Southwest Corridor Park, Boston

Boston, Massachusetts

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The southwest corridor park was almost a highway. On this walk you can see what happened when the expressway plan was dropped, the narrow corridor became transit lines, and a park was built around it. The never-built Southwest Expressway would have continued I-95 from Route 128 to downtown Boston, replacing the commuter and Amtrak rail line embankment. Hundreds of businesses and homes between Forest Hills and the South End were demolished in the 1960s to prepare for the new highway. As demolition progressed, however, community residents and activists lobbied in protest. Governor Francis Sargent reexamined the issue and announced his decision in 1972: no road. Urban Arts, a nonprofit company, developed artwork specific for every station and created the Literature Project—granite sculptures with neighborhood-based poetry, messages, and letters. Perhaps best of all, however, is the access that the Southwest Corridor Park affords to the rapid-transit line beneath it. You can begin at, say, Forest Hills, and then follow the corridor to complete your stroll at any station you like. Usually completion of the walk comes at just the right moment—when walkers are beginning to feel tired, thirsty, or hungry!
Walk Boston

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Walk Boston

by Robert Sloane (editor) of WalkBoston (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

The southwest corridor park was almost a highway. On this walk you can see what happened when the expressway plan was dropped, the narrow corridor became transit lines, and a park was built around it. The never-built Southwest Expressway would have continued I-95 from Route 128 to downtown Boston, replacing the commuter and Amtrak rail line embankment. Hundreds of businesses and homes between Forest Hills and the South End were demolished in the 1960s to prepare for the new highway. As demolition progressed, however, community residents and activists lobbied in protest. Governor Francis Sargent reexamined the issue and announced his decision in 1972: no road.

Urban Arts, a nonprofit company, developed artwork specific for every station and created the Literature Project—granite sculptures with neighborhood-based poetry, messages, and letters. Perhaps best of all, however, is the access that the Southwest Corridor Park affords to the rapid-transit line beneath it. You can begin at, say, Forest Hills, and then follow the corridor to complete your stroll at any station you like. Usually completion of the walk comes at just the right moment—when walkers are beginning to feel tired, thirsty, or hungry!

©  Robert Sloane (editor) of WalkBoston/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Walking
Nearby City: Boston
Distance: 4.5
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Driving Directions: Directions to Southwest Corridor Park, Boston

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Apr 2018