Greenways 101

Greenway Design Elements

Greenways connect people to parks, jobs, and neighborhood destinations by foot, bike, and other non-motorized means. These off-road, multi-use paths are context sensitive, meaning that they are designed differently depending upon the setting. 


Greenway Types

What makes a greenway? Below are four examples of different greenway types:

A view of a greenway path alongside the Charles River. There are trees in bloom surrounding the path; people are welking and jogging along the path in both directions. In the background is the skyline of Boston.

Park Path, Charles River Park, Boston

Park Path
  • Off-road, shared-use path
  • Follows parkland or waterfront areas
A cyclist bikes along a bike path that is adjacent to and at the same level as the sidewalk, separated from parked cars by tree-lined sidewalk.

Off-Road Path, Binney Street, Cambridge

Off-Road Path
  • Shared-use path
  • Runs parallel to street
  • Often has trees or other landscaped features separating the path from the road
Two people bike through an intersection, one towards the camera and one away from the camera. The street is one-way for cars but has a painted bike lane for people biking against the traffic.

Neighborway, Hancock Street, Somerville

  • Slow, neighborhood streets, treated as 'shared' space
  • Low traffic volume allows people on foot, bikes, and in cars to share the road for low stress connectivity
A bike path along the edge of a street, separated from traffic by a painted divider and some parked cars.

Greenway Connector, Broadway Street, Cambridge

Greenway Connectors
  • One-mile or less connecting roadway
  • Uses wayfinding tools to guide pedestrians and bicyclists between greenway paths