The Globe takes a shot today at the new Rose Kennedy Greenway. So we’ll take this opportunity to take a shot at the recently redesigned Kenmore Square.
Have you driven through it yet? Walked through it? Did you get lost in its maze?
Almost anything would have been an improvement over the old Kenmore Square.
The old square was a dreary, concrete-dominated obstacle course that simply never lived up to its potential as a funky center close to a major university like B.U. The old T station looked like a Berlin bunker. The stores looked beat up. There was little character after the old Rathkeller closed. Kenmore Square needed help.
The new Hotel Commonwealth was an improvement. But it wasn’t the spectacular improvement that many had hoped for. Much rested on construction of the new T station and the redesign of Kenmore’s roadways and sidewalks.
The end result? They’ve added some handsome crosswalk pavers, old lanterns, brick sidewalks and cast-iron fences, ETC. The new T bus station no longer looks like an imposing enter-at-your-own-peril brick fortress.
But the square now looks like a busy maze that almost doesn’t want you to cross streets – or even peer across the main streets. There are cast-iron fences everywhere.
Then there’s the glass-covered T bus terminal. It tries to be funky. But it’s not. It’s slabs of curved glass that don’t fit in at all in front of the stately Hotel Commonwealth.
The new Kenmore Square simply doesn’t feel intimate, connected or pedestrian friendly.
It’s definitely improved. But there’s definitely disappointment that it wasn’t made better.