Greenough Boulevard, once a four-lane highway jammed up against the Charles River, has been been updated to make room for a mile-long treelined river path for walkers, runners, and cyclists. This was done with no significant reduction in the traffic carrying capacity on the parkway. A broad path was extended around the marsh opening up access to a once overgrown and dangerous area.
Background: Constructed in 1965, at the height of a road building boom, Greenough Boulevard posed a serious threat to pedestrians and cyclists for half a century. Its excessive pavement crowded the shore, encouraged speeding, and polluted the Charles River. Though the Charles River Basin Master Plan published by the DCR in 2002 called for the redesign of this dangerous choke point, the agency had limited capacity to address the issue. The Solomon Foundation agreed to hired VHB to develop a full design package if the DCR would pay for and manage the construction process. A new path around the Hell’s Half Acre marsh was added to the scope with support from the City of Cambridge and the repaving of Greenough Boulevard was added by the DCR to complete the project. The result is a transformative greenway that protects water quality and public safety while attracting scores of park visitors to the banks of the river. The project received the Boston Society of Civil Engineers 2019 Sustainability in Civil Engineering Award.
Yet even award winning projects can be improved. Many of the 180 trees that were planted for this project died due in part to a draught. The DCR committed to replacing them over time starting in the fall of 2018.
|2014||Traffic modeling, full design|
|2016||Boathouse path construction|
|2019||Post construction assessment|
- Cambridge Plant and Garden Club
- City of Cambridge Community Preservation Act
- Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Project complete. Post construction assessment and adjustments underway.