Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dual paths in Back Bay Fens by MFA

By: Elena Minondo

The Back Bay Fens, most commonly called simply The Fens, is large picturesque park and urban wild in Boston, Massachusetts. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park, it serves as a connection in the Emerald Necklace park system, and it was given this name because of where it is situated in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. The park is surrounded by residential area, many universities including Northeastern University, as well as different important museums including the Museum of Fine Arts.

The park has many people walking, biking, or doing exercise like running, or playing sports. It is always visited because of the community gardens; the elegant Kellecher Rose Garden; World War II, Korean and Vietnam War memorial; busy ball fields; and the unusual range of bird species are major attractions. 
The Park has dual paths so that people can walk in one and the other one can be use for people in bicycles.
Back Bay Fens

Paved and gravel paths wind throughout this entire park, these are in good conditions for bikes and pedestrians. When people are walking on the paths, the paths do not show clearly where the bike path is and where pedestrians are supposed to walk. There are no markings or signs that show people where to go. People just walk wherever they feel like it and the bikes use any of the two paths that exist. There is a lot of open space and clear visibility for bikes to see the pedestrians that are walking ahead, and that visibility and space makes people in the bikes and pedestrians feel safe, which makes the Park a very calm and peaceful place.

The design of where the paths are situated in the park help the function of the park. One of the paths is closer to the street; this lane can be use for bikes or for people who just want to walk along the street, like a sidewalk. The other path is further form the street more inside the park. I observed that most of the pedestrians walking in the park preferred the pathway that is farther form the street. Most of the time people feel safer walking or running if they are not so close to the cars. The design of the Fens today mostly reflects the work of landscape architect Arthur Shurtleff. He turned the focus of the park to the Museum of Fine Arts and gave a more formal landscape style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. 

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