Chin Park Lighting Project: Construction Updates & Background

14, Jun, 2023

The Greenway Conservancy has almost completed the 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. Different areas of the park were closed for phases of work. All major construction work requiring fencing has now been completed. A few final touches are being made; there will be occasional work vehicles on site. Thank you to everyone for your patience throughout this project and we’re so thrilled to have better lighting in this area. Stay tuned for a more official press release and a chance to celebrate this project.

  • Five pedestrian pole lights were 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 were mounted with 2 lights each. The lights were directed up onto diffusers that were supposed to reflect the light onto the area below. In actuality, this system failed to provide ample illumination. 

    The Conservancy has replaced each light pole (and add one additional, for a total of 8) with a heavy-duty tapered steel pole with lighting fixtures at the top. Each pole has been mounted with 3 to 5 directional energy-efficient LED lights that will provide ample, even illumination. New catenary lighting has been installed overhead to provide additional lighting and ambiance. 

  • West of the vent stack, Mary Soo Hoo Park had existing catenary lighting that provided safety and ambiance. In contrast, the East side of the park lacked even and sufficient lighting. The extension of overhead catenary lights throughout the East side of the park, and the replacement of the existing catenary lights in the West side of the park have improved pedestrian safety and will 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.

  • 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 July 20, 2023. Photos provided by Conservancy Staff and renderings provided by AECOM and Lumen Studio.