Chin Park Lighting Project: Construction Updates & Background

25, Jan, 2023

The Greenway Conservancy is delighted to announce the current construction of major lighting projects on The Greenway in Chinatown. These upgrades are focused on safety and community use and were informed by community feedback and input, as well as by recommendations of the Conservancy’s Chin Park Lighting Study, funded and supported by the Greenway Business Improvement District (BID). 

Construction Timeline 

The Conservancy’s contractor, NELM, began construction in mid-November 2022. The Serpentine Path is currently closed with construction fencing. The sidewalk along Surface Road will remain open and accessible so this will have minimal pedestrian impacts.

The fencing around Mary Soo Hoo Park went up around the east side/Surface Road on in early December. The west side of this area will remain open and accessible, with temporary lighting during construction. As part of installing new safety lighting in this area, a small tree (which was in decline) will be removed. We will be looking at additional opportunities for tree planting in this area following construction. We will keep everyone updated on additional tree impacts that may emerge, as the tree canopy is extremely important in this area.

As part of the light pole replacement in the plaza, the WiFi Wireless Access Points will need to be temporarily removed. This will cause limited or no access to The Greenway WiFi network while this pole is being replaced.

The next phase of the project involves fencing off a large portion of the Chin Park plaza area, between the entrance to the Serpentine Path and the Chinatown Gate (but not including any portions of the Gate). The contractor will establish pedestrian paths and have signage to direct people around the fenced area. It is our intention to have the PlayCubes open and accessible for use during this project.

Check back here for updates. Construction work will occur between the hours of 7a and 3p on weekdays only and on-site vehicles will be limited.

Construction timelines are subject to weather, temperature, and permitting. This blog post will be regularly updated as our timelines, schedules, and pedestrian impacts are solidified.

  • Five pedestrian pole lights will be installed along the eastern edge of the Serpentine Path to provide ample illumination for pedestrian safety at night. The design of the post-top lights is purposefully simple so as not to detract from the Asian-inspired elements that grace the Serpentine Path: the fan-shaped pavers in the ground, the fountain, the red bamboo cages, and the horticulture.

  • In the original design, the only permanent lighting in the 12,000 sq. ft. central plaza is around its perimeter, where 7 poles are mounted with 2 lights each. The lights are directed up onto diffusers that are supposed to reflect the light onto the area below. In actuality, this system fails to provide ample illumination. 

    The Conservancy will replace each light pole (and add one additional, for a total of 8) with a heavy-duty tapered aluminum pole with lighting fixtures at the top. Each pole will be mounted with 5 directional energy-efficient LED lights that will provide ample, even illumination.

  • West of the vent stack, Mary Soo Hoo Park includes catenary lighting that is durable, energy-efficient, and provides safety and ambiance. In contrast, the East side of the park lacks even and sufficient lighting. The extension of overhead catenary lights throughout the East side of the park will improve pedestrian safety and to extend the park’s useful hours.

  • At the northern end of the Serpentine Path, there is a sculptural element representative of a sail. It is illuminated by 6 horizontal strips of LED lighting. These lights were beginning to fail. Working with an electrical contractor, we replaced all 6 LED strips with new, improved, strips.

  • This summer, the Conservancy upgraded six in-grade uplights in the triangular plant bed at the North West corner of the plaza within Auntie Kay & Uncle Frank Chin Park.

These lighting improvements are focused on community input and feedback around safety, park use, activation, and aesthetics, and will further enhance The Greenway as a welcoming public park for all. These park upgrades are made possible in part by the Greenway Business Improvement District (BID), City of Boston Community Preservation Act Fund, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, the Commonwealth Places Program created by Mass Development, the George B. Henderson Foundation, Rebecca A. Lee, Plymouth Rock Assurance Foundation, and the WANG Foundation.

The uplight replacements in the triangle plant bed and the replacement of the lights in the Sampan Sail were funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) through their capital support of the Greenway Conservancy. 

We want to especially recognize the Greenway BID, which has contributed a significant amount of its capital repair spending to focus on renovations and upgrades in Chin Park. The Greenway BID, comprised of abutting businesses along The Greenway, provides reliable funding to the Conservancy as well as additional enhancements funds that support transformative projects like this throughout The Greenway.

To learn more about The Greenway and the work of the Greenway Conservancy, check out our website at Please feel free to reach out with any questions and concerns to [email protected]

This blog post was last updated January 25, 2023. Photos provided by Conservancy Staff and renderings provided by AECOM and Lumen Studio.