Charlesgate

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.

Timeline

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.

Timeline
DateMilestone
2002Charlesgate Connection scoping
2012Charlesgate Greenway phase 1 design
2016Storrow Drive bridge redesign
2018Charlesgate area conceptual design
Projected
2019Full design
2024Construction

Project Details

Initiated
  • 2008 Scoping for greenway links
  • 2012 Charlesgate Greenway- Phase 1
  • 2016 Charlesgate Parks
Solomon Investments to date
  • $62,000
Partner Investments to date
  • $731,000
Estimated cost to complete
  • $14,850,000
Key Partners
Consultants
Status
  • Initiating full design this year
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