The South Bay Harbor Trail

On Earth Day 2001, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay stood with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as he formally announced the City of Boston’s support of the South Bay Harbor Trail to connect Boston’s neighborhoods with Boston Harbor and the Emerald Necklace. At that time, the Mayor asked Save the Harbor’s President Patricia Foley to serve as the City’s lead non-profit partner on the project, which we understood from the outset would be a complicated one.

When it is completed, the South Bay Harbor Trail will connect 5 neighborhoods – Roxbury, the South End, Chinatown, the Fort Point Channel and South Boston – on a route that crosses over bridges and under highways and includes dozens of parcels of public land owned by the City, the Commonwealth and the federal government, as well as privately owned parcels that are home to civic and cultural institutions, businesses and restaurants.

Late last year, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh announced that construction of the South Bay Harbor Trail is set to begin in the Spring of 2018, with a first phase being built underneath the Southeast Expressway to connect Albany Street to the Harborwalk. Several segments are open for use today, including parts of the Harborwalk in South Boston. The upcoming Melnea Cass Boulevard reconstruction, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019, will upgrade the route along this corridor.

Since 2001, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has raised nearly $1 million from foundation and corporate partners and local businesses to bring the idea from the back of an envelope to a formal design document ready for submission to government planning agencies for funding approval. Based on the strength of the project and the breadth and depth of its support, we have secured $3.9 million in federal funds to finish the design and construct the portions of the Trail on public lands, and in-kind support from the Coast Guard who agreed to provide rehabilitated navigation buoys to serve as wayfinding elements along the trail.

As the City of Boston’s lead non-profit partner on this project, Save the Harbor is working directly with Mass DOT, project engineer DCI, BCEC, the United States Coast Guard, property owners and abutters and the South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition to facilitate the completion of this critical new connection.

In 2018, with your support, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will:

  • Convene community meetings along the route, to reintroduce neighborhood residents to the trail and update the community on the progress of the project.
  • Design and produce signage and wayfinding elements, including the sails and buoys that will demark the trail and provide place specific information to cyclists and pedestrians using the trail.
  • Secure additional funds for landscaping, signage, wayfinding and the installation and permanent maintenance of public art along the route.
  • Develop and implement a multi-track communications strategy using traditional channels and social media to reinforce the value of the project to decision makers and the public.
  • Work with neighborhood TMA’s, cycling advocates, local businesses and the community to identify and strengthen spurs that will strengthen the SBHT and connect both recreational cyclists and commuters to emerging destinations and the city’s planned network of parks, and open spaces in the seaport, and the harbor islands, and the region’s public beaches.

As longtime advocates of the South Bay Harbor Trail, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is delighted to see this critical connection take shape. When completed, the South Bay Harbor Trail will:

Connect Boston’s neighborhoods, which have been historically cut off from Boston Harbor, to the waterfront and the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. It will also connect the waterfront with the Emerald Necklace and beyond.

Provide healthy and safe recreational opportunities for Bostonians, and new connections to planned parks, public spaces, and civic and cultural destinations along the harbor and the waterfront, including the Rose Kennedy Greenway the Boston Children’s Museum, BCEC’s “Lawn on D”, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Trail’s terminus on Fan Pier.

Link people from these five neighborhoods to the incredible urban natural resources available to them thanks to the Boston Harbor Clean-up, including the Boston Harbor, the regions public beaches and the Boston Harbor Islands.

Build critical new transportation capacity into the South Boston waterfront and the emerging Fort Point Channel neighborhood, creating a new connection to public transportation and provide a safe mode of travel for residents to get to work, thereby reducing automobile traffic and vehicle emissions.

Below you will find a map of the proposed route for the South Bay Harbor Trail as well as a recent article on the project featured in the Boston Globe. Thank you for your consideration of our urban trailmaking endeavor and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is a non-profit public interest harbor advocacy organization. We are made up of thousands of citizens, as well as scientists, and civic, corporate, cultural and community leaders whose mission is to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the marine environment and share them with the public for everyone to enjoy.

Program from the Nov 7th South Bay Harbor Trail event at Gillette.

Save the Harbor Honors South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition Article

Document with South Bay Harbor Trail Wayfinding Master Plan.

Simple map depicting the path of the South Bay Harbor Trail