#UnchokeTheThroat along the Charles River

The Charles River paths are heavily used and crowded, but there is a major project underway that could improve them. Your support could make a difference - help #UnchokeTheThroat!


The Problem

The MassPike will be straightened out near the Allston/Cambridge exit, setting the stage for future development of 100 acres for 50,000 future workers or residents – similar in scale to the Seaport District, Kendall Square or Prudential Center. Plans call for rebuilding the highways here, as part of MassDOT's $1 Billion Dollar Allston Interchange Project, but no room is left for better paths for people walking, running and biking. In fact, the highways get rebuilt, but the path stays basically the same!

The highways are dominant now, but that hasn't always been the case. Boston, like many cities around the world, had a wide parkland and a strong connection to the Charles River. The "throat" is the narrowest part of the path & riverbank, crammed between the highways and the river. Other sections are wide and inviting, but in the throat people have a narrow path alongside vehicle traffic - with just a guardrail separating us from cars and fumes. It's an unpleasant place - one we need to change to get to a better future.

WalkBoston is helping to reframe the project as more than just a highway project. WalkBoston & Charles River Conservancy have been working with landscape architects at Sasaki to show riverfront bank enhancements around the US & and creating renderings that show possibilities here. The throat becomes a much different place with landscaping, two paths and places to sit - and takes some of the edge off the roar of the highway.

Help us to #UnchokeTheThroat!

The Solution

Progress has already been made by calling attention to this forgotten piece of parkland, "the Throat" - we created a video earlier this year to generate support for the project during an open comment period; the state agency received over 500 letters, and 150+ referenced the WalkBoston Unchoke The Throat video - so much so that it was specifically referenced in the agency's environmental certificate that was released after the comment period:

“Comments expressing an opinion on the Throat Area alternatives heavily favored the at- grade alternative conceptualized by A Better City (ABC). In many cases, support for this alternative was coupled with a desire that the project include a plan developed by the Charles River Conservancy and WalkBoston that would provide pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the Throat Area on fill or pile-supported structures in the Charles River.“

A sustained effort is needed to keep the project going in the right direction, and WalkBoston is ready to take on the task.

Funding from this Shared Nation project will enable us to keep working with the project team and others -- while also engaging the public & decision makers on other pieces of this massive effort that otherwise would be ignored since they "aren't part of the highway project" and may fall through the cracks. We hope to #UnchokeTheThroat to create better connections along the Charles River and between neighborhoods in Boston & Cambridge to make safe walking, running and biking a reality for everyone.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

WalkBoston.

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