Dear Friend of the Charles River,

Summer is here, and life in Boston is finally feeling a bit more normal. As Massachusetts enters phase three of re-opening, we're able to enjoy more activities out of the home while we continue to practice safety precautions.

The Charles River parks remain a wonderful place to get outside, stay cool, and socially distance. When you visit the parks, please continue to adhere to MassDCR guidelines for safe park use.

This is our seventh Bringing the Parks to You newsletter. We hope you enjoy it!
Bringing the parks to you...
The Dr. Paul Dudley White Multi-use Path is an 18-mile loop along the Charles River, traversing Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and Newton. It extends on both sides of the Charles River from Watertown Square all the way to North Point Park in Cambridge and Nashua Street Park in Boston. The path is a popular route for bikers, runners, walkers, and skaters alike, and is well-used throughout the seasons. View the Dr. Paul Dudley White Multi-use Path on a map .
The bike and pedestrian pathway is named after renowned cardiologist Dr. Paul Dudley White. After graduating from Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. White served a s Chief of the Cardiac Services at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1924, Dr. White also co-founded the American Heart Association and became the organization’s president in 1941. Widely regarded as the founder of preventative cardiology, Dr. White was a staunch advocate for exercise and diet in the prevention of heart disease. He also was an avid walker and cyclist.

Following President Dwight D. Eisenhower's heart attack in 1955, Dr. White was appointed as the president's personal cardiologist. Under the national spotlight, Dr. White prescribed the president with bicycling and helped shift public perception of heart attack treatment and prevention. He is credited with playing an important role in President Eisenhower's recovery and ability to run for a second term.

Dr. White continued to ride his bike late into his life, and died in 1973 at the age of 87. Just a few years later in 1975, the first section of the Dr. Paul Dudley White path along the Charles River was fittingly completed in his honor.

(Sources: American Heart Association , New York Times , & Access Boston 2000-2010 Boston Bicycle Plan . Image courtesy of American Heart Association)
The section of the Paul Dudley White path between the BU Bridge and River Street Bridge in Boston, termed the “throat,” is a key artery of transportation for pedestrians and cyclists. However, it is one of the most unpleasant and unsafe areas of the Charles River path system. It consists of a narrow strip of pavement wedged between the eroded river edge and the guardrail of Soldiers Field Road, with the I-90 viaduct looming overhead. The well-trafficked path is over-crowded and dangerous.

MassDOT's Allston Multimodal Project, which will replace the the aging I-90 Allston interchange, provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to improve this area. With our partners at WalkBoston, we have launched a campaign to #UnchokeTheThroat as part of the one-billion dollar project. The section needs separated walking and biking paths that meet safe-width guidelines, and the river's edge must be restored. Additionally, better pedestrian and bike connection are needed to improve access to the river and paths for the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. We continue to advocate for a better Allston Multimodal Project for the river, the parks, and people. Learn more about our advocacy.
"The Paul Dudley White Multi-use Path provides pedestrians and bicyclists with important transportation connections as well as scenic river vistas. However, the section between the BU Bridge and River Street Bridge in Boston, termed the “throat,” is overcrowded, unsafe, and inaccessible. The Allston Multimodal Project provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to improve these conditions."

Wendy Landman
Senior Policy Advisor, WalkBoston

  • Want to learn more about the inspiring life and work of renowned cartiologist Dr. Paul Dudley White? Read his archived obituary from the New York Times: "Dr. Paul Dudley White Is Dead at 87."

  • MassDOT has the opportunity for a legacy project in Allston, but the question of whether they'll take it remains. Check out Renée Loth's opinion piece in The Boston Globe: "Highway visions, and revisions."
Rainbows always have a way of lifting the spirits! Last week's rainbow over the Charles River was captured by many talented photographers on Instagram, and we hope it makes you smile.

Since the pandemic started, we have used our social media channels to keep you connected to the parks and to each other. Please join us on Instagram , Twitter , and Facebook .
We appreciate your ongoing support so that we can continue to steward the Charles River and its parks, a resource that is more important than ever.