River Street Reconstruction

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The River Street Reconstruction project will upgrade sanitary sewer, stormwater and water subsurface infrastructure. This project will also create a new design for River Street, the bus terminal area at River and Magazine Streets, and Carl Barron Plaza. Carl Barron Plaza is the public plaza space in front of the Amazon, Cambridge Savings Bank, and Holmes building entrance. The project's goal is to create a street design that meets the needs of everybody. Another goal is to create a street design that engages the local community, contributes to making the neighborhood better, and meets the City’s goals for infrastructure, transportation, and urban design.

For Carl Barron Plaza, the project will create a new public plaza design integrating public art, street furniture, access, and landscaping. The public plaza design must also meet the transportation needs of bus riders and people passing through the plaza.

The project team is doing community outreach and design into spring 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2020.

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Tell us your thoughts

Click here to tell us your thoughts and feedback on project conceptual design approaches.

Click here to take our River Street user survey.

The Public Input Map is now closed. However, you can still look the issues and opportunities that other people identified.


August 2020

The City will hold the Tenth River Street Reconstruction Working Group Meeting with remote participation on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. At this meeting, the project team will provide an overview of the River Street design concepts east of Auburn Street, associated transportation analysis, bus operations, and Carl Barron Plaza urban design. The meeting will begin promptly at 5:30 PM and end no later than 7:30 PM.

Click here to see the meeting notice/flyer. Other meeting materials like a draft agenda will be posted to the "Documents" section as they become available.

The project team is developing a conceptual design for River Street. There is still time for you to provide your feedback and comments. The concepts presented at working group meetings are further refined and evaluated as the project team develops a preferred street design concept. Members of the public can also provide input and feedback through our online feedback form, linked above.

Meeting materials from the Ninth Working Group meeting have been posted to the "Documents" section.

June 2020

Eversource began gas main replacement on June 22, 2020. Please click here to see the latest construction notice with more information.

To keep in touch, sign-up for e-mail updates by clicking here.

View previous updates in the "previous updates" tab.

The design process for the River Street project began in November 2018 with data collection (topographic survey; transportation and parking counts; etc.). In general, the Community Outreach and Design Processes will occur throughout 2019 and into spring 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin as early as late 2020.

The primary objectives of the project are to address the utility and surface infrastructure needs of River Street; and to develop and implement a new design for Carl Barron Plaza.

Specific goals include:

  • Provide, to the extent necessary, new sanitary sewer, stormwater and water infrastructure to ensure adequate utility levels of service. Portions of these systems are more than 100 years old and have fallen into a deteriorated condition over time.
  • Provide new surface infrastructure that meets the needs of all the various users and does so in a way that engages the local community, contributes to overall enhancement of the neighborhood, and meets the City’s goals related to infrastructure, transportation, and urban design.     The project aims to create a streetscape design that enables people to travel safely and comfortably by various transportation modes while enhancing the neighborhood context and supporting local businesses.
  • Reconstruct Carl Barron Plaza, the significant open space at the heart of Central Square.  The Plaza design will include consideration of public art, fixed and/or unfixed furniture , circulation, access, plantings, and landscaping. The design must also consider the complexity of transit needs in the MBTA bays adjacent to the Plaza.
  • Undertake a robust public process that engages all the various stakeholders along the corridor including neighbors, neighborhood groups, businesses and business groups, city standing committees, and other advisory committees.  

The City has budgeted approximately $25 million for construction of the River Street project.

Working Group

In December, 2018, the City of Cambridge appointed a working group to represent a cross-section of resident and business interests in the corridor, as well as representatives from relevant citizen advisory committees. Working Group members will participate in meetings and discussions, review written material, and advise the City on design issues associated with the reconstruction of the River Street corridor and Carl Barron Plaza.

Members of the Working Group: Patrick Barrett III; Daniel Beaulieu; Seanna Berry; Valerie Bonds; Matthew Ciborowski; Gabriel Cira; Abby Duker; Samuel Gebru; Melissa Greene; Kai Long; Randy Stern; Saul Tannenbaum; Andrew Tarsy; Christopher Tassone; Annie Tuan; Olivia Turner


Construction notices

Public meetings & events

  • 6/11/2019 - Public Site Walk #2 - Urban Design and Local Business
  • 6/5/2019 Carl Barron Plaza Existing Conditions Open House and 6/8/2019 Outdoor Engagement

Presentation to Community-based Groups

  • 1/28/2020 - Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association | Annual Meeting

Working Group Meetings - New! 

  • 7/22/2020 - Virtual - Working Group Meeting #10 - New!
    • Announcement - New!
    • Draft agenda
    • Presentation
    • Meeting summary
  • 7/22/2020 - Virtual - Working Group Meeting #9 - New!

Additional Resources

As part of the River Street Reconstruction Project, the City is creating a new design for Carl Barron Plaza. Carl Barron Plaza is the public plaza space in front of Cambridge Savings Bank, Amazon, and the Holmes Building entrance. This new plaza design will consider the diversity of people and uses of the Plaza. The project will create a new public plaza design integrating public art, street furniture, access, and landscaping. The public plaza design must also meet the complex transportation needs for bus riders and people passing through the plaza.

The project team is doing ongoing community outreach and design into spring 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2020.

The first engagement activities for Carl Barron Plaza were on Wednesday, June 5 and Saturday, June 8. These events focused on the existing conditions in the plaza and the MBTA bus terminal area.

July 2020

July 22 Ninth Working Group meeting held online

June 2020

June 22 Eversource Gas began construction on the River Street corridor.

Ongoing The project team is still working on the conceptual design for River Street and Carl Barron Plaza.

March 2020

March 13 The City of Cambridge cancelled or postponed all non-regulatory public meetings through May 31, 2020. This included all public engagement activities for the River Street project.

Ongoing The project team is still working on the conceptual design for River Street and Carl Barron Plaza.

February 2020

Mid-February Project team sent a winter update e-mail. Click here to see the project update e-mail.

December 2019

December 17 Eighth Working Group meeting at Manning Apartments

Ongoing The project team is still working on the conceptual design for River Street.

November 2019

November 19 Second public meeting at the Putnam Upper School 

October 2019

October 22 Seventh Working Group meeting at Manning Apartments

September 2019

September 24 Sixth Working Group meeting at the Manning Apartments

August 2019

Carl Barron Plaza engagement postponed.

July 2019 

July 17 Fifth Working Group meeting at the Manning Apartments

Other public engagement events rescheduled for September

June 2019

June 11 Public site walk - Urban design and local businesses

June 8 Outdoor public event - Existing conditions at Carl Barron Plaza 

June 5 Open house event - Existing conditions at Carl Barron Plaza

May 2019

May 28 Fourth Working Group meeting at the Manning Apartments

May 14 Public site walk - Mobility and safety

April 2019

April 23 Third Working Group meeting at Manning Apartments. Toolbox of design elements

March 2019

March 26 First community meeting at Cambridge Community Center

Public input map launched.

February 2019

February 26 Second working group meeting at Manning Apartments

January 2019

January 29 First working group meeting at Manning Apartments

December 2018

City appointed a working group to represent a cross-section of resident and business interests in the corridor, as well as representatives from relevant advisory committees.

November 2018

The City entered into a contract with a design team led by HDR Engineering, Inc. of Boston, MA for the planning and design of the project. The project team includes the following companies:

  • HDR Engineering, Inc. manages the Project and provide surface and subsurface engineering, and Green Infrastructure design
  • Halvorson Design Partnership lead for urban design, landscape architecture, and public art coordination
  • McMahon Associates Inc. lead for transportation engineering and analysis, and community outreach
  • Project for Public Spaces support the community outreach process, and lead community design charrettes for Carl Barron Plaza and related elements of Central Square

October 2018

City staff conducted interviews with applicants to the River Street Working Group.

September/October 2018

City staff reviewed proposals and conducted interviews with prospective design consultant teams. 

 

Contact Information 

Bill Deignan, Transportation Planner

wdeignan@cambridgema.gov

617/349-4632