Southwest Corridor Park

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Coordinates: 42°19′35″N 71°5′56″W / 42.32639°N 71.09889°W / 42.32639; -71.09889
Southwest Corridor Park
Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston
SouthwestCorridorParkRuggles.JPG
Southwest Corridor Park as seen from Ruggles Street looking south.
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Region Suffolk County
Municipality Boston
Location 38 New Heath Street,
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
(headquarters)
 - coordinates 42°19′35″N 71°5′56″W / 42.32639°N 71.09889°W / 42.32639; -71.09889
Area 52 acres (21 ha) [1]
Founded 1987
Management Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Location of Southwest Corridor Park
Website: Southwest Corridor Park

Southwest Corridor Park is a linear urban park in Boston, Massachusetts, part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston and managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). It extends from the South End and Back Bay neighborhoods south for almost five miles (8 km), ending in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain in what was originally planned to be the alignment for Interstate 95 to Boston. It closely follows the routes of regional Amtrak and Commuter Rail lines and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Orange Line rapid transit rail line, from its Back Bay Station to its terminus at Forest Hills station. It features tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, and walking, jogging, and biking paths.

History[edit]

Starting in the 1960s, hundreds of acres of South End, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain housing were razed along what became known as the Southwest Corridor to build a 4.6 mile (7.4 km) section of Interstate 95 to be called the Southwest Expressway into downtown Boston.[2] This mass demolition sparked massive community protest, which was marked by the painting of "STOP I-95 — PEOPLE BEFORE HIGHWAYS" on a local train-track wall, as a harbinger of the Southwest Corridor's future rail transit and community park use.

The protest prompted Governor Francis W. Sargent to cancel the highway project in 1969, and to become a strong advocate for changing the federal laws governing aid to states for highway construction so that more funds were available for mass transit projects such as subways and light-rail vehicles.[3] I-95 was then routed along the existing Massachusetts Route 128 corridor in the suburbs.[2] In 1973, Congress approved the Interstate Transfer Option, which allowed states to transfer federal funding for highways to mass transit projects.[4]

Construction for the park was then done in conjunction with the project to reroute the MBTA Orange Line down the existing rail right-of-way which the planned highway was to follow.[2][5][6] Since land acquisition and demolition of structures had already taken place along the route's path prior to the cancellation of the highway project, the Southwest Corridor remained a "terrible urban scar" for nearly ten years. However, local residents began to grow community gardens on the land, which gradually multiplied and ultimately led to the commencement of park construction in 1978.[1][2][4] The first segments of the park opened in 1987,[6] while the remainder to the South End and Back Bay was finished in the following years. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completed Southwest Corridor Park took place on May 5, 1990.[6]

Description[edit]

The Southwest Corridor Park is 4.7 miles (7.6 km) in length and occupies 52 acres (21 ha) of land running alongside the right of way of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Orange Line and Commuter Rail lines and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor from Back Bay Station to Forest Hills Station.[1] It extends from the South End and Back Bay neighborhoods south through the Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods before ending in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain.[7] Along its route are tennis courts, playgrounds, basketball courts, and walking, jogging, and biking trails which also connect to Boston's Emerald Necklace at the Arborway in Forest Hills.[2][7]

MBTA Orange Line station Mileage from Back Bay Station
Back Bay / South End 0.0 miles (0 km)
Massachusetts Ave. 0.5 miles (0.80 km)
Ruggles 1.1 miles (1.8 km)
Roxbury Crossing 1.6 miles (2.6 km)
Jackson Square 2.2 miles (3.5 km)
Stony Brook 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Green St. 3.2 miles (5.1 km)
Forest Hills 3.9 miles (6.3 km)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Southwest Corridor Park". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Miller, Margo (October 20, 1989). "House Tour Highlights an Enduring Neighborhood". The Boston Globe. To speed auto traffic through Boston, hundreds of acres of housing in the South End, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain were razed in the 1960s to make a 4.6-mile corridor for Interstate 95. When there was a real grass-roots protest, the project was abandoned. Interstate 95 moved in with Route 128, and just last year what had been a terrible urban scar became the delightful and much-needed Southwest Corridor Park. Dotted along its four miles of walkways and bike paths are basketball courts and tennis courts 
  3. ^ Oliver Gillham, Alex S. MacLean (2002). The Limitless City. Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-833-8. 
  4. ^ a b Kennedy, Lawrence W. (1994). Planning the City Upon a Hill: Boston Since 1630. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-87023-923-6. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ Garvin, Alexander (2002). The American city: what works, what doesn't (2 ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-07-137367-8. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c O'Brien, Ellen (May 6, 1990). "Two neighborhoods celebrate completion of park projects". The Boston Globe. Raindrops yesterday pushed the parties indoors and beneath a tent, but two Boston parks, one finally completed and the other just renovated, were reasons for celebrations despite the drizzle...The park was first open for use in 1987...The 52 acres of green space was once slated for Interstate 95, but local residents lobbied against the plans and in 1969 the idea was scrapped 
  7. ^ a b "Southwest Corridor Park". Google Maps. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 

External links[edit]