Who’s making waves on the Greenway?


Listen to it. What or who is making this sound on the Greenway?

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April 2017 picture of flooding in the Greenway that put the city section of the Greenway out of commission

Remember back in 2017, when the East Boston Greenway got so flooded, it couldn’t be used at all? And people made jokes about how it was becoming a duck pond? It was about to happen all over again, but thanks to the timely intervention and work of some caring young people (all Friends of the East Boston Greenway), plus a little bit of luck, most of you didn’t even know that we were about to have a major problem 🙂

It all started with three young East Boston folks, who were working on the Greenway all Summer as the Trustees Youth Conservation Corps, asking Chief Cook (on Sept 13) to join them for a walk on the Greenway, so they can express their concerns and aspirations on site. He agreed.


Sept 13, 2018: Young folks from East Boston part of the Youth Conservation Corps meet with Chief Cook and request a walk along the Greenway to share their concerns about the space

Next, as the Friends of East Boston Greenway have been doing for several days now, we gathered on Oct 13, 2018 at 3pm. It had been raining all morning, so it wasn’t an active day. Some of us (Gabriela, Skye, Lanika, and Kannan) decided to walk the Greenway and observe the impacts of the rain that day. We saw  some things we expected to see: a few puddles, some erosion, nothing major.

Then we saw a few things we were not expecting to see:

  1. A woman living in the building alongside the Greenway on Maverick was throwing dirty water on the Greenway.


    “Sewer backup!” Resident throwing water out the window on to the Greenway!
  2. Felix, who lives along the Greenway near Maverick, stopped us to say the drainage pump near Maverick was making some strange noises, and, in his words, “was ready to blow.”


    Greenway neighbor providing useful information about draining pump in disrepair

  3. We listened to the noise. Whoosh…. Whooosh… Whoosh.. The drainage pump was clearly trying to drain, but failing. We understood from Felix that he had raised a 3-1-1 case but he was not confident that he did it correctly. So Gabriela and Skye both reported the observation via 3-1-1.

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On Oct 18, the YCC youth, as planned, walked the Greenway with Chief Cook. Had a lot to share with Chief Cook, the most important one being the whooshing pump of Maverick Street. Chief Cook paused, then said “You have my undivided attention. The sound from the motor was abnormal enough. It needed action.

And action came promptly. The work continued until the pump was fixed on Oct 26th.

And then, on Oct 27th, the remains of Hurricane Willa came to New England, in the form of a Nor’easter. It poured and poured. And the motor drained and drained. A puddle here and a puddle there, but the Greenway was still usable.

Many people walked, ran, and biked along the Greenway on the 28th as if nothing had gone wrong. And that’s how we like it.

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P.S.: We still have some work to do. We’d like to encourage the people living in Greenway Apartments to call 3-1-1 when they see a drainage issue. (We have reached out to them and are looking forward to an opportunity to meet with them to provide some simple education on 3-1-1) We’d like to understand better if and how their issue is connected to the pump draining water from the Greenway. To that end, we’re reaching out to Boston Parks Department as well as Boston Water and Sewer Commission.