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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
2020Charlesgate Alliance and Emerald Necklace Conservancy begin fundraising for matching fund to remove the two stone barriers.

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
  • Initiating full design this year

Master map page

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