Increasing access & connectivity
Parks and paths along the Mystic are fragmented and disconnected from the dense nearby neighborhoods. Regional transportation, industrial and energy facilities located along the Mystic walled-off the Mystic River and its riverfront parks. As a result, residents have limited access to the kind of high-quality green spaces that have been proven to improve health and well-being.
Communities in the Mystic River watershed have the lowest open space access per capita, contain the highest amounts of impervious surfaces (parking lots, roads and buildings ) and are the most densely populated in the state. These inequitable conditions are putting our community members’ health at risk. This is especially true for vulnerable populations, people of color, recent immigrants and those with low-to moderate incomes; this group makes up a significant portion of the more than 500,000 people that live in the watershed.
Benefits of Greenways
The power of parks and paths to transform the health and emotional well-being of community members is well documented. High quality greenways have been demonstrated to increase physical activity and support active transportation, in turn reducing obesity and improving mental health. Beyond the direct health benefits, parks and paths are important to build more resilient communities as open space and new green infrastructure retains stormwater, and absorbs heat and pollution. Safe, comfortable greenways for walking and biking will have a leveling effect across the watershed, bringing environmental and public health benefits.
Through our Mystic Greenways Initiative, MyRWA is working to address inequities and transform disconnected and neglected waterfront spaces into a world-class active transportation and recreation system. Learn more below.
For more greenways and environmental justice information, explore the 2018 Tufts Urban and Environmental Planning Field Study: Growing the Mystic Greenways.