Unlocking the Charles River (Letter to the Editor)

Boston Globe

In his op-ed, Mike Ross laments that the banks of the Charles River are not as lively as those of the Vltava River in Prague (“Our beautiful, boring Charles River,” Opinion, Dec. 22). While this observation was the fruitful result of what sounds like a fun trip to Europe, one doesn’t need to be a world traveler to know that one aspect of the shoreline of the Charles inhibits its activation. The parks on the river’s edge are very difficult to reach from the adjacent neighborhoods, since they are cut off by highways such as Storrow Drive and the Mass Pike. Such connectivity to neighborhoods exists in cities with more lively riverfronts, including Prague and Paris. In Boston, nowhere is this problem more pronounced than in the stretch between the Boston University and River Street bridges. The I-90 Allston Interchange Project, if properly designed, could dramatically improve connectivity between the river and the Allston neighborhood. Rebuilding I-90 at grade could allow Commonwealth Avenue and Brookline to be connected to the Charles near the Agganis Arena, for example, which would provide the opportunity to create a riverfront more like the one Mr. Ross imagines. Let’s not miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Rafael Mares
Conservation Law Foundation

Renata von Tscharner
Charles River Conservancy

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