The Arboretum’s Entrance Improvement Project seeks to renew and improve the Arboretum’s many entrances to provide a safe, accessible, and welcoming experience for all visitors. To accomplish this, we will work with a leading, Massachusetts-based landscape design firm—Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates—to understand the history and current conditions of five key entrances:
- Arborway Gate
- Beech Path Gate (also called 383 South Street Gate)
- Poplar Gate
- Walter Street Gate
- Washington Street Gate (adjacent to the Forest Hills subway station and bus terminal)
These five entrances, which comprise Phase One of the overall project, meet one or more of the following criteria:
- They directly serve Environmental Justice Populations;
- They provide Arboretum access for adjacent public health institutions; or
- They align with concurrent City and State infrastructure projects along the Arboretum’s perimeter.
Through 2022-2023, the Arboretum worked with our design team—which included landscape and Olmsted historian Ethan Carr—to gather input from the community and multiple city and state agencies. Collaboration with stakeholders, including the Boston Parks Department and Historic Landmarks Commission, informed the development of design plans to renovate Phase One entrances.
The realization of these aspirations will require significant help from our community—we seek to raise both private and public funding to renew these portals between the Arboretum’s historical landscape and Boston neighborhoods. The Entrance Improvement Project is part of our sesquicentennial vision to renew our founding public promise for equity in the landscape and improved engagement with the public.
During the design process, the Entrance Improvement Project seeks to achieve the following goals:
- Improve ADA accessibility, pedestrian safety, and bicycle access;
- Enhance entryway plantings and expand planting areas;
- Reduce paved, impervious surfaces;
- Renew and restore historic entranceway infrastructure, including walls and gates;
- Protect and enhance view sheds into and out of the Arboretum; and
- Improve way finding and interpretive signage.
We anticipate construction of Poplar Gate renovation beginning in Fall 2024, with the renovation of additional Phase One entrances in subsequent years. Once complete, Phase One will greatly improve accessibility, landscape design, and visitor amenities at five important entrances.
Phase One Entrance Concepts
Click on the links below to learn more about goals for each Phase One entrance and view concepts for each:
- In 2021, the Arboretum worked with Reed Hildebrand Associates to assess 16 existing Arboretum entrances around our perimeter.
- In spring of 2022, the Arboretum partnered with Practice Landscape to develop a Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals. We assessed submissions from eight leading landscape architecture firms before selecting and awarding the project to Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- In October of 2022, we kicked off the conceptual design process for Phase One entrances.
- On January 21, 2023, we presented Phase One conceptual designs during an open house at Weld Hill Research Building.
- In July of 2023, we raised private funding for the renovation of Poplar Gate through a generous gift.
- In August of 2023, we presented updated Phase One concepts to the public during an open house at the Weld Hill Building.
- In November of 2023, we completed design development of Phase One entrances. We continue to raise funding for the renovation of the remaining four Phase One entrances. Please consider supporting this vision through a gift.
For more information about the Entrance Improvement Project, contact:
Head of Operations and Project Management