Tag Archives: rose kennedy greenway

Tour of the Rose Kennedy Greenway

The elevated Central Artery running through downtown Boston was dismantled starting in 2004 as part of the Big Dig. The automobile traffic that would have taken the highway now moves below ground. In its place, Boston got the Greenway. On Thursday, I took a tour of the Greenway parks.

The tour was led by Darrah Cole and Anthony Ruggiero, horticulturists working for the Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit group that manages the parks.

Our group started at the Chinatown gate. The park there has reduced green space because the community asked for a plaza where they could hold events. One end of the plaza is lined with Dutch elm-resistant ‘Frontier’ elms. These elms are a hybrid of the European field elm (Ulmus minor) and the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia).

Frontier elms on Chinatown plaza
Frontier elms on Chinatown plaza

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The People’s Library

Sign telling people to borrow books

Hundreds of books line the shelves of a tent on the north end of the Occupy Boston encampment. Poetry, psychology, philosophy (with special sections for Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky) — the subjects and authors are varied, if tending to the left of the political spectrum.

To serve those without an Internet connection, the website, the wiki, and working group meeting notes have been printed. Any book can be checked out anonymously and returned whenever the reader is finished.

It is fitting that, in the city that is home to the first free public lending library in the nation, the movement create a library open to all.

See also:
Librarian.net: Interview with Kristin Parker
New York Times: Occupying Boston and Beyond, With Tent Libraries for All

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Occupy Boston and Police Overtime

Five security cameras overlooking Occupy Boston
Security cameras on the service building overlooking the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square

Mayor Menino has said that the Occupy Boston protests are costing the city too much money in police overtime.  City Council President Stephen Murphy went so far as to peg that cost at $2 million a month, a number he made up.  But why is the city spending so much money on police in the first place?

Four or five officers are assigned to stand duty in Dewey Square around the clock.  But for what?  Unless the protesters are marching, there have been no security issues which necessitate such a presence.  One of the officers even admitted to getting a little bored. If problems arise, the 911 emergency system can function in Dewey Square and its surroundings just as it functions in the rest of the city.

Besides, the encampment is surrounded by more than a dozen security cameras, cameras which the police have said they will use:

Police will employ the use of video-cameras in areas surrounding the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The video will be used to capture the images of individuals who are engaging in disorder. Those images will then be used to lodge criminal complaints in a follow-up investigation conducted by Boston Police detectives.
Boston Police Media Relations

So why the overtime?  I guess it is to protect the city from peddlers of a few dollars worth of prescription drugs.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money have not been spent in vain.

Update (Feb. 10, 2012): Total spending on the Occupy Boston encampment came to $1.4 million.

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