Community News

Please check back here for the latest news and notes on activities happening in the Charlesgate neighborhood.

To view information and images from Community News events, click on the links below.

Muddy Water Initiative receives $12,000 for “Watergoat” to clean up debris in the Muddy River

Congratulations to our friends at the Muddy Water Initiative for this grant and press coverage and upcoming work to help clean up the Muddy River.

MassDOT starts conversation with area stakeholders that includes reconnecting Charlesgate park areas to the Esplanade and Charles River

On April 11th Jonathan Gulliver, highway administrator of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), started a public conversation with area stakeholders, including representatives from the Charlesgate Alliance, about concept designs for replacing the decaying Storrow Drive eastbound viaduct in Charlesgate. The PowerPoint slide deck is here.  The MassDOT’s preferred designs “3A” and “3B” are extraordinary. They would add significant new open space as well as pedestrian and bike paths to serve the community, the city, and the region.

The Charlesgate Alliance wants to thank Jonathan Gulliver, Steve McLaughlin, and Jim Kersten at MassDOT, Patrice Kish, Jennifer Norwood, and Jeffrey Parenti at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, State Senator Will Brownsberger, State Representatives Jay Livingstone, Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams of Landing Studio, Karen Mauney-Brodek of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Scott Carpenter and Paul Moyer of Gill Engineering, Herb Nolan of the Solomon Foundation, Mike Nichols and Tony Pangaro at the Esplanade Association, Jennifer Carter and Elizabeth Leary at Boston University,  Martyn Roetter of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, as well as the many others who have advocated for restoring Charlesgate as the critical link connecting the Emerald Necklace to the Esplanade and the Charles River. This is an extraordinary step forward. Let us all work together to make certain that this concept design becomes a reality.

Here are design alternatives 3A and 3B. Click an image for larger view.

Back to top

Charlesgate Alliance Provides Pruning in Charlesgate Park

Thanks to a $15,000 grant through the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) from the Fenway Park Demonstration Project Community Benefits, the Charlesgate Alliance was able to prune trees and clear brush in Charlesgate Park in late January-early February. Special thanks to Margaret Pokorny for her leadership on this project. This, in combination with over $10,000 which the Friends of the Public Garden provided for pruning of Charlesgate trees on Commonwealth, will both beautify the area as well as reinvigorate the trees for Spring.

Back to top

DCR cleans the Charlesgate Muddy River area

Thanks to Caroline Reeves and Jennifer Norwood, the Charlesgate Alliance learned the exact days, times, and name of the contractors this year for the annual Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) surface (“water sheet”) cleaning of the Muddy River in the Charlesgate area. Below is a photo of what the terminus of the Muddy River by the Olmsted Bridge looked like on October 3rd.
Muddy River on October 3, 2018

Contractors from New England Disposal Technologies and Solitude Lake Management worked together on November 19th and 20th. Supporters of the Alliance learned that this year’s cleanup would cost roughly $27,000.
Cleaning up Muddy River November 19th and 20th

Pictured here are some of the Charlesgate Alliance supporters who showed up to cheer on the workers: Pam Beale, Parker James, John Iappini, Jackie Royce, and Randall Albright. The photo was taken by Dan Adams of Landing Studio, who said that he learned some things that could make the job easier for contractors in the future.
Charlesgate Alliance supporters Pam Beale, Parker James, John Iappini, Jackie Royce and Randall Albright. Photo taken by Dan Adams of Landing Studio.

According to Dan Adams, “The banks of the Muddy River are currently so steep that it’s very difficult to launch any equipment for cleaning into the river. Also, because the banks are dirt immediately above granite shore armoring, it becomes very slippery when wet, which makes it all the more difficult for any access to the watersheet. Solutions would include creating an area of more gradual slope with a stabilized ground surface, such as gravel. Effectively this would serve as a river cleaning/skimming vessel launch.

“Additionally, the cleaning team needs access to dumpsters and multiple types of vehicles that they use to transport their varied pieces of equipment. Currently, these crews have no choice but to drive over the planted landscape areas. However, we can design the new paved multi-modal pathways and hardscape recreation areas to double function as temporary access corridors and lay-down areas for this equipment.”

Read more about it in The Boston Globe, The Boston Sun, and the WBZ News Radio websites.

Here are some additional photos of the cleanup.

Back to top

Charlesgate Chairs

The Charlesgate Chairs were donated to the Charlesgate Alliance and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for this summer through mid-fall by the Solomon Foundation, and were made available through the cooperation of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Members of our team looked in on the chairs to see how they were doing. However, we also relied on community members to help keep them in a tidy manner in the Charlesgate area, specifically 7 adult and 3 children’s red plastic Adirondack chairs and 5 adult blue plastic Adirondack chairs. The chairs were removed in early October.

People Sitting in Charlesgate Chairs; Photo by Jules Milner-Brage

Photo by Julian Agin-Liebes

Back to top

Slow Streets Program

  • The Boston Neighborhood Slow Streets Program is a component of the Vision Zero safety agenda established in the City of Boston as a priority of Go Boston 2030, the City’s long term transportation plan.
  • The Slow Streets Program focuses on calming traffic and improving safety on less-busy, residential streets.
  • Neighborhoods associations, community groups, faith-based institutions and other organized groups of neighbors are invited to apply to the Program.
  • The Program works with residents to review an area, identify opportunities, and implement changes to slow traffic speeds and improve safety.
  • Because of the many reasons for traffic calming in the area (student population, schools, parks, bike lanes, pedestrian and bicycle injuries), the Charlesgate Alliance applied on behalf of the neighborhood.
  • Unfortunately, we were not selected for the project this year. You can find information about the selected neighborhoods here.

Back to top

Boston Globe Article

The first coverage of our project in the Boston Globe appeared in an editorial on Sunday, August 5th, 2018.

Here is the response letter to the Boston Globe from Parker James, Pam Beale and Karen Mauney-Brodek.

Back to top

Kenmore Mall Improvements

The Friends of the Public Garden received a grant for $15,000 for improvements to the Kenmore section of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This money went towards planting four trees, painting the fence, and repairing the Lombard Light.

Back to top

$250,000 for Charlesgate Work Included in Budget for Fiscal Year 2019

On July 30, 2018, the Massachusetts Legislature overrode Governor Baker’s veto of a bill that included $250,000 for Charlesgate design and engineering work in the 2019 fiscal year. However, we still need to make sure that the Governor funds the earmark.

Back to top

Art Installation in the Area

A new art installation was in the Charlesgate community last summer. Liz Glynn’s Open House was in the Kenmore part of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall immediately adjacent to Charlesgate Park, having opened on July 26th and going through November 4th, 2018.

Back to top

Charlesgate Alliance Represented at Red Sox Fenway Neighborhood Night on May 18th

Co-founder Pam Beale and Sam Wertheimer represented Charlesgate Alliance at the Red Sox Fenway Neighborhood Night on May 18th. Also in attendance were State Senator Will Brownsberger and State Representative Byron Rushing. Pam was one of two people to announce “Play Ball!” to begin the game.

Back to top

Marlborough Street by Charlesgate East Gets 21 New Trees in Sidewalks Where No Street Trees Had Been Planted Before

Thanks to the advocacy of members of the Charlesgate Alliance, particularly Margaret Pokorny, The Garden Club of the Back Bay, and Chris Cook, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the City of Boston, the last block of Marlborough Street from Massachusetts Ave. to Charlesgate East got greener this Spring.

Back to top

Other Area News

  • Pam Beale, co-founder of the Charlesgate Alliance, was on hand for the groundbreaking of the new Fenway Center on January 30th. Pam spoke in her role as chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Parcel 7 air rights over the Massachusetts Turnpike. The name of that project became Fenway Center. Also speaking were Kelly Saito, Managing Partner of Gerding Edlen, John Rosenthal, president of Meredith Management, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, and Brian Golden, Director of Boston Planning and Development Agency, The Boston Arts Academy Chorus then performed before the groundbreaking. For more information, see this Boston Globe article.IMG_8262
  • The Citgo sign will remain visible with new development around it.
  • Traffic in the Charlesgate neighborhood is being affected by two Massachusetts Department of Transportation bridge projects. Use the links below for more information and to see project updates.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement

Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Replacement