotes numerous user types (strolling, jogging, biking, rollerblading, etc.), provides overlooks and rest stops while connecting each of the communities to the river and one other.  Chicopee has approximately 7 miles of the riverwalk/bikeways in planning stages on both the Connecticut and Chicopee Rivers.

Pedestrian Bridge Concept: Padewerski Street Pumping Station

Pump Station Rendering.jpg

The Project 

The Connecticut Riverwalk & Bikeway, North is located between the Connecticut River and the City-owned Connecticut River flood control levee extending from the Medina Street boat ramp to Nash Field, an overall distance of approximately 2.4 miles. The proposed alignment of the Riverwalk begins at the Medina Street boat ramp and associated parking lot, passes under the Massachusetts Turnpike, over a storm drain discharge channel associated with the Paderewski Street pumping station, then passes by or under two service bridges that provide access to the Jones Ferry Pumping Station discharge gates before terminating at Nash Field. 

The Riverwalk is intended to function as a multi-use trail composed of two parallel paths, a paved path for bikes located at the base of the flood dike on the westerly (river) side and a gravel path located at the top of the dike.  The path at the top of the dike will not expand the footprint of the top of the dike and will not include features that will penetrate into the dike.  Final design plans will also include the design of trail amenities/features: overlooks to the river, way finding signs, parking locations, pathways over the levee to connect neighborhoods to the trails, root barriers, fishing access areas, benches at scenic vistas, bike racks, landscape treatments to protect neighbor privacy as needed, handicapped access, police/emergency access and compensatory flood storage locations.  There will be one (1) bridge that crosses an existing drainage discharge channel at the Paderewski Street pumping station.   

A critical project component involves careful consideration of the adjacent flood control system.  Design of the Riverwalk will account for this facility and must result in no impacts to the system

The intent is for the Project’s construction to be funded by MassDOT through the State Transportation Improvements Program (TIP).  The Project has been accepted by the Project Review Committee and has an assigned estimated construction budget of $3,261,288.00 (as of May 23, 2014).  

A portion of project's design/engineering has been funded under a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities grant to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC).  On-going design work is being supported by the City.