Arborway, Corridor paths get smoother

July 10, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

The going is getting smoother on the Arborway sidewalk and the Southwest Corridor Park bicycle/walking paths in two fix-up projects by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

And a long section of chain-link fence on an Arborway median strip was removed last week, instantly improving the look and feel of the parkway.

All of the work came because DCR had some leftover money in its budget and targeted Jamaica Plain due to the strong grassroots advocacy occurring here, according to state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez.

On the Arborway, a 1,400-foot stretch of bumpy, cracked sidewalk along the border of Arnold Arboretum was torn up last week and will be replaced by a stone-dust path, according to DCR spokesperson Anne Roach.

And on the Southwest Corridor, four sections of the bike/pedestrian path between Forest Hills and the Massa-chusetts Avenue Bridge that were damaged by tree roots are being repaved, with lane markings added, Roach said. That work was scheduled for completion this week.

Roach could not specify which sections of the Southwest Corridor path were targeted by the $35,000 project. But one recently completed stretch in JP is between Williams Street and the Green Street T Station area.

The Arborway sidewalk’s bad condition was an issue that came up in last year’s “Gateway to the Arborway” planning for fix-ups to the parkway. The sidewalk problems are largely due to soil slumping down as the Arbore-tum’s historic stone wall—which is also a retaining wall holding the sidewalk area up—slowly crumbles.

The state owns the sidewalk, but the City of Boston owns the wall and cannot afford repairs. Roach said the stone-dust path is a temporary solution until the city can fix the wall. Long-term possibilities for the side-walk discussed in the Gateway to the Arborway process included an asphalt mixed-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Stone dust—powdered stone on top of dirt—is often criticized by wheelchair users and bicycle/pedestrian advocates for its tendency to turn into muck if not regularly maintained.

The fence removal is part of the Gateway to the Arborway plan, which calls for a much lower, picket-style iron fence to replace it.