Western Avenue

Western Avenue sketch

Western Avenue reconstruction began in Summer 2012, and is expected to be completed by Fall 2014. The underground stormwater and sewer system, roadway, and sidewalks will all be replaced from Franklin Street to Memorial Drive.

The new design features:

  • Two vehicle travel lanes from Pleasant St. to Blackstone Street
  • One vehicle travel lane from Mass. Ave. to Pleasant Street
  • Parking will remain on both sides of the street
  • Pedestrian safety will be improved by adding new crosswalks and curb extensions, constructing raised crosswalks at unsignalized side streets.
  • The intersection at Pleasant St., Franklin St., and Western Ave. are all being rebuilt to significantly improve pedestrian safety.
  • A separated bicycle lane (raised "cycle track") will be added
  • Installation of new street trees, planting beds, trash/recycling containers, bus shelters, and energy efficient streetlights
  • Cronin Park will be enlarged, landscaped, and enhanced with a rain garden and a commemorative installation “Celebrate the Coast”

The Works iconPlease click here for DPW's website with the most up-to-date information on construction

Celebrate the Coast Initiative

The City has allocated funds to incorporate the rich history and stories of the Riverside Neighborhood, aka “The Coast,” into a permanent commemorative installation to be located in the small park at the corner of Western/Pleasant/Franklin, and small bronze inlays along the Avenue, celebrating historical places, and events. The final design will include 13 bronze inlays located along Western Avenue with historic images of The Coast Neighborhood, these inlays will be placed from Cronin Park to Memorial Drive. A reconfigured Cronin Park located at the intersection of Pleasant Street, Franklin Street and Western Avenue will include a perforated stainless steel sculpture with light emanating from within, built on a granite base with a bronze relief located at the base of the structure which will include historic images of The Coast Neighborhood.

Please see the Department of Public Works project webpage for information about current construction activities.

Construction began September 2012. This project will take approximately two years to complete. General work hours will be 7:00 A. M. to 4 P. M., Monday to Friday. “No Parking” signs will be posted at least 24 hours in advance of construction; please be sure to check posted signs for exact dates and times. When work occurs directly in front of driveways or entryways, the contractor will coordinate access directly with residents and businesses. Every effort will be made to maintain as much parking as possible, and pedestrian, bicycle and MBTA access will be maintained. The contractor and police details will coordinate access to neighbors’ private property if needed.

Western Avenue is a public roadway that provides for various competing uses. The final design for the street and sidewalk was developed in collaboration with an Advisory Committee and extensive community input process resulting in a balance of all of these needs. The redesign considers all street users: walkers, bicyclists, bus riders and drivers.

River Street and Western Avenue serve as regional roadways connecting Cambridge, Somerville, and points north to the Mass Pike. Western Avenue also serves as a local street for the Riverside Neighborhood, home to retail establishments, a transit corridor, and a front yard to all who live on the street.

  • Design Phase 1: Investigation. Background transportation data were collected, project goals were established, and five concept alternatives were developed to identify the full range of potential options for Western Avenue. This is all summarized in the Community Design Process booklet (June 2010).
  • Design Phase 2: Develop Alternatives. After significant input from the community and advisory committee, the conceptual design for the surface was selected. See the Conceptual Design Selection booklet (October 2010).
  • Design Phase 3: Engineering. From October 2010 until April 2012, the project has been advanced to 100% engineering design and will go out to bid in May 2012. See the Final Design and Construction Booklet (January 2012).

For more information about Western Avenue Reconstruction contact Tegin Teich Bennett tbennett@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4615.

For more information about the Coast Initiative contact Elaine Thorne at ethorne@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4648.