Project Summary

How do you ensure that everyone can move safely through the narrow streets and alleys of a 300-year old city? Working closely with the City of Boston and the National Park Service, Toole Design prepared a plan for improving walking, bicycling, and public transit connectivity to historic site locations (including the Freedom Trail) throughout Downtown Boston. On behalf of the City, Toole Design also authored a successful $15.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant application, and played a key role in designing five major infrastructure projects that resulted from the initial connectivity plan.




Connect Historic Boston is the result of a partnership between the National Parks Service and the City of Boston, formed to make convenient and exciting connections between the wealth of historic sites in Boston’s compact downtown core for people walking, biking, or taking transit.


Toole Design led the development of the project vision including brand and identity, public engagement, and infrastructure planning. Our team acted as a conduit between agencies, jurisdictions, advocates, neighborhoods, and individuals to share ideas and information through meetings, gallery exhibitions, bike and walking tours, public art competitions, and interactive games.

One key concept emerging from the outreach and planning process was the creation of a family-friendly bike trail linking historic sites throughout the downtown area. We prepared a concept design for a bike trail encircling downtown Boston to make it easy for people to access historic sites by bike.
Other projects that emerged from the planning process included separated bike lanes and widened sidewalks connecting Constitution Rd to the NPS Charlestown Navy Yard; a shared street to provide public space in the historic Blackstone Block (pictured); and a shared street to improve access to historic resources on Joy Street in Beacon Hill.
Our team prepared concept designs for each of these projects, and assisted the City and NPS in applying for a TIGER Grant from the US Department of Transportation in 2013. The project received a $15.5 million grant to construct the four concepts highlighted in the plan.

We continue to play an advisory role in the construction process, providing design review throughout to ensure that our concepts are implemented according to the original vision of the Connect Historic Boston plan.  Construction on each of the projects is scheduled to wrap-up in 2019. Phase 1 of the CHB Trail is already complete.

Related Projects and News