MassAve4 Cycling Safety Ordinance Project - Plympton St. To Garden St.

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The City is committed to implementing separated bike lanes on Mass. Ave. to improve safety, consistent with the Cambridge Bicycle Plan and the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The amendments to the Ordinance require the installation of separated bike lanes on:

  • all of Massachusetts Ave;
  • Broadway from Quincy St to Hampshire St;
  • Cambridge St from Oak St to Second St;
  • Hampshire St from Amory Street to Broadway;
  • Garden St, eastbound from Huron Ave to Berkeley St, and westbound from Mason St to Huron Ave;
  • and 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes in other locations that are a part of the Bicycle Network Vision.

In the Cycling Safety Ordinance, sections of Mass. Ave. that have complicating factors were identified as the MassAve4” (the two major bus stops in Harvard Square and two sections with overhead bus wires).   The City completed an impacts analysisas required in the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

Given the high volume bus stops in this corridor, construction is required to provide separated bike lanes and floating bus stops. Construction also provides an opportunity to incorporate other improvements including accessible sidewalks and bus stops, tree plantings and utility upgrades. $10M in funding has been identified in the City’s 5 Year Sidewalk and Street Reconstruction Plan for Mass. Ave. between Plympton and Garden.


  • Improve safety for people biking in the project area
  • Improve safety for people walking at existing crosswalks
  • Improve safety for transit riders with enhanced markings and signage at bus stops
  • Improve travel times and reliability of MBTA buses
  • Implement changes in line with the Cambridge Bicycle Plan and Vision Zero Action Plan
  • Meet the requirements of the Cambridge Cycling Safety Ordinance, which includes the requirement to add separated bike lanes

Why Install Separated Bike Lanes?

Separated bike lanes provide more space and vertical separation between people on bikes and people in cars. More people are comfortable biking in separated bike lanes than in traditional bike lanes or in traffic with cars, buses, and trucks. Separated bike lanes also increase safety for people walking by reducing crossing distances.


The boards presented at yesterday's pop up event can be found on the "Documents" tab. 

DATE CHANGE: Pop Up Info Session -Tuesday, March 22nd 3-7PM

Due to forecasted rain, the date of this event has been changed. It will now be on Tuesday, March 22nd 3-7PM. 

On Tuesday, March 22nd, 3-7PM., we will hold an outdoor pop up information session to discuss changes to Mass Ave in relation to the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

During the event, you will have a chance to:

  • Engage directly with members of our staff,
  • Review updates to the plan
  • Ask questions and receive information

We hope you can attend as we value the feedback we get from residents and businesses.

Pop Up Info Session - Saturday, March 19th 10AM-2PM

On Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., we will hold an outdoor pop up information session to discuss changes to Mass Ave in relation to the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

During the event, you will have a chance to:

  • Engage directly with members of our staff,
  • Review updates to the plan
  • Ask questions and receive information

We hope you can attend as we value the feedback we get from residents and businesses.

Community Meeting - Thursday, March 10th, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

The City of Cambridge invites you to a virtual community meeting to discuss projects associated with the Cycling Safety Ordinance. This meeting will focus on the two bus stop segments in Harvard Square - Garden St. to Church St. and Dunster St. to Plympton St. There will also be an update on the Kiosk construction project

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

There will be a presentation starting at 6 p.m. followed by a question and answer session. Attendees will be able to unmute themselves and ask questions or they can submit questions via the Q&A function in zoom.  

The City of Cambridge does not discriminate on the basis of disability. The City of Cambridge will provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative format, and reasonable modifications in policies upon request. To receive future updates via email, please contact Kate Riley, Community Relations Manager, at / 617-349-4870 or visit the project page. 

The City is working to determine which sections of the Mass4 will implement separated bike lanes using quick-build methods and which sections require construction.  This determination will be based on further analysis and review of the impacts and cost of each approach (quick-build and construction).  

The City will be hosting community meetings throughout the design process. Please see the "Schedule" tab for a general schedule of the project. 

City has hired a consultant to develop concept designs for this section of Mass. Ave. Work includes:

Fall 2021: Full topographic survey

Fall/Winter 2021: Pavement, sidewalk and utility assessment to determine scope and extent of construction.

Spring 2022: Series of community meetings will be held to develop the design for the separated bike lane, sidewalk improvements, bus stop and operational improvements, green infrastructure and opportunities for additional street trees.

Winter 2023: Developing bid package including plans, specifications, and estimate to hire a contractor.

Spring 2024: Construction anticipated to begin, subject to council approval* of the timeline in April 2022.

*If City Council does not approve a construction timeline by April 30, 2022, we must install quick-build separated bike lanes on segments where we recommend construction, regardless of the impacts outlined in the Impacts Report, by April 30, 2024.

What is "Quick-Build"?

Quick-build methods include pavement markings, flex-posts, signage, and signal changes. Quick-build projects can be implemented more quickly, but changes are limited to signs, pavements markings and posts.

What is "Construction"?

Construction involves more extensive changes, including moving curbs and/or removing medians. Work becomes more complex anytime we dig into the ground, and construction projects typically include work on the infrastructure (e.g., water, drainage and sewer pipes, traffic signal wires) that we have underground. The impacts analysis shows that installing quick-build separated bike lanes on these two segments of Mass Ave would have significant negative impacts on other road users. Construction may allow us to make more significant changes (e.g., removing the median) that would reduce some of the potential negative impacts, however, we need to determine the cost of construction on these sections of Mass. Ave. and also further evaluate the catenary wires.

How do you determine what is quick build and what will require construction?

More analysis and design work are required on these sections with the catenary wires to determine which can be quick-build, which sections require construction, the scope and extent of construction, and the order of magnitude cost of construction.

What are the timeline implications of each?

For blocks that require construction, we must propose and get City Council approval on an implementation timeline by April 30, 2022. For the blocks that are quick-build, the separated bike lanes are required to be installed by April 30, 2023.

Kate Riley - Community Relations Manager


Sign up to receive updates for this project, or any other projects associated with the Cycling Safety Ordinance, click here

Page was posted on 9/14/2021 5:10 PM
Page was last modified on 3/23/2022 3:09 PM
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