Alewife fences

It took workers 3 days to build a low fence between neighbors’ yards and state parkland along the Alewife near my house.

New fence looking north from Cottage Ave.

The fence runs north from Cottage Ave. almost all the way to the Henderson St. Bridge. It overlaps about 20 feet of the ramp that brings the new path slowly up to the road there.

This is the latest work (in my neighborhood) in the project to build paths along the Alewife Brook.

About 3 feet high, the new fence is a bit taller than the wooden curb fencing that separates the path from Boulevard Road on the other side of Mass. Ave.

It’s simple, of pressure-treated lumber, and looks like it has always been there. I completely missed the fence the first time I walked by it on November 30, lured down to the brook when I noticed dirty tire tracks leading up Cottage Ave.

Posts, and fence, on Nov. 30.

(So much for my powers of observation! Picture a cartoon Sherlock Holmes, deerstalkered and bent double, magnified eyeball to the ground, walking right by the body as he searches for clues.)

These days if there is any hint of construction along the brook I think first of the still-pending plan to fix the drainage problem at the Cottage Ave. entrance. When I found no sign of that I followed the faint treads of the truck north along the path to see what story they told.

I finally saw the fence work when I lifted my eyes from the ground and turned back the way I had come.

Work continued on December 1 and ended on Dec. 5. The fence roughly follows the property line, for the most part at least a few feet from it. There is one break (not shown) where a neighbor’s backyard fence nears and perhaps even encroaches over the boundary.

The fence wraps along the property line. View east.

In at least some places the Department of Conservation and Recreation is apparently generous with where it put its fence. Here the actual boundary is a good 10 feet from the fence.

The fence is ten feet from the property line (orange blaze) at this point.

Below right, the Department similarly put some extra padding between the fence and the actual property line, indicated by the orange stake.

Fence in foreground, property line (orange blaze by driveway) in background.

The Commonwealth would have been within its rights to plant the fence right on the line, expelling any encroachments, but it is nice that it didn’t need to.

Abutters typically have concerns about any changes to adjacent parkland, from the fate of encroachments to fears of loss of privacy. (Put yourself in their place.)

I do not speak for them or take a stand on any particular issues, other than to express hope that things are being resolved in a reasonable way that satisfies most people.

At least one of the locals is down with the fence.

Does this fence add anything? It’s not going to keep anybody in or out.

I think it makes the place feel more cared for, a bit less like the poltergeist space we used to have.

We’ll see if good fences make good neighbors.

For more posts in the Alewife series look no further: Previous, First, All. This is of course a blog about Mass. Ave.; we’ve just detoured two blocks north.

Update: Here’s my next Alewife report.


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