Renata von Tscharner and good the people at the Charles River Conservancy are out there fighting the good fight. Renata knows more about the history and current physical health of the Charles than you do, and spending an hour with her is an education. Among the important things she teaches: the Charles is a lot cleaner than you think. Renata and many others have leapt into the notorious waters of the Charles and have lived to tell the tale. Her work has not gone unnoticed: in November, the American Society of Landscape Architects awarded Renata the Olmsted Medal.
One of the Conservancy’s current efforts is to incorporate underpasses into the restoration of key bridges downstream of the Watertown dam so that cyclists and pedestrians needn’t compete with cars at intersections. How very sensible! Anyone who has ridden a bike or walked along the Charles inevitably discovers that access to the parkland is interrupted at regular intervals where bridges span the river. Now is the time to fix this problem! Alas, the Anderson Bridge (that bridge that connects Allston to Harvard Square) is currently being renovated with no plans to give us (that’s you and me!) a way to continue along without pressing a walk button.
The Charles River Conservancy is just another in a long line of worthy causes to support with time and money. Check them out for yourself at www.thecharles.org.