Creation of the Boston Harborwalk
Originally envisioned by then-Mayor Raymond Flynn in 1984 in his Harborpark Framework, the Boston Harborwalk arose as a commitment to protecting public access to the waterfront as the city redeveloped former industrial wharves following the Boston Harbor cleanup.
“First and foremost, Harborpark is designed to guarantee public access to the unique environment along the Boston Harbor, while encouraging balanced growth along the entire waterfront.
“Second, the Harborpark concept brings rationality and a sense of public purpose to the process of growth. Each pier and wharf retains its own identity, yet each area has been integrated into an uninterrupted walkway that extends from Charlestown to South Boston.”
As Boston’s waterfront underwent extensive redevelopment over the next three decades, the Harborwalk emerged piece-by-piece. Now nearing completion, the Harborwalk is comprised of both the 12-foot pathway itself and associated public amenities such as parks, ground-floor “facilities of public accommodation” (e.g., restaurants, stores, cultural institutions, bathrooms) and water transportation infrastructure.
About the Harborwalk
Part of the richness of the Harborwalk is its variety, reflecting the various activities and urban textures of adjacent land. In places, the HarborWalk extends into maritime industrial areas, allowing visitors to observe at close range working port operations. In others, Harborwalkers can enjoy a swim, go fishing, visit over forty parks and a dozen museums, or sample the latest foodie destination restaurant.
The Harborwalk connects to a number of inland trails and parks, including the Emerald Necklace, Charles River Esplanade, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Freedom Trail, South Bay Trail and East Boston Greenway. Please note that, with the exception of wheelchairs, the Harborwalk is a non-motorized pathway. Bicycles are welcome on the portion of the Harborwalk from the Neponset River Greenway to Castle Island State Park. North of Castle Island, however, pedestrian traffic becomes heavier and bicyclists should move to bike lanes.
Thank You to Our Partners
For over three decades, Boston Harbor Now has worked closely with the City of Boston, Massachusetts state agencies, private developers and waterfront residents to establish the Boston Harborwalk along 43 of the 47 miles of Boston’s shoreline (Logan Airport was excluded after September 11, 2001).