New Bedford Announces Blue Lane to Connect City Pathways
NEW BEDFORD—Mayor Jon Mitchell and other city officials announced Thursday the creation of The Blue Lane, a path that will connect New Bedford like never before.
The 11-mile span will connect the HarborWalk and CoveWalk along the South End peninsula all the way across the city to the planned RiverWalk on the banks of the Acushnet River in the North End.
"All of these fragments, the existing bike path in the South End, we had all the elements of an integrated corridor, and we thought it made all the sense in the world to integrate all of that and to brand it," Mitchell said. "We want to make it a thing for New Bedford, for people to understand that New Bedford has this great public amenity with a terrific brand."
The Blue Lane—blue was chosen because it will exist along the waterfront—will connect several city parks and beaches, as well as tying in New Bedford's shoreline to bike paths in Fairhaven and Dartmouth. Mitchell said the city purposely didn't call it "The New Bedford Blue Lane," because he wants to see it become synonymous with the city.
"We believe this will be a strong selling point for New Bedford's connection to the city, a recreational amenity that connects up not just parts of the South End, not just the Downtown, not just the North End but all of it," Mitchell said. "And we think that in the years to come that this is going to be a very strong selling point (for the city)."
City Tourism and Marketing Director Dagny Ashley said the branding of The Blue Lane has already begun.
"Promoting The Blue Lane and our waterfront attractions in all our promotions for the city, this branding of the waterfront and branding the recreational pathway, is just another marketing tool in our toolbox, which seems to be getting bigger," she said.
Ashley said the city has gained regional and national recognition with the HarborWalk, and this year is updating all of its promotional materials to include The Blue Lane. She said the city is looking to avenues such as social media to help spread the word, and is suggesting that athletic events and other events already taking place in New Bedford take advantage of The Blue Lane.
"I feel very strongly this kind of amenity is for everybody. It doesn't have to be so that these things are only left for wealthy communities," Mitchell said. "This is going to be a safe, family-friendly, attractive public amenity that is going to really be yet one more reason why people are going to come to New Bedford."