A 50-Year Anniversary Worth Noting: People Before Highways

When plans for the Southwest Expressway’s 8-mile extension threatened to rend neighborhoods and displace residents, Bostonians pushed back. In late November, 1972, the Ward 4 Democratic Committee joined with urban activists and government officials—notably then-Governor Francis W. Sargent—to halt expressway construction and establish a new “framework for how government thinks about transit and for prioritizing citizen participation in transportation planning.”

This is a story of grassroots activism in Boston.

The Boston Globe‘s Danny McDonald marks the anniversary: “…it’s hard to overstate the impact that Sargent’s decision had on modern Greater Boston. Today, part of the proposed highway-that-never-was is the Southwest Corridor Park, a treasured 4-mile greenway that stretches from the Back Bay to Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain. The old elevated Orange Line along Washington Street was torn down and relocated to the former highway corridor, which led to the renewal of neighborhoods in the South End and Jamaica Plain.”

Read the article.

Photo: Associated Press, The Boston Globe, December 5, 2022

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