Southwest Corridor (Massachusetts)

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This page is about the cancelled highway near Boston, Massachusetts. For the future light rail project in Minneapolis, Minnesota, see Southwest Corridor (Minnesota).

The Southwest Corridor or Southwest Expressway was a project designed to bring an eight-lane highway into the City of Boston from a direction southwesterly of downtown. It was supposed to connect with Interstate 95 (I-95) at Route 128. It would follow the right of way of the former Penn Central/New Haven Railroad mainline (current Amtrak Northeast Corridor) running from Readville, north through Roslindale, Forest Hills and Jamaica Plain, where it would meet the proposed I-695 (Inner Belt Expressway).

History[edit]

The project started in 1948 with Massachusetts Public Works director William F. Callahan's Master Highway Plan for Metropolitan Boston, went through several adjustments and then was killed in 1973 by Governor Francis Sargent, following popular pressure. Governor Sargent declared a moratorium on all expressway construction within Route 128 in 1970 following the recommendation of a task force of private experts he appointed to study controversial highway plans.[1] Having been witness to recent housing clearances for the Interstate 93 expressway and Massachusetts Turnpike, as well as similar projects in New York City and other cities, the population of the affected area was largely unwilling to repeat similar costs for another expressway.

Current status[edit]

Orange Line train in the Southwest Corridor

The corridor was later recycled into the new route for the MBTA's Orange line and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor with much of the surface area being developed as a 52 acres (210,000 m2) linear park.

Several houses were torn down on the corner of Cummins Hwy and Rowe St. in Roslindale to make room for an interchange. That land is now used as the Southwest Boston Community Gardens.

The Southwest Corridor Park, maintained by the state DCR, has become a vibrant space for pedestrians, bicyclists, dog-walkers, amateur sports leagues, and community gardeners. The Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy helps maintain gardens, runs summer youth projects in the park, and keeps a website with maps and photos.[2] That the Southwest Corridor did not realize its initial purpose is a testimony to using urban space for reasons other than highways.

The Route 128/I-93/I-95 interchange was partially constructed, leaving a few abandoned ramps north of the interchange and one abandoned bridge (42°12′32″N 71°08′33″W / 42.208876°N 71.142483°W / 42.208876; -71.142483) (since removed) just west of the two active bridges.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Altshuler, Alan A.; Luberoff, David (2003). Mega-projects: the changing politics of urban public investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0-8157-0129-3. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  2. ^ Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy
  • Al Lupo, Frank Colcord and Edmund P. Fowler, "Rites of Way: The Politics of Transportation in Boston and the U.S. City," Little, Brown and Company (1971)
  • Tom Lewis, "Divided Highways," Viking-Penguin Books (1997)

External links[edit]