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Carlton Street Footbridge Footbridge

In 1890, Frederick Law Olmsted, considered the father of American landscape architecture, designed the six-mile-long Emerald Necklace, America’s first park system. The footbridge and path design at Carlton Street was intended to link the “neighboring streets” to the Park.

The bridge was designed by Alexis French, Olmsted’s collaborator in the design of Riverway and Olmsted Parks and Brookline’s first Town Engineer. The single-span steel truss bridge provides access between Brookline’s historic Longwood/Cottage Farm neighborhoods and the Riverway Park section of the Emerald Necklace.

BGSA has supported the efforts of the Friends of the Carlton Street Footbridge to reopen this important entrance to the Park after the bridge was allowed to deteriorate through deferred maintenance until it was finally closed in 1976. The Bridge was included in the 1999 major park restoration project which includes improved water quality and historic restoration for the Muddy River Parks. The Secretary of Environmental Affairs' 2002 Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) certificate regarding the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report states that "the Carlton Street Footbridge is historically significant and is an integral component of the Olmsted Park System, and its eventual rehabilitation and reopening is an established part of the wider Emerald Necklace rehabilitation effort." In 2010 Brookline Town Meeting voted funds to restore the Bridge.

Brookline applied to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization for a $1.2 million grant for Bridge restoration. Bridge restoration will entail removal of the bridge by crane to a remote location for rehabilitation, and building ADA-compliant ramps.

The footbridge as it looks today.