Keller @ Large: Greenway’s Failed Promises

BOSTON (CBS) – As Casey Ross of the Globe pointed out yesterday, the abandonment of a proposed new YMCA on the Rose Kennedy Greenway marks the death of the last big promise for construction of crowd-attracting new institutions to the land reclaimed by the $27 billion Big Dig.

The horticultural society’s garden under glass?


The center for arts and culture, the Boston history museum, the harbor islands visitors center?

All dead and gone.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

It turns out that it is prohibitively expensive, recession or not, to build over the Greenway and its ubiquitous, ugly on-and-off ramps.

As a result, finally, bigwigs are admitting what others have been observing for years — the original vision of the Greenway as a park dotted with big civic institutional buildings is a costly failure.

With that in mind, watching an old p-r video put out by the Big Dig touting the benefits of this now-defunct plan makes for unintentionally hilarious viewing.

But it’s also a painful reminder of how the entire Big Dig has been characterized by phony promises, p-r spin, and dishonesty with the bill-paying public.

Remember the radio ads they used to run where a fake traffic reporter has nothing to report because the Big Dig has wiped out commuter traffic jams? That’s a classic.

Remember being told that the Big Dig was “on-time and on-budget”? Another howler.

WBZ’s Jon Keller takes a look at the Greenway project

And now the Globe quotes Boston’s top planner gushing about what a “powerful realization” it is that the Greenway could just remain open space.

Yes, powerful, and appalling.

Imagine what a year-round crowd magnet the northern end of the Greenway would be if the North End had been built out to link up with the Faneuil Hall area and North Station, replete with restaurants, stores and apartments.

Imagine what year-round fun the Greenway might be if we followed the model of other cities like Chicago instead of indulging our own myopic vanity.

Instead, during the bad-weather months, the Greenway is close to a wasteland.

Thanks, brainy planners and clueless pols — for nothing.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m.  You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller

More From CBS Boston

Summer of Savings
Download Weather App

Listen Live