Central Artery & Greenway

An Ongoing Success Story

From the beginning, WalkBoston pushed to insure that the new space created above the underground Central Artery would be a terrific walking environment that would once more connect Boston to its harbor. Our work created a prime walkable destination for residents and visitors both. It is probably the biggest of our many achievements so far.

CAT/Greenway Background
So far, WalkBoston has been advocating for pedestrian use of the Greenway for 20 years. In 1992, WalkBoston learned that the City of Boston was designing a 10-lane ”highway” above the depressed Central Artery in downtown Boston for the two miles from South Station to North Station. Together with Move Massachusetts 2000, WalkBoston spearheaded a broad [and strenuous] effort to create a detailed design alternative that provided for six [or fewer] travel lanes, narrower travel lanes, good WALK timing, spacious sidewalk widths, urban and walking friendly corner/intersection designs and much more.

We gathered lots of support for the plan and published it in 1994, A Pedestrian Perspective on the Central Artery Project in Downtown Boston. In 1995, the City adopted our plan and created the Surface Transportation Action Forum, a broad group of abutters, businesses, neighborhoods, WalkBoston and Move Mass. From 1995-1997, this group refined two Central Area Consensus Plans to create a Greenway with a spacious central area and walkable edges. The City published and submitted the plans to MEPA,and they became legally binding. Major design elements were: sidewalks of generous width, intersections safe for pedestrians to cross and signal timing that minimized waits for WALK. As an official part of CAT documentation, they provided the basis for the subsequent 500 Atlantic Avenue victory.

Before                                                   After 

500 Atlantic Avenue is a great symbol of WalkBoston's continued commitment to keeping the Rose Kennedy Greenway walkable. WalkBoston held events, wrote letters and reminded developers that peds shouldn’t have to walk out of their way, sidewalks are not for cars.