Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You're Looking Good Preston Gardens

Over the summer, the Downtown Partnership took over the maintenance and landscaping for Preston Gardens. For those of you who don't know where that is, it's the park between St. Paul Place between Centre Street and Lexington Street. Since then, the appearance and feel of the park has significantly improved.

Daily, there are Downtown Partnership workers cleaning away trash along the pathways and the grass. A park steward has been hired to oversee the park, along with Center Plaza. Every morning park tables with umbrellas are put out on the grass, and at lunch time these are generally filled with downtown workers on their breaks.

For once, the landscaping has been more than just mowing the grass. The gardens across from the entrance to Mercy hospital were recently replaced and improved.  New planters have been added around the center fountain, but nothing has been planted as of yet. Trees were pruned back to keep the branches from hanging low over the pathways. Finally the yew bushes that line the northern end of the garden and surround the statue of John Mifflin Hood have been manicured.

Along with the lampposts and illumination of the walls, Preston Gardens is looking better than ever, but there is still more to be done. The long marble and brick walls will need to be restored and cleaned, which will take both time and money. Lastly, the fountains that have not worked in decades, will be restored to their former glory, although the timeline for that is in the air.

Further Suggestions:
  • Make pedestrian improvements at crosswalks to encourage access to the park, especially mid block on St. Paul Place.
  • Add traffic mitigation techniques such as a sidewalk and bike lane on the lower route of St Paul Place, and narrowing the northbound lanes that allow access to Oreleans Street to better improve pedestrian flow.
  • Pedestrian improvements on the upper park at the beginning of the Orleans Street viaduct.


  1. Great post. There needs to be lane reductions on both upper and lower st. paul so preston gardens feels more like a park and less like a traffic median.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more.

    I've often wondered why there is that northbound lane that sits on Upper St. Paul Place, but I guess it was the only way they could engineer the connection to Orleans Street. Although I would be in favor of removing that, since I don't see it as essential.