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Rose F. Kennedy Greenway

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Discover the Greenway

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The Surface Artery Greenway, the parks, and museums are all in the future for the Rose Kennedy Greenway. What's left of the Central Artery is disappearing fast. The Custom House and a piece of steel support for the central artery are left standing for now while construction goes on around the city.

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$40m museum proposed for Greenway

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A view of the surface artery. This area will be replaced with greener pastures and gardens. A luxury hotel project will be built in this area.

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Luxury hotel project underway on waterfront

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What's left of the Central Artery is disappearing fast. For the first time in many years, North Enders finally have a view of the city from the street. This photo is a view of the North End from the city, looking towards Hanover Street.

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Site near Greenway up for development

(Globe Graphic)

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Architect's rendering for the Chinatown portion of proposed Rose Kennedy Greenway. This section of Chinatown will have a Fountain Plaza area for visitors.

(Globe Graphic)

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This view of Essex Street in Chinatown is the architect's rendering for the proposed Rose Kennedy Greenway, as it approaches the Essex Street Gateway.

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Improving adjacent areas will enhance Greenway

(Globe Graphic)

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Beech Street in Chinatown is a highly traveled main street with many restaurants for residents and tourists to visit. This architect's rendering shows a view of Beech Street with the Gateway in the background.

(Globe Graphic)

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The proposed fountain on parcel 15 in the Wharf district portion of Rose Kennedy Greenway is show here in an architect's drawing.

(Globe Graphic)

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The rendering is the wharf district plan for the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The park shown here runs alongside the Atlantic Street entrance to the North End.

(Globe Graphic)

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This drawing depicts the plans for the North End portion of proposed Rose Kennedy Greenway.

(Globe Graphic)

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The Massachusetts Horticultural Society plans to build a greenhouse on a portion of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

(Globe Graphic)

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Study: Improving adjacent areas will enhance Greenway

Changes urged in key places

By Anthony Flint, Globe Staff | June 11, 2004

Private property owners all along the Rose Kennedy Greenway are poised to make dramatic improvements that will enhance the mile-long surface of the Big Dig through Boston, according to two studies released yesterday.

"The success of this space will have as much if not more to do with these adjacent spaces," said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, which helped fund the studies with the Artery Business Committee, a downtown business group. But the private improvements must be integrated into the planning process for the Greenway, Grogan said.

Buildings that "turned their backs" to the elevated Central Artery for nearly 50 years will now have front doors on dazzling new park space, Grogan said, and property owners want to modify ground floors, lobby entrances, and sidewalks to blend with the new landscape.

The "edges study" for the Wharf District, the central section of the Greenway from roughly Commercial to Broad streets, points out several key spots on either side of the Greenway that could be improved, in a mix of private and public investments.

The study said the improvements in some cases would require "minor modifications" to the basic framework of surface streets, sidewalks, and park spaces currently being built by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which oversees the $14.6 billion Big Dig and is leading the restoration of the surface of the project.

Fred Yalouris, the authority's top architect on the Greenway, said there was still time to change some elements of the streetscape, but that in some cases the streets and sidewalks will have to be built and redone later.

The goal is convert "blank walls" all along the Greenway to faades that will be inviting and promote pedestrian activity, and to establish a uniform look to the sidewalks and street paving emanating out from the Greenway, said architect Herbert Murray, who authored the Wharf District "edges study" with David Neilson, Jung | Brannen Associates Inc., and Chan Krieger & Associates.

Among the recommendations are a sidewalk cafe at the base of International Place, new pedestrian gateways near the James Hook & Co. lobster pound to invite passage to the South Boston Waterfront, new lighting and trees in front of Rowes Wharf and Harbor Towers, and the conversion of the faade of the Harbor Garage so images can be projected onto it.

Some improvements are in the works, including a small park and a new lobby entrance at the Grain Exchange building, and plans for new plazas and public space around 255 State St., near the Long Wharf Marriott and the New England Aquarium.

Other areas will require major transformations both at the ground level of properties and of the surrounding streets and sidewalks, the study said, such as the buildings fronting on the little-used passageways of Wendell and Batterymarch streets, or at the end of the Long Wharf Marriott, which could be converted to a row of storefronts.

The Wharf District is a mix of office space, tourist sites, entertainment, and hotels, but will become increasingly residential, the study said.

There are numerous opportunities for private improvements along the Greenway through Chinatown and the Leather District as well, said Tim Love, principal at Utile, the architecture and planning firm that authored the "edge study" for that area.

A low-level building wrapped around a ventilation structure near the Chinatown gate could become a branch public library, and the Chinatown park being designed by Carol R. Johnson Associates Inc. could extend down Edinboro and Kingston streets to Essex Street, with a possible sidewalk cafe on the ground floor of a building at the corner of Kingston Street and Surface Road.

In cases where buildings are not set to be redeveloped for several years, the study said, colorful murals could be placed on what are now towering brick walls with no windows. Those walls will soon overlook the Greenway.

The private sector seeks more coordination with the Turnpike Authority and the city so that the streets, sidewalks, and building facades "have some rhyme and reason" all along the Greenway, said Richard Dimino, president of the Artery Business Committee.

"We hope this inspires elected officials" to strive for more coherence along the Greenway itself," Grogan said.

From The Boston Globe

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$40m museum proposed for Greenway

Planners looking to create a 'cultural commons' for city

By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff | June 2, 2004

A "New Center for Arts and Culture" is the latest museum proposal to be unveiled for the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The four-story, $40 million structure, to be located at the edge of the Financial District, is sponsored by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston.

The project's architect is Daniel Libeskind, who may be best known as the master planner for the World Trade Center site in New York City. The purpose of the New Center would be to "explore cross-cultural dialogues and traditions in Boston," supporters said.

The center is one of several proposals for an area of the Greenway known as Parcel 18. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority controls the selection process. The Greenway is a corridor of parks and public space that will replace the Central Artery, the elevated highway now being dismantled.

The same group that wants to build the center recently sponsored an event called "Words on Fire," which should be viewed as a prototype of the project's vision, said Edwin Sidman, chairman of the New Center and chairman of Beacon Cos. Held in several venues, "Words on Fire" was a multimedia festival inspired by the 70th anniversary of book burnings in Nazi Germany. It explored the themes of censorship and freedom of expression through art exhibits, films, and lectures. One exhibit, presented by the Museum of Afro-American History, featured some of the earliest written works by African-Americans.

With 64,700 square feet, the New Center's building would be a curved structure that reflects the contours of the site. Plans call for an atrium, landscaped plazas, a "culture cafe," and a rooftop garden.

A goal of the New Center is to "create a vibrant gathering place for all Bostonians to share the richness of our diverse cultures," said Robert Beal, president of Beal Cos. and a director of the New Center. "The New Center for Arts and Culture will create a cultural commons that will be a vital force in building one Boston through arts and culture."

Building over the depressed artery is as much a financial challenge as an engineering one. To date, the New Center has raised about $2 million, Sidman said, noting that the sponsors have a proven track record for raising money.

The New Center is smaller than another proposal for the site unveiled last week: an $89 million Boston Museum Project and visitors center devoted to local history. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the four-story Boston Museum would bear a resemblance to a ship's hull. It would have 163,000 square feet of space.

Yesterday was the deadline for submitting proposals for this segment of the Greenway. Three qualified proposals were submitted, including those for the New Center and the Boston Museum Project. The third proposal is from Manjushri Prakash, an architect and urban designer from Cambridge. Her $55 million vision is for a multilevel plaza that would include indoor theaters, an outdoor theater, restaurants, and a parking area for tour buses. It would be a place were people of all ages and all parts of the city could meet and interact, she said.

Meanwhile, two other submissions were being reviewed by the authority's legal staff to determine whether they met the guidelines of a qualified proposal, said Doug Hanchett, a spokesman for the authority. Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew Amorello is "very pleased with the responses and the high level of interest in Parcel 18," Hanchett said.

There is no set timetable for selecting the winner, he said. An earlier selection process for another section of the Greenway took several months. If the New Center is the winner, Sidman estimated that it could be completed in 2008.

From The Boston Globe

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Asian themed architecture and foliage is a must for any city. That is a great improvement over the old mess and will provide a wonderful place for Bostonians (or whatever citizens of Boston are called) to enjoy nature.

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It's amazing that this thing is actually finishing. The real question is was it worth the costs? That will probably be debated for a long, long time. Anyway, I may go back to Boston for a trip just to see the finished project.

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I've been watching this thing now for three years and what has amazed me is that the noticable progress has only been in the last 6 months or so, pretty much because everything is underground, so its like, finally! something is getting done.. only thing is, its weird to see the North End from government center, its just almost not right! I hope the infill is not parks, but buidlings in that area around hanover.

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Even if in the next decade the tunnels become congested, and the "Big Dig" project goes over budget, I think everyone will look back and agree that the project was an amazing success. If not providing more functionality to the city's infrastructure, at least the Boston will benefit aesthetically.

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Traffic really is a lot better now with the ted williams tunnel and big dig main tunnel. The new surface road will add six more lane in each direction. Prior to this there was no real road to go from north of DT to south of DT. This project is a huge success. The cost was high, but the state of MA paid for a lot of it as did the citizens through tolls on the Pike. There will be new small buildings on some parts of the clreared area. In the area around south station they are proposing a new high rise district with limits up to 600'.

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I think this is one of the coolest urban projects I've ever seen. I saw the show on the Discovery Channel, and it showed the old expressway. It's so nice to have it underground. I want to visit Boston even more, just so I can see the finished project!

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It's hard to describe all the benefits of this project but its well worth it just by fixing alot of big problems with the expressway and building another connection to formally distant East Boston. Before this project started we had the famous merge of rt 1 and rt 93 that made it easily the worst stretch of highway in America, now its only a memory.

Now we need to press 'the powers that be' to deliver the subway improvements promised as mitigation.

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Yes, everything is better, but is it $15 billion better?

yes. Which is good, because it cost 14.6 billion.

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yes. Which is good, because it cost 14.6 billion.

:D Yes, I think so. Compared to Iraq its dirt cheap and actually accomplishes something. The added value to the real estate effected by this project citywide greatly exceeds that number and has opened up formerly distant, run down areas like parts of East Boston. Where there where once vacant wharfs are now being turned into parks and housing with fantastic city views. And what price can you put on making the airport almost an hour closer to most of the region. That has spawned a new invigerated cruise industry. You get off the plane and a 5 minute bus ride takes you right to the terminal, skipping the 1 hour cab ride like in NYC.

The point is that only Boston could have gotten this huge multi-faceted infrastructural improvement from the Big Dig because only Boston had so many things wrong with it.

EDIT- Oh yes... not that it means anything but IMHO the Zakim Bridge is truly a modern masterpiece.

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The point is that only Boston could have gotten this huge multi-faceted infrastructural improvement from the Big Dig because only Boston had so many things wrong with it.

Boston's compact size also give it a far bigger bang for the buck. The Big Dig is far more than a highway project, and the benefits it has created spread across the region. However, if Boston was a more spread out city, a lot of the extended benefits wouldn't have panned out. There's no way that the airport could ever be 5 minutes from downtown if it weren't for the fact that the airport pretty much is downtown. The number of neighbourhoods directly benefitting would have been less, if Boston weren't so compact and interconnected. And the entire project would never have been possible if Boston weren't an easily walkable and well served public transit city.

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Boston's Central Artery was also notorious as one of Americas most dangerous stretches of highway because of a poor design and incomplete infrastructure but also because of weather. This is Boston and people aren't going to let anything less than the Blizzard of `78 to stop them from driving. No more scenes like this:

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:D sorry

Actually its a very fair question because it should have cost a little less and shouldn't have had to cut back on things like tiles for the ceiling of the tunnel. Some shady stuff went down and we may never get all the answers but that shouldn't stop the Feds from funding giant projects for other major cities, there should just be lessons learned about better oversight. The benefits to the urban environment are enormous.

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The cost overruns are a legitimate concern, but they have been blown far out of proportion. There is no question that the project went over budget, and that it went over budget further than reasonable. The entire way government projects are bid deserves a lot of the blame for that. Most government projects go to the lowest bidder with little question as to the reality of the bid. Then contractors load on change orders to get up to what they knew from the beginning the project would actually cost. The private sector sees less problems with this, because they are not compelled to go with the lowest bid, in fact the lowest bid is usually thrown out without question in the private sector.

Blame also lies in the fact that the Feds and the Commonwealth basically let the project run for years withoout carefully scrutinizing the costs. Then all of a sudden there was this big surprise that they were way over budget. If the feds and the state had been watching the budget more carefully, a lot of overruns could have been headed off before they got out of control.

The media created the most hysteria about the project. NBC loved featuring the project on it's Fleecing of America segments. They would quote the 1980s budget and compare it to the 1990s actual cost. They never bothered to convert 1980s dollars to 1990s dollars, or to point out that the project's original concept was far different then it's final design. Or the fact that the original prices were estimates, not accepted bids.

And no one outside of Massachusetts seems to understand that the Feds stopped pumping money into this project years ago, as tocoto pointed out, a large slice of this project was paid for by the Massachusetts taxpayers and toll payers. And the Commonwealth will continue paying for it for years to come.

But yes, it could be choked with traffic tomorrow, and it still would have been worth it. The benefits, far beyond just improved traffic flow, are almost incalculable.

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One reason it went over budget is that some neighborhoods demanded changes, and got them. We wouldn't have a Zakim Bridge if Cambridge and Charlestown hadn't sued to prevent the original design known as "Scheme Z".

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More on the Greenway

View "A City in Bloom" QuickTime movie at the Big Dig's website.

The Greenway Corridor

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North End Parks D032A

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Proposals that weren't accepted:

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Wharf District Parks D032B

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See Boston.com's Above the Big Dig for more on the Wharf District designs.

Chinatown Park D032C

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See crja.com for more on the Chinatown Park designs.

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This cross section of the Greenway corridor shows what the Greenway will be concealing below the city of Boston.

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Amorello: Big Dig Within Budget

Big Dig 94 Percent Complete

POSTED: 12:25 pm EDT July 1, 2004

UPDATED: 4:06 pm EDT July 1, 2004

BOSTON -- Big Dig officials offered a progress report on construction along the old central artery and unveiled the final price tag of the multi-billion dollar project Thursday.

NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that although there is still about $800,000 worth of work to be done, officials say the project is within budget.

"Today I am here to announce an equally important milestone on the project, one of great significance to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and to the nation, and that is for the fourth year in a row, after a top to bottom review of the finance plan for the big dig, we are holding the project price tag at $14.625 billion," said Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello.

The project is 94 percent done, and barring unforeseen problems, the final cost will be where it has been for four years -- eight times the original project estimate in 1987.

The Democratic National Convention will shut down much of the work for one week in July.

"There will be no dollar associated with that shut down of work. The contractors will be given additional time to complete their contracts, but it will not change the dollar amount value of their contracts. So we are not having an impact on our budget, but there will be a week's loss on the schedules," said Amorello.

Amorello also said the construction of the parks and streets in the North End and Chinatown will not be complete until 2007.

From WCVB

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This was worth every penny. The old I-93 went from 4+ lanes to 2 or 3 lanes through Boston. In my opinion the only other solution would have been to build 2 levels of highway above the old 93 through Boston. Even that wouldn't nearly have improved traffic as much as the Big Dig.

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GreenwayOverview.jpg

Click to see more on the Greenway designs from Boston.com.

Pact reached on Greenway management

Turnpike will help jump-start conservancy

By Anthony Flint, Globe Staff | July 12, 2004

The city, the Romney administration, and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority have agreed to establish an independent, nonprofit organization to run the Rose Kennedy Greenway, ending years of political turf battles over the parklands and development set for the footprint of the old Central Artery.

Governor Mitt Romney, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello are set to sign the document creating the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy at 10 a.m. today in the mayor's office at Boston City Hall, using Mayor James Michael Curley's antique desk.

The conservancy, modeled after a similar citizen-run organization that maintains Central Park in New York, will raise money to maintain the new space and help schedule events on it. The conservancy will get help from the turnpike to get started -- one dollar from the authority for every private dollar the conservancy raises, up to $5 million.

The Turnpike Authority also promises to cover all operational and maintenance costs through 2012, at an estimated cost of $15 million. In return, the authority gets to appoint five of the 10 conservancy board members; the city and state will each appoint two, and the Kennedy family will appoint one. Amorello will also recommend someone to serve as executive director.

''It's a monumental thing, an historic thing," said retired Judge Edmund Reggie, Kennedy's father-in-law, who confirmed the agreement yesterday. Reggie brokered a series of negotiations over the future of the Greenway during the last three months. ''There were a thousand hurdles, but everybody wanted it to happen. The governor lent a tremendous amount of good faith, and so did the chairman. I've never seen a group of political people get together and decide that this was a good project for the city and the Commonwealth, and therefore to submerge all political feelings."

Those feelings run deep. Romney has been trying to eliminate the Turnpike Authority for the last two years, calling it a wasteful, patronage-laden ''rogue agency." But the governor today will share the stage with Amorello, and sign a document that gives the agency substantial control over the prized 27 acres created by the $14.6 billion Big Dig.

Romney is ready to sign legislation that gives future governors more control over the Turnpike Authority, starting at the end of Amorello's term, in 2007. That legislation makes the state transportation secretary chairman of the Turnpike Authority board, and reduces Amorello's job to general manager at half the current $205,000 annual salary.

Menino was concerned that the Turnpike Authority had too much control over the conservancy, according to officials involved in the negotiations, but ultimately deferred to Kennedy, who wanted to show visitors at the upcoming Democratic National Convention that the future of the Greenway was secure. The senior senator plans to lead a Greenway dedication ceremony on July 26, the first day of the convention, on land beside Hanover Street that will become a park.

The plans for the Greenway have been debated for 15 years, but there was always uncertainty over its long-term management, because three major government entities have been involved. The state, which began the project before handing it over to the Turnpike Authority in 1997, technically owns the land. But the authority runs the Big Dig, and has paid for and guided the design and construction of what is planned for the surface -- three major park sections in the North End, near the New England Aquarium, and in Chinatown, and private development and cultural buildings interspersed along the corridor.

The city has sought control over the surface project because the land runs right through the heart of downtown Boston, although from the beginning it has not offered to pay for any construction or maintenance.

Under the terms of the conservancy agreement, the city retains broad powers over what planners call programming: concerts, gatherings, and special events. The city will also be in charge of security for the Greenway, both by Boston police and privately contracted security firms, and the pact calls for the establishment of a 12-member ''leadership council" that includes neighborhood representation. The document to be signed today is called a memorandum of understanding, and does not require legislation, according to the lawyers who worked on it.

Senate President Robert E. Travaglini is expected to attend today's event, and State House aides and negotiators say he supports the establishment of the conservancy. However, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran had been contemplating legislation to clarify the issue of who owns the land -- the state is supposed to hand it over to the Turnpike Authority, according to 1997 legislation -- and possibly to line up additional state funding for the conservancy. Finneran did not return a telephone call seeking comment yesterday.

The negotiations over the conservancy snagged on three key issues, participants said: how much money the new organization should start with, and where it should come from, as well as who got to make appointments to the conservancy board. In the end, the Turnpike Authority received more control over the conservancy because it came forward with promises of money.

There was also concern, participants in the negotiations said, over how the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy would be viewed -- as a political entity or a truly independent, nonprofit organization. The distinction is critical in terms of raising money.

The Greenway conservancy is a mix of the two. Technically, it will be a private nonprofit organization under the Internal Revenue Service classification 501

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