Lower Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge Commons to Porter Square Study

In 2011, the City of Cambridge Community Development Department began a study to explore ways to improve the character of Mass Avenue from Cambridge Commons to Porter Square, with the goal of developing recommendations for improvements that address streetscape improvements, and enhancement of the retail environment. Neither street reconstruction nor major infrastructure work is anticipated on Massachusetts Avenue in this location, therefore changes to the physical layout of the street including the median and curb lines are not a part of this process. The study process included a series of public meetings which began in Spring 2011. Construction of the “Demonstration Block” is to be completed early fall 2014.  Additional significant alterations to the streetscape are also being completed according to the new streetscape master plan.

See the DPW Massachusetts Avenue Reconstruction project page for construction updates.

Map of Study Area

Public Art Installation

The Arts Committee for the "The Avenue", a designated stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Porter Squares has designated an artist to complete public art for one section of the street that will serve as a Demonstration Block.

Review the RFQ.

Review the Draft Plan for "The Avenue".


This plan was the result of a close collaboration between neighbors, city staff and consultants, which included three major public meetings to develop goals and a master plan to be implemented over time. The plan includes recommendations and standards to be used in reconstructing sidewalks, planting trees, regulating parking/loading, and implementing elements to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Standards for street furniture and new lighting are also included. The plan also aims to strengthen neighborhood identity, culture and the retail environment.

This project aims to create a streetscape master plan for the section of Mass. Avenue between Porter Square and the Cambridge Common, from Upland Road to Waterhouse Street. The plan will include a review of existing conditions and recommend improvements to:

  • street trees/plantings
  • sidewalks
  • access issues
  • street furniture
  • lighting
  • intersection geometry
  • bicycle and pedestrian safety

We will emphasize using standard city details as found in recent projects, and will review where these could be enhanced, in terms of sidewalks, trees and public planting. A review of opportunities to create or improve sustainable pocket parks adjacent to the street is also included in this project.

For more information, please contact Melissa Peters, Director of Community Planning, at mpeters@cambridgema.gov or at 617/349-4605.