Preserve Fort Point Channel’s gains

Re “ ‘Landmark Parks’ sought for Fort Point” (Page A1, Sept. 21): This is exciting news, but I hope Mayor Walsh and the Trustees of Reservations will take into account the numerous civic and nonprofit initiatives for access and open space already established, and gaining strength in the area. Three long-term specific initiatives include restoration of the Northern Avenue Bridge, inclusion of the Fort Point Channel Mall , and completion of the South Bay Harbor Trail multi-use path, connecting Roxbury and the South End to the Boston Harbor waterfront. Launched in the late 1990’s, each of these important civic design efforts envisions the Channel Watersheet as a vital attraction and connector whose improvement for climate change-induced flooding need not supersede the goals many citizen-advocates persisted to bring to implementation over the last 30 years.

Looking forward will require much reflection. Many stretches of the channel were entombed over the 20th century — including beneath the old Public Works Garage at West Fourth Street. New initiatives such as those the Boston Waterfront Initiative intend to achieve could well include the daylighting — or restoration — of the Roxbury and Dorchester Creeks, commonly referred to as the South Bay over much of Boston’s near-400-year history. If engineered correctly, daylighting the South Bay could increase flooding capacity and dramatically leverage open-space access. Just visit nearby downtown Providence for proof. That city daylighted two major rivers there to create the enormously successful riverfront promenade it uses to stage events such as Waterfire on an ongoing annual basis, and that system and its programming continue to grow.

To the Trustees of Reservations and the City: Please take inventory; there is much to complete and restore as the city forges ahead to protect and defend its growing and compelling waterfront.

Michael J. Tyrrell


The writer is the founding planner of Boston’s South Bay Harbor Trail, and a founder of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association, in South Boston.