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Swim the Charles: Today...and maybe every day?

The Charles River Conservancy kicks off a Swim the Charles fundraising campaign and releases feasibility study supporting potential for Charles River Swimming Facility

In conjunction with today's sold­out fourth annual CitySplash event, the Charles River Conservancy, released "Swimming in the Charles: A Feasibility Study for the Establishment of a Permanent Swimming Facility in the Charles River Basin" and launched Swim the Charles, an Indiegogo campaign to support returning swimming to the Charles.

"Due to decades and hundreds of millions of dollars of remediation, Boston and Cambridge are poised to set an example for other American cities by leading the country with a safe and innovative swimming facility that is accessible and beautiful," said Conservancy Founder & President Renata von Tscharner. "We want to challenge perceptions that the river is filled with dirty water. The Charles River is the cleanest urban river in America­lets create a place to swim in our river!"

With a partnership grant from Common Impact, a team of volunteer professionals from the Boston office of global design firm Stantec conducted a study for the Charles River Conservancy exploring the feasibility of a permanent swimming facility in the Charles River at North Point Park. In order to evaluate the feasibility of such a site, Stantec compiled a team of volunteers, drawing on expertise from landscape architecture, civil engineering, environmental science, and more. Their work determined that given further study, continued investment in water quality, and due diligence, a permanent swimming area is feasible.

Learn more at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/swim-the-charles

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Comments

It's 2 words. Sorry, but this is my pet-peeve, and it's right in the headline.

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.

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...do you still need a tetanus shot if your foot brushes the bottom of the river? The water might indeed be fine, but it'll be another hundred years before the riverbed itself stops being toxic.

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This is known and being considered in the design. From the feasibility study:

There are some challenges to designing and operating a safe swimming facility in the river, most prominently keeping people away from sediment at the bottom of the river.

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Does anybody on here know how deep the river is in that area? I'd like to go for a dip, but if it's only like 6 or 7 feet I think I'd spend the whole time worrying that I'd accidentally kick the bottom.

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Click the link and read the effing thing.

What We Need & What You Get
In their feasibility study for the Charles River Conservancy, the design and consulting firm Stantec recommended the following next steps:

1. Conduct a bathymetric survey of the area (mapping the depths of the river).

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I'm not looking for an exact measurement. I was wondering if anybody on here has gone swimming on any of the days where they've opened it up to swimmers over the past couple years and if they could give me a ballpark idea of how deep or shallow it is.

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Unfortunately this chart gets close but not quite into the river. But a start?

Edit:

Ok, more of a search led me to this: http://www.charlesriverallianceofboaters.org/chart.html which is really kind of cool!

I clicked on Reference 5 to this: http://webapp.navionics.com/?lang=en#boating@14&key=%7BzqaGv~vpL and of course the area between the two locks is not charted.

Good luck!

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The Charles River Alliance of Boaters has some preliminary depth data in that region and it is at least 20 feet deep. In this area are the sluiceways for the original Charles River dam at Science Park. This data has not yet been released to the public, but the Charles River Conservancy was told about the depth during a meeting last winter. Since it is that deep, I feel that it is suitable as a swimming area for skilled swimmers and not suitable for swimmers of less ability, including most children. The water clarity for any swimming facility on the Charles is going to be a problem since you can't see very deep into the water column and might not see a swimmer in distress. Filling the area to establish a shallower depth might be possible, but a lot of fill would be required and it is not clear that blocking the old sluiceways is advisable. While I support the goal of swimming in the Charles, I don't think that this is going to be the solution.

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Why not take all the money proposed for this project and just re-open and maintain the public pools the city has shuttered? Oh wait, that would mean servicing the poor parts of town. This thing is in one of those places most people could never afford to live in.
Carry on....

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This ridiculous render is just a stone's throw from the shuttered MDC Lee Pool. Why not just fix up and reopen that? Safer and cheaper, and I can bet that most people would rather swim in a well maintained pool than some bizarre river corral any day.

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The Esplanade Foundation has a really great presentation that goes over a top-to-bottom renovation of the Esplanade, and they include both a major transformation of the Lee pool as well as a river-swimming area similar to the one proposed here - featuring duck boat traffic to show lack of interruption :)

(Direct link to 11m47s)
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/CFbgHqN.png)

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And if the rendering agrees with what I see, the Duck Boats are going to be hitting a lot of swimmers.

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I didn't think Beacon St or Newbury St was visible in that rendering.

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They float right under the Longfellow from the Museum of Science and turn around right about where this dock is rendered. It happens just about every day. Next time you have some time to kill, hang out on the Longfellow during the Duck Tour operating hours. You'll see the boats.

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The ramp where they enter and leave the water is by the skateboard park, just west of the commuter rail drawbridges. I see them all the time going into and out of North Station on the train.

BTW, the bridge in the rendering is the Green Line viaduct, not the Longfellow.

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I see it now.

...duh.

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You see them all the time on the train? Do they store them up in Haverhill or something?

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They store the ducks in Bill-erica, of course!

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The duck boats seem to have no problem hitting people on the street so I see no reason why they wouldn't be interested in expanding their business to include people in the water as well.

The rendering looks great -- a nice perk for people who like to swim. If building this means Duck Boats need to find another entry point or stop running entirely, so be it. Let the tourists swim if they want to see the city from the river.

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me="WHOOSH!". Over my head...

again...

duh

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The swimmers are inside a rectangular dock. Are the duck boats going to drive over it?

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Yeah! It's not like Duck boats can drive on solid surfaces or anything.

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And they'd have to be helmed by a homicidal maniac to end up being intentionally driven over a dock and a hedge into a clearly demarcated swimming area.

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I don't know how I thought a Duck Boat driver could be so careless.

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It would actually be pretty difficult to do successfully, unlike a no-look right turn on the street.

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Brisbane has a beach/pool area in the Southbank area adjacent to the Brisbane River. It was a neat place - although their weather is much warmer year-round.

https://www.google.com/search?q=brisbane+southbank+beach&biw=1920&bih=91...

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I'd be fine with just recreating this design.

http://www.archdaily.com/11216/copenhagen-harbour-bath-plot

As for the sediment, why not just add a floor, much like a dropped ceiling, but in reverse?

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Swimming is something that can be done by people of all ages and abilities — it's one of the healthiest exercises you can do, yet there are no indoor public pools.

The state builds and maintains many indoor hockey rinks, but such facilities are used by a very limited number of people. I wish there were as many year-round pools as there are year-yound hockey rinks.

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What city do you live in, Elmer? I live in Boston, and whereas I agree there are not enough public pools, there are actually more indoor public pools (15) than outdoor public pools (2).

Find one near yourself:
http://www.cityofboston.gov/BCYF/centers/

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The South End Fitness Center pool on Northampton St, which is open from 6AM to 9:30PM most days and is almost always scheduled for open lap swimming (it's also really cheap to join). I swim there five times per week and almost always get my own lane.

Disclaimer: I am involved with the Friends of the South End Fitness Center.

.

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I went to the SEFC Open House last Sept. to try out the pool and was impressed enough to consider joining, however no one on staff that day could tell me when the pool would be closed for the construction improvements the city had granted funding for. Since my only reason to get a membership would be to use the pool, I'd like to know when/for how long the construction is projected to last, if it hasn't already happened?

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And, as far as I know, hasn't been put out to bid or scheduled to start yet. We will post it on the Friends of SEFC page as soon as it is scheduled. I do know, from the temporary closure of SEFC that happened when the Long Island shelter closed and SEFC had to stand in as a temporary shelter, that the BPHC will likely offer SEFC members the option of either a membership suspension or a prorated refund, should the pool have to close temporarily.

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And to reinforce your first comment, both the membership rates and pool accessibility compare highly favorably to other options in the city. I was at the pool on a weekday midmorning (which accommodates my work schedule) and during the entire time I was there one other person was in. the. entire. pool.

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It all depends on what time you go and what day you go. I usually go in the early evenings weeknights and early in the afternoon on either weekend day. Sometimes I have the whole pool to myself (normally during the evenings later in the week), and sometimes all lanes are occupied with one or two doubled up. Last night, I counted a total of seven: four others and myself in the hour I was swimming and two more that had just come up from the pool as I was heading down.

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It's great that Boston has some public pools, but if someone doesn't live there, they're out of luck unless there's a or other private club they're able to join. Also, looking at some of the Boston pool schedules, they're quite limited. People who swim regularly, several times a week, would need to plan their lives around the pool schedule!

I live on Oak Island (which is actually part of Revere), but I'm fortunate to have a membership at the MIT fitness center, where there are wonderful pools. Many events, classes, etc., happen there, but there are always some lanes reserved for open recreational swimming, all day long.

Montreal has wonderful public pools with long periods of time available for open, recreational/lap swimming every day. Some are completely free — others, like the Olympic pool, charge a couple of dollars for non-residents to use. It's hard to imagine tourists seeking out the Paris Street pool when visiting Boston, but when I visit Montreal, I love to go swimming here!

   IMAGE(https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3277/2952565247_2415f27594.jpg)

The MDC/DCR is a state bureaucracy — so if they can build and maintain large hockey rinks...

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The DCR runs a good many public pools (majority for free), but almost all that I know of (save Weymouth) are outdoor and (being New England) seasonal. Most of the DCR-managed ice rinks are also on a limited seasonal schedule too, though. Only the ones managed by outside concessionaires are open longer as their physical plant permits. DCR hasn't built any new rinks - aside from rebuilding the Cronin in Revere, which is managed by FMC - in a long while. Or any new swimming facilities. (Waltham's pool was renovated after a lengthy period of neglect and abandonment, and I believe a grant was involved.) Or... pretty much anything new.

One of the problems the DCR seems to face these days is staffing swimming facilities (pools and beaches) with competent lifeguards. Apparently it's hard to find folks who can swim well enough to pass the tests, and are willing to work for what the DCR will pay. So, hard to have more open pool times. (However: I am blessed with a municipal outdoor pool that has a plethora of lifeguards, and plenty of open swim time. The indoor option is the high school, which is closed to the public in summer and has extremely limited winter hours.)

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The state builds and maintains many indoor hockey rinks, but such facilities are used by a very limited number of people.

Take a look at the calendar for any given rink here.

Also keep in mind that many, such as Simoni in Cambridge and Connery in Lynn, close for the summer. Other rinks pick up their programs, taking up an already limited number of available slots.

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          ( almost anyone can use a pool )

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A limited number of people use the rinks.

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I'd take my chances licking the floor of a truck stop bathroom than to swim in the Charles...

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I guess if you turned your TV off sometime in 1985 you would feel that way, but the Charles meets water quality standards for swimming a great deal of the time: http://www.crwa.org/field-science/monthly-monitori...

IMAGE(http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/311892/hubfs/IM3_2016EColi_May.png?t=1468350057066&width=600)

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I saw someone piss in it last week near the baseball field on the Charles.

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That someone is peeing in a public pool at this very moment. And by this very moment, I mean as I'm writing this, and as everyone who reads this comment does so.

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IMAGE(http://www.hyfse.com/southpark.jpg)

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I'll bet that people pee in the when they're swimming at Castle Island/Pleasure Bay and other beaches in and around the harbor.

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... about where all those fish pee.

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