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South Massachusetts Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements Project

This project is complete. The City and the MBTA are working on a follow-up project to extend the bus lanes and add additional sections of separated bike lanes. Visit CambridgeMA.gov/south-mass-ave (opens in a new window) to find more information.

Massachusetts Avenue, from Sidney Street at the edge of Central Square to Memorial Drive at the Charles River, is a busy transportation corridor with a variety of uses. Many important destinations are along this section of Mass Ave: Central Square, University Park, and MIT. People walking, biking, riding buses and shuttles, and driving all heavily use this street. You can also visit many restaurants, shops and commercial venues. The street was redesigned and reconstructed in 2008 with new elements including on street bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossings and a plaza at Lafayette Square.

Because one of the busiest bus routes in Cambridge runs here, we studied bus delay and unreliability in this area. Buses on Mass Ave experience significant delay and unreliability. This section of Mass Ave also had a higher than average rate of bicycle crashes compared to other streets in the city.

The City created a new street design to address safety concerns and bus delay and unreliability and support all the activities along this street. The design included:

  • separated bike lanes in both directions
  • two sections of dedicated bus lanes
  • new loading and pick-up/drop-off zones
  • reorganized parking and food truck locations

Separate from the City project, Novartis installed a new pedestrian crossing of Massachusetts Avenue at Windsor Street. This included pedestrian waiting islands and new rapid rectangular flashing beacons.

This project is complete.

Click the "Previous Updates" tab to see previous information.


May The City asked for public feedback through an online and paper survey and a WikiMap map-based online comment tool.

March The City installed a new bicycle signal at the signalized mid-block crosswalk at 77 Massachusetts Avenue. The photo below shows this location with the bicycle signal.

77 mass ave bike signal


November The city finished installing the red bus lane and separated bicycle lane markings! The photo below shows a section of this project on Mass Ave near State Street. We also made changes to traffic signal timings.

South Mass Ave post installation

October The city began installation in late October. We created a few documents to let people know about this project. Click the links below to see this information:

September 27 We held an open house to share the final annotated design roll plan.

July to August City staff attended several community events over the summer to let people know about upcoming plans to change Mass Ave This included:

  • Taste of Cambridge - Tuesday, July 10
  • Central Flea - Sunday, July 15
  • Central Square Farmer's Market - Monday, July 30 and Monday, August 27
  • Screen on the Green at Greene Rose Heritage Park - Wednesday, August 1
  • Senior Center Town Meeting - Thursday, August 2

For more information, please contact Bill Deignan, Transportation Program Manager, wdeignan@cambridgema.gov, 617.349.4632.