Mar 27, 2017

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Names Award Winner

Greenough Greenway project recognized for sustainable infrastructure

greenough greenway project, watertown, envision, award

The Greenough Greenway project in Watertown, Mass., received the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision Bronze award. The Envision system rates sustainable infrastructure projects across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts. The Greenough Greenway project is the first in Massachusetts to earn an Envision sustainable infrastructure award.

The Greenough Greenway project’s objectives include enhancing public safety along the river, providing a fully accessible multi-use path next to the river, reclaiming parkland and enhancing the scenic value of the Charles River Reservation, improving the environmental quality of the Charles River, and maintaining

Greenough Boulevard as a fully functional parkway, as well as demonstrating an efficient and cost-effective public-private partnership.

The $2.4 million project will reduce the cross section of Greenough Boulevard, a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) parkway, which runs between the Eliot Bridge in Cambridge and Arsenal Street in Watertown. The cross section reduction allows construction of a tree-lined, 10-ft wide, multi-use path, a substantial green buffer separating pathway users from automobile traffic, storm water drainage improvements, and a strip of parkland to sustain the river bank. The path links to a broad network of regional recreational paths and improves access to diverse land uses adjacent to the corridor.

The Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation, in close partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, championed the project. VHB led the design effort.

“This project provides a triple bottom line for the tens of thousands of people who use the Charles River parks every year,” said Herb Nolan, deputy director of the Solomon Foundation. “First, by narrowing a dangerous boulevard, pedestrian safety has been significantly increased with minimal impact to roadway capacity. Secondly, adding new verdant parkland where once there was crumbling pavement and broken guardrails has transformed the experience of every pedestrian, cyclist, driver or boater along this stretch of the Charles River. Finally, reducing impervious pavement and adding close to 200 new shade trees will cool the park and filter storm water runoff for generations to come. All of this has been made possible through a strong public-private partnership and the intelligent work of the interdisciplinary team at VHB.”

A collaboration between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The ISI Envision system measures sustainability in five categories: quality of life, leadership, natural world, resource allocation, and climate and risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic and environmental impacts on a community.

To learn more about the Greenough Greenway project, visit