North End

North End Park: Two ideas, one design
By Sofia Celeste




Big Dig construction will no longer be
an eyesore for North End residents

As the debris from the Central Artery is cleared, the dust settles and construction of a new park begins next spring, the North End will get a new, more welcoming front door.

After nearly three decades of
meetings and, most recently, heated discussions over what this threshold should look like, the contours of the newly cleared land that will link the North End with the rest of the city has taken shape.

A green platform with maple trees, benches and vine-covered trellises will replace a maze of rebar, dust and bulldozers.

“We are trying to restore Boston back to its roots,” said Nancy Caruso, project co-chair and founder of the North End Waterfront Central Artery project. “We are trying to re-knit the North End with downtown Boston.”

The two-acre park planned for parcels 8 and 10 is but a fraction of the 27-acre Rose Kennedy Greenway: the open space uncovered by the dismantling of the Central Artery highway that once connected South Station with North Station. The land is immensely valuable and the Central Artery Advisory Committee has had to resist pressures from developers in keeping it green.

For example, nearly 20 percent of the North End’s shops, businesses and homes were demolished to make way for the Central Artery in the early 1950s. When the elevated freeway’s traffic leapt from 75,000 cars in 1959 to 190,000 cars in 1994, the solution was to build an underground passage, otherwise known as the Big Dig project—once again freeing up the land that lies between Haymarket and Cross Street.

Since the early 1980s the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, along with representatives from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, has been planning a park to replace the poorly-planned highway.

Politicians like Rep. Sal DiMasi, the majority leader, support the Central Artery Committee in backing plans for a tranquil buffer between the historic North End and downtown Boston.

“DiMasi wants a place where elderly and visitors can relax,” his legislative aide, Jason Aluia said.

Next: Piazza vs. Park

| Planning | Concerns | Long-term effects | Final obstacles

Inside this story:

1.Piazza vs. Park
4.Long-term effects
5.Final obstacles

The word on the street
Paul, 37, economist
Joanna, 29, financial manager
Manny, retired
Franco, 9, student

Map of Rose Kennedy Greenway
History of BigDig
Link to Scarpa’s Work



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