The newly-installed lights along the entire west side of the Chinatown Park on the Greenway are out. Another lamppost on the east side is half out. We noticed all this while playing wall ball in the evening.

In the city, there’s always a question of who’s-in-charge-of-what. On the Greenway, the main players are the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. The Turpike Authority is a state agency that became responsible for the park immediately after its creation as part of the Big Dig. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that will manage the park going forward.

Right now, the Conservancy is about to take over. The details were worked out in a 2004 Memorandum of Agreement. In 2008, a law replaced the Memorandum and explained how things will work now. (Hey Kids—a Memorandum of Agreement or MOA is complicated name for a simple idea. An MOA is a letter you write with other people that explains how you plan to work together. For example, in school, when students and teachers write a list of rules at the start of the year and post it on the classroom wall—that’s an MOA.)

So, with all that in mind, who should you call to change a lightbulb on the Greenway?


[2008.12.08] We called the Greenway Conservancy at 617-292-0020 (kids listening in via speakerphone). We were given a phone number to call at the Mass Turnpike Authority. We asked when the Conservancy would be taking over park maintenance from the Turnpike Authority. We were told this might be happening in February, 2009.

We called (617) 228-4357, which is Mass Turnpike Authority Operations. We told them about the lights, and we were told that the subcontractor responsible for park lighting would be sent out. We asked when the Turnpike would be handing over maintenance to the Conservancy. We were told to keep calling the Turnpike with maintenance requests until a public announcement is made.

[2008.12.09] A crew came by this evening. The three light poles on the west side of the park are back on again. The light pole on the east side remains half-out, but we can live with that. Case Closed.


  • Greenway Conservancy main phone number (617) 292-0020
  • Mass Turnpike Authority Operations (617) 228-4357