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The proposed Charlesgate paths and parks will reconnect the Charles River Basin with the Back Bay Fens and reclaim an area overshadowed by highway infrastructure since the mid-20th century. Charlesgate will become a regional north/south greenway link serving tens of thousands of people and will be an innovative park for residents in the Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods.

Background: The Charlesgate was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1880s as a verdant river park linking the Back Bay Fens to the Charles River. This historic park gateway was severed in the mid-20th century by the construction of Storrow Drive in the 1950s and the Bowker Overpass in 1965. Sustained advocacy for restoring a safe greenway link began with the DCR Charles River Basin master plan of 2002 and was advanced by a succession of local and citywide groups. In 2017, The Charlesgate Alliance and Emerald Necklace Conservancy, with assistance from the Solomon Foundation, hired a consultant to develop a visionary design for reclamation of the Charlesgate area. At the same time, MassDOT undertook to redesign Storrow Drive bridges in a way that would dramatically improve parkland connectivity.

2002Charlesgate Connection scoping
2012Charlesgate Greenway phase 1 design
2016Storrow Drive bridge redesign
2018Charlesgate area conceptual design
2019Boston CPA awards $400,000 for design
2020DCR approves $104,000 in matching funds to remove two stone barrier walls
022MassDOT announce plans to redesign and replace the Bowker Overpass over ten years
2023MassDOT shared plans to transform the Bowker Overpass crossing the turnpike
2024Scheduled removal of non-structural stone walls
2025Scheduled start of construction for the southern portion of the Bowker Overpass
2027Scheduled start of construction for the northern portion of the Bowker Overpass

Project Details

  • 2008 Scoping for greenway links
  • 2012 Charlesgate Greenway- Phase 1
  • 2016 Charlesgate Parks
Solomon and Barr Investments
  • $72,000
Partner Investments
  • $886,000
Estimated cost to complete
  • $19,000,000
Key Partners
  • – MassDOT advancing Bowker Overpass replacement project

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