Southwest Corridor Park


Spring/Summer 2020: To park gardeners and park volunteers:

The Southwest Corridor Park remains an important asset during this time! For guidance specifically for gardening in the park during this health crisis, please see our policy document: /Community Garden Guidelines during COVID-19 Crisis (Word document) for guidelines for gardening.

Our handbook for volunteers, first developed in Spring/Summer 2018, also provides general guidelines for volunteer activities: SWCP Volunteer Park Stewardship Guide, also found under the "Volunteer" and "Gardening" links on this site.

Public Safety


The more people use a park, the safer it is. The Southwest Corridor Park is a great park because there are people gardening, bicycling, walking, jogging, walking dogs, playing sports, commuting by T and enjoying the park in all kinds of weather, year round.

The first part of each of the monthly Park Management Advisory Committee (PMAC) meetings is focused on public safety. We have a good relationships with public safety officials from city, state, MBTA, Northeastern University and other jurisdictions, and each group provides updates on park safety and provide tips for keeping the park safe. The public safety part of the meeting includes a summary of crime reports and 911 calls from the vicinity of the park. Note that reporting is essential: each time someone reports an issue it provides information and builds a history of the types of issues that need attention.

Things to Know:

Summary & Dual Reporting Info

The citywide 311 and 911 services cover all jurisdictions but direct reporting to the state police and the DCR's mass.parks email address often reaches staff faster. So in many cases, we recommend dual reporting or offer two options.

Crime and Health/Safety Crisis Situations:
- 911
- 617-727-4812 (state police).

Maintenance / Clean-up:
- 311
- mass.parks@state.ma.us (DCR)

Needle pick-up: 311

In an emergency, use 911.

The Southwest Corridor Park is a state park and is primarily under the jurisdiction of state police. The MBTA stations along the corridor also fall under the jurisdiction of MBTA police. Note that in an emergency, 911 will quickly dispatch police regardless of jurisdiction.

The state police phone number - 617-727-4812 - is posted on signs throughout the Southwest Corridor Park. You may save this number in your phone and use this number to call state police directly if you see issues in the park. Or, in an emergency, call 911.

You can report park maintenance and health/safety issues to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) at mass.parks@state.ma.us. Or you can use the citywide 311 service to report issues. (The 311 service can be used by telephone (dial 311), tweet (@BOS311), cellphone app or from the 311 website at https://www.cityofboston.gov/311/. (A web search for "City of Boston 311" will bring you to this link also.)

If you see needles or other drug paraphernalia anywhere in the park, please use 311 to request pick-up. If possible, you can take a photo and upload the photo to the 311 app or website.

The DCR volunteer policy notes that volunteers should not try to enforce laws or regulations, but should report issues to the police or to park staff, reporting directly or through a volunteer coordinator. Similarly, volunteers should not clean up potentially hazardous materials, including any abandoned blankets, sleeping bags or clothing or anything else that carries risks of infection. Further instructions for volunteers are included in the SWCP Volunteer Park Stewardship Guide, found under the "Volunteer" and "Gardening" links on this site.

Communication and reporting are very important! The most important tip that we receive from city and state police is that you should not hesitate to call police if you see a problem. They note that you should follow your best instincts -- know the difference between profiling a person based on appearance vs. genuine concern about a situation. If you are concerned about someone's well-being or concerned about public safety, call and describe what you see. When you call, be ready to give your location, including a nearby cross street or nearby street address where applicable, or the number of a nearest light pole in the park.) Also, if possible, stay in the area (a safe distance away) until police arrive to direct them to the issue.

Public Safety Tips:

General Awareness -- public safety experts advise that you keep eyes and ears open when walking, jogging, bicycling and using public transportation. Avoid earbuds and try to keep phones and other electronics out of sight. Be especially aware if you are sitting or standing near the doors on the subway.

Automobiles -- when parking a car, keep electronics and other valuable items, as well as potentially desirable objects such as gym bags, backpacks, etc., out of sight.

Bicycle Locks -- heavy-duty U-shaped locks are recommended. Always lock to a bike rack or other secure, stationary location (that is, not a post from which someone could lift your bike without unlocking it or move the post, etc.).

Reporting / Bicycle Theft -- be sure to report a stolen bicycle to police. Reporting is important for possible recovery of your bicycle as well as for general tracking of the issue.

Supporting Public Safety:

Bicycle patrols from a multi-jurisdiction city/state/university/MBTA bicycle patrol team make up a valuable part of the Southwest Corridor Park's public safety.

The monthly PMAC meetings are an important forum for conversations about public safety throughout the park.

If you have questions about public safety, please come to any of our monthly meetings [currently held as virtual meetings online]. See the PMAC meeting schedule for dates and locations.

Wider Community Issues

Parks and public spaces throughout the city and nationwide are affected by challenges of homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse issues (which are separate but sometimes overlapping issues). In our role as park volunteers, we focus on reporting any concerns and maintaining our own safety and the safety of other volunteers with respect to any health/safety hazards such as discarded needles. Through our network of SWCPC and PMAC members, volunteers and interested neighbors, we try to stay informed and connected about these issues, participating in and supporting work related to addressing these issues in the wider community.

COVID-19 Public Health and Safety:

Please follow DCR and city guidelines for safe social distancing (physical distancing), masks and sanitation.

Many of the guidelines that we have developed with respect to other health/safety issues are more relevant than ever, with an emphasis on maintaining your own safety while also reporting health/safety issues that you observe.

As noted above, please refer to the community gardening and park steward guidelines for guidance with respect to gardening and related activities.


Memo - Summer 2016: General approaches to public safety