Community input is being sought as a long anticipated public-private partnership gets underway to design the possible first step in reclaiming a pedestrian and bicycle route between the Emerald Necklace and Charles River Esplanade displaced by highway construction a half century ago.
The Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and The Esplanade Association (TEA), has committed roughly $15,000 for the design of the first phase of the Charlesgate greenway path – a multi-use “greenroute” connecting Beacon Street to the Harvard Bridge via a now isolated piece of parkland overlooking the Charles River, according to Herb Nolan, the associate director of the Solomon Foundation and a TEA board member.
Rob Adams of Boston’s Halvorson Design Group, who also helped design the Esplanade Playspace, will develop a conceptual plan for the path layout and associated landscape improvements.
The design should be completed by late June, at which time it will be turned over to DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for their consideration on implementation.
“We hope it becomes part of MassDOT’s plan to replace the Strorrow Drive eastbound bridge at Charlesgate.” Nolan said.
If implemented successfully, the Charlesgate greenway path could have a profound impact on Boston and beyond
One Northeastern University study suggests the project could open up access to 2½ acres of the parkland overlooking the river in the short term and increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity by up to 600 percent in the long term.
Along with other park path improvements, Nolan said the proposed path would also make it possible to bicycle or walk from Boston and Brookline neighborhoods along safe Emerald Necklace pathways to the banks of the river.
The public is invited to a meeting on the proposal at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., on Monday, May 21, at 5:30 p.m., followed by the site walk at the corner of Beacon Street and Charlesgate East at 7 p.m.