Salem Station, the third busiest station in the commuter rail system, needed additional parking spaces for commuters.  BRR teamed with Fennick/McCredie Architecture (FMA) to design a circulation system with two new accessible pedestrian gathering places as part of a new 714 space parking garage project.

MBTA Salem Station, July 2016

One of these two gathering places is next to the main entry and the other is above the North River.  The new circular seating is made out of the historic granite blocks that were salvaged from an 1888 Boston and Maine Railroad roundhouse found beneath the site slated for the new garage.  Archaeologists mapped the roundhouse before the MBTA removed the granite to allow for the new garage pilings.  The T’s decision to reuse the blocks led to the creation of a marvelous and sustainable urban space.

Pedestrian Plaza Rendering, Courtesy: FMA


The project also included a fully accessible high-level platform, platform canopy, waiting room, bicycle storage and a new accessible ramp from the Bridge Street/Washington Street intersection to the station platform.  Native shade trees, evergreen windbreaks, perennials and hardy salt tolerant shrubs will provide a comfortable pedestrian environment for station users.

Design along the historic Charles River Basin

Restoration of historically significant landscapes has been a focus of Brown, Richardson and Rowe’s practice.

Our work along the Charles River typifies our approach to restoring and rehabilitating historic landscapes while collaborating with transportation and engineering professionals on infrastructure improvements along the river.  The scale of our work has varied from developing design guidelines to preparing construction details.

BRR with Rizzo Associates (now Tetra Tech) assisted the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) with the preparation of the Historic Parkway Preservation Treatment Guidelines, a manual conceived to safeguard the special character of the historic parkways across the state, while also addressing safety. It contains a planning and design process as well as specific guidelines for the treatment of the parkway’s landscape and character-defining features, design controls, bicycle and pedestrian issues, alignment, lane width, curbs, guardrails, lighting, and drainage.

The user-friendly, illustrated document is intended to benefit many audiences across the state and nation. It is available on the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website.


BRR also worked with Rizzo Associates on the Historic Parkways Initiative on the rehabilitation of historic Memorial Drive along the Charles River in Cambridge.  The first phase included the removal of one travel lane, the addition of parkland, widened the pathway, and improved storm drainage and pedestrian/bicycle connections to Longfellow Bridge.

Phase two will involve resetting the historic granite capstones along the river’s edge, pedestrian and bicycle paths, site furnishings, and preservation of the character-defining features, designed initially by Charles Eliot.

View of Memorial Drive

View of Memorial Drive

Historic Anderson Memorial Bridge in Cambridge, MA, is another example of our work along the Charles.   The bridge is located between two parkways along the Charles River Basin and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It links Harvard Square to Storrow Drive, Harvard Business School, Harvard’s athletic facilities and Allston. BRR worked with FST to improve the parkland adjacent to the bridge and pedestrian and bicycle connections.

The team has protected the historic character defining features that define this bridge and its approaches.  The design also includes tree replacement, riverbank planting and meadow restoration.

Anderson Memorial Bridge

Anderson Memorial Bridge

A third example of our work along the Charles River includes the restoration of DCR’s Historic Granite Overlooks, Commissioners Landing, the Dartmouth Street Overlook and the Gloucester Street Overlook.   BRR assisted the design team by preparing plans to improve bicycle and pedestrian paths and to restore the decorative landscape elements (designed by Arthur Shurcliff in the 1930’s).  These distinctive granite structures provide wonderful Charles River views and are very popular with pedestrians and boaters.

Historic Granite Overlooks

Historic Granite Overlooks

For more information, check out our website.