Thursday, May 5, 2016

Projects on the Emerald Necklace

All up and down the Emerald Necklace corridor of parks, from the Fens to Franklin Park, there are projects underway or in the planning stages that will help to preserve, protect, restore and improve access to this vital recreational, pedestrian, cycling and commuting parkway. In partnership with DCR, the City of Boston, Brookline, several green space and neighborhood groups and other sponsoring entities, careful stewardship of Frederick Law Olmsted's legacy will ensure the health of these parks for years to come. The following provides a brief and incomplete summary of many of these projects as well as links to additional information about them. 
You may visit
for a consolidated list of these resources.

ARBORWAY DCR PARTNERSHIP MATCHING FUNDS PROJECTS -Arborway Coalition

Stone Wall Restoration at Prince and Eliot Streets:
This historic wall has been holding up well, but recently has suffered some damage on the southern end. DCR has been made aware of the issue.

Gateway to theArborway Plan and Implementation:
The old chain-link fence was replaced by a new, lower fence along the Arborway median opposite the Arnold Arboretum. Sections of it have been repaired and relocated in order to improve pedestrian sight lines on the Arborway frontage road, but since that work new damage has occurred that needs to be repaired.
A DCR Partnership Matching Funds Project, the efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety at the Hunnewell Gate crosswalk at the Arboretum are progressing. Expect to see improved signage and crosswalk signals, ladder-style paint and a safer median refuge between the mainline and the frontage road this year.
Annual hillside maintenance and woodlands management by citizen volunteers has resulted in efforts to control invasive species and the planting of many new hickories, redbuds and dogwoods. Many bags of trash were removed by volunteers early this spring.

OTHER INTIATIVES IN THE EMERALD NECKLACE CORRIDOR

A commitment to protect our precious green space includes sustaining the efforts already made previously and supporting new efforts. Some important projects are in the planning stages, some are being designed by architects and engineers, some are under construction, some are awaiting further funding, and some are conceptual gleams in the eyes of dedicated citizens trying to affect positive change in our community through civic engagement.

Now a little more than a year into what is expected to be a two-year construction process, the Casey Overpass has been demolished and substantial utility work is underway. As the spring and summer progress, we'll see more signs of the new permanent alignment of surface roads, plazas, sidewalks and bike paths, especially east, west and south of the MBTA station. For a detailed look at the demolition and the many positive changes coming to Forest Hills, see the ArborwayMatters blog.

Hazardous Tree Removal on the Parkways – DCR, Olmsted Tree Society, Emerald NecklaceConservancy
Over the winter DCR contractors removed 38 damaged and diseased trees in the corridor identified in a survey of Heritage Trees last year. You may have noticed the small, brass “dog tags” screwed into each mature tree on the sidewalk side about eight feet off the ground. These identify each and every tree in the inventory with detail about their location, size, and health. Though we're all sad to see some of the old trees go, many more new trees are being planted to replace those lost to the allĂ©e over the years. With care and maintenance, most will grow strong and tall in years to come. In honor of their 150th year, Ropes & Gray LLP has donated 150 red oaks and two years of their maintenance to the Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Olmsted Tree Society in partnership with Boston Parks & Recreation, Brookline Parks and Open Space, and the DCR continue their important efforts to preserve our tree canopy.

Improved Multi-modal Access to Emerald Necklace Parks in Jamaica Plain - DCR
After several public meetings DCR continues work on ambitious plans to improve multi-modal safety and pedestrian and bicycle facilities in three areas of Jamaica Plain: the intersection of Perkins and Parkman Drive near Jamaica Pond, Centre Street between Weld and the Murray Circle Rotary, and the Arborway between the Pond and the Arboretum. These plans have benefited from engaged community input at every step. The challenges here are great but the potential is enormous for local residents, commuters and recreational users alike. ArborwayMatters has detailed the state of these complex plans as presented to the community in October.

Jamaica Pond and Surrounds
In recent years and months, the boardwalk around Ward’s Pond in Olmsted Park has been replaced and Councilor Matt O'Malley has been instrumental in the installation of a new water bottle refill station at Perkins and the Jamaicaway as well as a sunscreen dispenser at the Jamaica Pond Boathouse (a program now being rolled out nationally). Several benches have been replaced around the pond this spring, but as always with this heavily used and well-loved park, upkeep and maintenance are an ongoing challenge. Ssome of the stone walls along Parkman Drive are in need of repair. Efforts continue by Olmsted 2022 and the Friends of Jamaica Pond to protect the green and verdant backdrop of Hellenic Hill from development that would mar the experience of all who love this park.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing at Route 9 and Olmsted Park - Brookline Construction is underway to improve one of the greatest safety hazards to recreational and commuter bicycle use along the Emerald Necklace Corridor – the missing Riverway link between Leverett Pond and River Road at Route 9 in the Broookline Village/Longwood area. Decades of planning and advocacy have created an opportunity for significant enhancement, and the Town of Brookline is moving forward with construction this year.

The Army Corps of Engineers continues their work to improve flood control, water quality and habitat restoration in the Fens while rehabilitating historic Olmsted landscapes in the Muddy River watershed. Phase One of this extensive project which alleviate flood concern and opens portions of the river long buried in culverts to the sky is nearing completion and will transform the look and appeal of the parkland between Park Drive and Avenue de Louis Pasteur.

With bicycle commuting increasing dramatically in the city and with a transformed Forest Hills on the horizon, WalkUP Roslindale is spearheading a plan for a safe and direct bike link between Roslindale Village and Forest Hills. Other organizations participating include Rozzie Bikes, the Arnold Arboretum and the MBTA. The proposed path begins at the Roslindale Square commuter rail platform, continues on a level grade along the southeastern edge of the Arboretum parallel to the commuter rail tracks before connecting with the Bussey Brook Meadow path and continuing to Forest Hills. Simple, useful and easy to implement, the path could provide lasting benefit to the area.

Allandale Woods
The City of Boston is undertaking trailhead maintenance and improvements in the urban wilds of the Allandale Woods, while the Friends of Allandale Woods remains engaged with developers and the BRA over a proposed residential project at 64 Allandale Street.

Engaged participation, watchful care, diligence and responsible stewardship of our shared public resources are an important part of how these projects come about. Your interest and efforts are greatly appreciated and demonstrably effective.

Thank you for your interest and support,

Sarah Freeman, Arborway Coalition
Gerry Wright, Friends of Jamaica Pond/Community Service Care
Clay Harper, ArborwayMatters

2 comments:

  1. Hi Clay, I hear there are "extra" funds being diverted to the parks, of which ~$5MM will be going to capital improvements in Franklin Park over the next few years. Do you have any information on this? It would be great to know where the funds will be allotted and whether or not the public has a voice in directing them. Thanks!

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  2. Hi. I don't as yet have detail on how these funds might be spent, or whether that has been determined. I suspect the Franklin Park Coalition will have quite a lot to do with how they might be spent, where the areas of greatest need might be. They've been a strong voice for park advocacy for decades.
    http://www.franklinparkcoalition.org/

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