LETTER: Resident Likes the Landscaping of the New Pedestrian Bridge, Railings Not So Much

Watertown resident Chuck Dickinson came across crews putting in the landscaping at either end of the new pedestrian bridge across the Charles River, and he liked the crew’s work so much that he took some photos. 

The Department of Conservation and Recreation installed the new bridge at the end of May in place of the old one, which was not handicap accessible. He also took a few photos of the new bridge, including the side railings (which he said are quite tall). Dickinson submitted the following write-up:

After a long-anticipated installation of the new Thompson Pedestrian Bridge, landscapers from DCR contractor MON Landscaping (Dartmouth, MA) labored in the hot sun on the days before and after the Fourth of July holiday to plant new shrubs and trees on both sides of the Charles River. The landscaping is a needed finishing touch to the bridge project, as it softens the concrete and asphalt approaches on both sides of the river with greenery and foliage. Although many are unhappy with the high railings on the new bridge that obscure or limit river views, the bridge’s landscaping is likely to be welcomed and appreciated by all.

Public Works Encourages Residents to Report Spills in the Charles River

{The following piece was provided by Town Engineer Matthew Shuman from the Watertown Department of Public Works}
We appreciate our citizens on the look-out for potential sources of pollution in the Charles River, and it’s unfortunate that this resident had a difficult time contacting someone after hours. I’m not sure about the particulars in this instance, but we do receive calls after hours using an answering service. Furthermore, we are staffed 24-7 for emergencies. Also, all our storm drains that enter the Charles River (“outfalls”) have signs and a number attached to them (see the photo). It’s helpful when reporting potential pollution to include the outfall number as well, as this can help us with follow-up investigations.

Recreation Department Hosts Free Kayaking Event on Charles River

The Watertown Recreation Department announced it will host a free Kayaking event on the Charles River – in partnership with Live Well Watertown. Participants will pair up in a double kayak for a fun, leisurely, or active ride along the Charles River. Charles River Recreation will provide basic instruction and safety rules for all who participate. This program is open to new and experienced kayakers. Comfortable, layered clothing is recommended; wear shoes that can get wet.

Strange Substance Seen Flowing into Charles River from Storm Drains

A Watertown resident caught on video a strange looking substance flowing out of storm drains into the Charles River on June 2. He could not identify what it was and was frustrated by efforts to report the outflow. 

The resident, David, lives near the Charles River and spotted the floating, beige or yellowish substance in the water Saturday afternoon. See video below. “It was a dark color and was floating on the surface of the water,” David said. The substance was coming out of two of the storm drain pipes and going the water.

Installation of Replacement Pedestrian Bridge Across Charles River Begins

Sections of the new Joseph Thompson Pedestrian Bridge arrived Wednesday and will be lifted into place on Thursday morning, however it will still be a few weeks before people can meander across the new span. The bridge has been a topic of discussion and contention for many Watertown residents, especially those living close to the section of the river just west of Watertown Square. Originally planned to be in place by the end of 2017, the new bridge arrived Wednesday. Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy visited the construction site Wednesday afternoon as workers prepared the bridge to be lifted into place on Thursday morning. The project is part of the effort by the Baker-Polito Administration to allow more people to access parks and recreational areas around Massachusetts, Roy said.

Charles River Path, Parking Lot Closing Briefly for Installation of Pedestrian Bridge

The long awaited installation of the Joseph Thompson Pedestrian Bridge will happen at the end of May, and will require the closure of a section of the path along the Charles River in Watertown, as well as a parking lot near the Dealtry Pool. The Department of Conservation and Recreation sent out the following information about the closure of the path:
DCR Pedestrian and Traffic Advisory: Charles River Greenway/Dealtry Pool in Watertown
WHAT: On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, and Thursday, May 31, 2018, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement a closure of the Charles River Greenway along Pleasant Street between Bridge Street and Galen Street in the Town of Watertown, and the parking lot at the Dealtry Memorial Pool. The closure will accommodate the delivery and placement of the new Joseph Thompson Pedestrian Bridge. Work will be conducted from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pedestrians and bicyclists are encouraged to utilize California Street, and traffic delays are anticipated. A detour route and traffic signage will be clearly marked, a police detail will be on site, and DCR Rangers will assist pedestrians and bicyclists.

Watertown Group Removes Trash, Debris During Charles River Cleanup

A group from the Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice made the Charles River a nicer place by removing all sorts of items from the waterway during the Charles River Cleanup on Saturday, April 28. The group removed garbage, debris and much more from the shore of the Charles River in Watertown near the Stop & Shop on Pleasant Street. “We had a great turnout,” said Sue Ellen Hershman-Tcherepin, president of Watertown Citizens. She added, “It is both one of the most depressing and one of the most exhilarating activities that brings our community together!” The group was one of dozens participating in the Charles River Cleanup on Saturday.

Charles River Watershed Association Hosting Cleanup, Canoe & Kayak Race

This weekend will be a big one along the Charles River as advocates for the waterway will host a cleanup Saturday and on Sunday will hold a canoe and kayak race. The Charles River Watershed Association provided the following information:
River Cleanup
On Saturday, April 28 at 9 a.m., Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) will sponsor the Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. Volunteers from over 35 Massachusetts towns will work together at 104 sites along the Charles River to remove litter and beautify the river and its surrounding parklands. The largest one-day river cleanup in the country, this annual event brings together people from corporate, community and youth groups to protect the Charles River, an important natural resource for our whole community. After the Cleanup, volunteers will relax at one of three picnics, including a celebration at DCR’s Fiedler Field on the Esplanade.