The time has come for a serious reconsideration of the future of the Bowker Overpass at the Charlesgate. With the recent commencement of major and very expensive emergency repairs to the overpass (which will greatly inconvenience the Charlesgate and Back Bay West neighborhoods for the next two years) and with the open discussion of a $100 million rebuild project within 5 years, it is essential that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts DOT and DCR give serious consideration to removal of the overpass altogether.
The Emerald Necklace Parks Masterplan, formally drawn up by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in April 2001, recommends the removal of the overpass and the restoration of the lost connection of the Olmsted park system with the Charles River. In addition, recent studies of traffic patterns over the Bowker indicate that this volume of traffic could be readily handled by the addition of one extra lane in each direction on Charlesgate East and West.(see Proposal Options Page)
The Friends of the Charlesgate believe that it is now time to undo the terrible mistake that was made in 1969 with the construction of the universally acknowledged urban blight known as Bowker Overpass. It is time to remove this artificial “barrier” and re-integrate the beautiful Charlesgate and Back Bay West neighborhoods into the Back Bay community. And above all, it is time to restore the natural and historic beauty of this wasted parkland under the overpass to its rightful place on the Emerald Necklace.