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The Emerald Necklace Greenway
Once upon a time--and once again

Once upon a time you could walk from the Charles River to Franklin Park along a continuous linear park. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted more than a century ago, the Emerald Necklace was an uninterrupted ribbon of parkland that connected the Back Bay with Brookline, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. People on foot and on horseback could get from one section of the park to another in a beautiful landscape of walking paths, bridle paths and carriageways. That's how the Emerald Necklace was designed and that's how it functioned for many years.

Not today. Over the years automobile use has exploded. Roads that cut across the parks have been widened and the parkways themselves have become busy commuter routes. The continuous linear park designed by Olmsted is now broken in six major places. Today you have to dodge rushing traffic to get from one part of the park to another and in some places you can't even see that the park continues.

As we approach the new century it is time to reconnect the Emerald Necklace. Consistent with the goals set forth in the Emerald Necklace Master Plan, BikeBoston, a project of MassBike, is leading a coalition of organizations and community groups that want to see a multi-use greenway path system from end to end of the Necklace. This is just the start and much more needs to be done to work with the City of Boston, the Town of Brookline and the Metropolitan District Commission to secure the resources and political will needed to make this greenway happen.

We need your help. Go out and explore the Emerald Necklace. Bike or stroll the existing paths. Let us know where you find breaks in the greenway and what improvements you suggest for the safety and enjoyment of pedestrians and bicyclists. And while you're at it, contact your elected officials and agency representatives. Let them know where the breaks are and express your support for an Emerald Necklace Greenway that is connected once again. Come to the next Greenway Festival (we had them in 1999 and 2001.

For more information, please contact BikeBoston, P.O. Box 743, Boston, MA 02130 or (617) 522-1382 or at http://www.massbike.org/eng/.