(Photo courtesy of Ed Brennen) The new Northern Canal Overlook, which was completed this summer, will help enhance the Pawtucket Greenway project.
UMass Lowell is working on a new project called the Pawtucket Greenway. The project will create a shared-use path for walkers and cyclists between UML’s East and South campuses. The path will go across Pawtucket Street. Due to the path’s intended location, the project would improve once the Pawtucket Canal bridge is complete.
“The path would provide an environmentally sustainable alternative for traveling between campuses,” said Adam Baacke, the executive director of planning, design and construction.
The Pawtucket Greenway aims to lessen the impact of greenhouse gases by encouraging the UML community to walk or use bicycles more often.
There are several campuses across Lowell that cover different academic disciplines. UML’s South Campus covers disciplines of the humanities, such as education, and fine arts, while the university’s North Campus is for business and STEM-related majors. UML wants to offer more options for traveling to give students of any major the opportunity to better explore the campuses.
“The project is partly about putting together a more robust experience for students,” said Baacke.
Enhancing UML’s relationship with the community of Lowell is another purpose that he believes Pawtucket Greenway serves.
Baacke said, “The Pawtucket Greenway is like a partnership between UML and the neighborhood.”
Organizations like Coalition for a Better Acre are supportive of Pawtucket Greenway. The organization works on providing Lowell and Merrimack Valley residents with opportunities that relate to finances and housing. They also work with other organizations to develop buildings, create programs and form groups that strengthen distinct causes or communities.
“The community should be partners and advocates for the project,” said Baacke.
The project could also help local businesses and make Lowell’s landscape livelier. Interaction will be an important aspect of the project’s impact. With more people walking and cycling through Pawtucket Street, restaurants and convenience stores can experience an increase in business. Local spots in Lowell should gather more attraction, which would be good for Lowell’s economy.
When it comes to building the path along Pawtucket Street, Baacke said they “must be careful.”
He said, “We need to efficiently use the space and take advantage of our facilities.”
COVID has made Pawtucket Greenway more difficult to plan as well, yet Baacke said he and his team are hopeful. “A good project tends to find support,” he said.
The university will update the UML community about Pawtucket Greenway with more posts in the future. The project is in its initial stages. It has no official design or blueprint. Baacke described Pawtucket Greenway as a “legacy project.”
The project should build on the foundation the university made for its growth. UML has continued to pursue the vision they set back in 2010. The focus of its intentions was on developing the university through strategic planning.