Bike Route: Union Square, Somerville to Navy Yard, Charlestown

Route facts

Below, you will find information on a bike route that uses quiet streets, shared paths, shared sidewalks, and separated bike lanes between Union Square in Somerville and Navy Yard in Charlestown.

In the past couple of years, cities and developers have made many changes to the streets that connect these two areas. With all the changes, it is now a fairly comfortable bike ride. Some of these changes are off the main streets, so folks may not have noticed them. Map, directions, and some photos from this ride below.

Start: Union Square, Somerville
End: Just outside of Constitution Wharf, Charlestown, Boston
Bonus rides: 1. USS Constitution; 2. Downtown Boston using the MBTA Inner Harbor Ferry

It takes about 15 minutes to cycle this route.


  • Separated bike lane / cycle track = SBL
  • Quiet street / access street = QS
  • Shared-lane markings = Sharrow
  • Shared use path/sidewalk = a path or sidewalk that is intended for pedestrians and cyclists to share the space, pass pedestrians carefully


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Written directions for the main route

  1. Go east on Somerville Avenue SBL
  2. Make a right at Medford Street SBL
    • As of December 2022, this intersection is under major construction – you may want to move onto the sidewalk or cut through the often empty parking lot until this street work is done.
    • There is a short section of shared lane at the intersection.
    • After the underpass, you will meet South Street where there can be many turning motorists and truckers. Be cautious because trucks can hide you from motorists going in the opposite direction.
  3. Continue on Gore Street in a shared use sidewalk
    • You’ll veer to the right after the railroad crossing
    • If you’re faster and more confident, you can also use the full lane.
Annotated photo showing a railroad crossing and the transition from a street level standard bike lane to a shared use sidewalk.
  1. Follow the shared use sidewalk until Sixth Street, transition to Gore Street QS
    • From the shared use sidewalk, press the pedestrian signal button and enter the intersection on the pedestrian signal to continue in Gore Street shared with traffic
An annotated image showing a signalized intersection with annotation lines showin gthe path to transition from the shared use sidewalk to the shared lane.
  1. Cross Third Street with care; travelers on Third Street have priority over Gore Street
  2. At Second Street, use sidewalk to travel on Gore Street and O’Brien Highway to use the bike crossing to Water Street
    • You could also make a left at Third Street into a shared lane, and turn right into an SBL and wait to make a left at Water Street
  3. Continue with the bicycle signal to Water Street QS
Annotated image showing two locations. The first location is where a cyclist will take to the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street to access a pedestrian and bicyclist crossing. The second location is the bicyclist crossing.
  1. Turn right at Morgan Avenue into SBL
  2. Move into the lane on Morgan Avenue approaching North First Street in order to transition to the shared use path. This is a diagonal crossing of North First St.
    • As of December 2022, there was some fencing (arrow) which may make it hard for cyclists and motorists to see each other.
An annotated image showing an intersection with a diagonal bicyclist crossing.
  1. Make a left at Education Street shared use path
An annotated image showing a bicycle path at an intersection. The annotation shows the path that a cyclist will take to continue on the path which is to the left.
  1. Cross at the end of Education Street to shared use path
An annotated image showing a crosswalk and an arrow to indicate the direction that a cyclist will take to cross to the continuation of the path.
  1. Continue on the shared use path to get to the North Bank Bridge.
An annotated image showing a multiuse path crossing and an arrow to indicate the direction to continue on the path.
  1. Follow the path through Paul Revere Park to Warren Avenue
    • Be cautious of the bollard at the bottom of the bridge
  2. Continue on Warren Avenue and Constitution Road QS
An annotated image showing two locations. The first location shows a split in a shared use path with an arrow pointing to the left. The second location shows an undercrossing and an arrow pointing toward the undercrossing.

Bonus ride: USS Constitution

  1. Continue on Constitution Road in the SBL
An annotated image showing an intersection. An arrow points to the location where a cyclist can enter a separated bike lane on the right side of the street.
  1. Follow the Freedom Trail to enter the short section of shared use path then the SBL to the USS Constitution
  2. At First Avenue, near the USS Constitution Museum you will have to cross rail tracks and enter a shared use path

Bonus: Go further to Downtown Boston

It’s not that much further to go to Downtown Boston using the MBTA’s Inner Harbor Ferry. In my opinion, the Inner Harbor ferry has the best value skyline view of Downtown Boston.

  • Fare | $3.70 one way paid using mTicket smartphone app, cash, or paper ticket from the ferry’s information booth Learn More
  • Schedule | 6:45 AM to 8:15 PM on weekdays, 10:15 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends and some holidays, no service on major holidays
  • Departure times | on weekdays, every 15 minutes during rush hours and every 30 minutes outside of rush hours, on weekends every 30 minutes Learn More
  • Travel time | About 10 minutes
  • Bikes allowed all the time Learn More

To go to the ferry, continue on the shared use sidewalk past the security guard gate. You will then cross Baxter Road, an access street, to a pedestrian plaza. Follow the boardwalk, which gently curves to the right. There are sometimes hand-made signs pointing to the ferry dock along the way. The ferry dock is at the far end of the boardwalk.

An annotated image showing two items. The first item is signage that provides wayfinding to the MBTA ferry. The sign says "water shuttle" and has the icon of a boat with the MBTA roundel logo inside. The second item shows the location of the sign and the nearby area. The second item has an arrow pointing the way to move toward the ferry.