Thursday, July 5, 2012

What the Big Dig Did Right

Bostonians can't help but notice what the Big Dig did wrong. The construction phase was hell. I'll never forget the horror and helplessness I felt as poorly-marked detours sent me further and further away from the airport. And yes, I did miss that flight.

Taking an urban highway system and moving it underground is a Herculean undertaking fraught with countless obstacles. Subways lines had to be avoided. Tunnels had to be sunk into the shipping channels. Detours and even road directions changed daily. If someone asked, "Was this road here yesterday?", chances were good that it actually wasn't. This is bound to cause some confusion and headache.

And the outrage and scandal continues as defects and graft are uncovered. The ceiling tile that fell and killed a woman was due to contractors installing cheap substandard bolts. The pavement is also substandard, and slowly turning our main highway into a gravel road. Behind-schedule, over-budget, poorly-made, and plagued by accusations of corruption, it's a textbook case of how NOT to do a public works project.

But they did do a few things right...

When they buried the swath of elevated highway that stretched north/south through town, they were left with a continuous stretch of open space - valuable open space in the middle of a tightly-packed city. And instead of selling it all off for profit, they preserved it as urban green space. They turned it into a string of parks. And then they sprinkled it with art, sprinkler parks, and a carousel.

The result is stunning.

The girls exploring the "Urban Garden"

The girls climbing the "Tree of Knowledge"

Not sure the name of this sculpture, but BestestHusband called it "Giant's Coatrack"

We're obviously not giants. We need a different coatrack.

HeyMama enjoyed climbing the pumpkins and jumping off.

There used to be an ugly green highway here. Now there's a big tree.

Despite all of the green space, we are still in the city.

Plenty of room to run and roam.

MeToo kept gravitating back to the "Tree of Knowledge". Not a bad thing...

I'd love to spend a day just exploring its length. We would have happily stayed longer if we'd packed a dinner. We'll add that to our list of things to do this summer...

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