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Changes Coming to Garden Street: Separated Bike Lanes and Partial One-way

Street sign showing the intersection of Garden Street and Concord Avenue

A section of Garden Street between Huron Avenue and Concord Avenue will become a one-way for people driving as part of the Garden Street Safety Improvement Project.

The City of Cambridge expects the road to switch to one-way operation the morning of Friday, October 28. the evening of Monday, October 24, if weather allows workers to make changes to major road markings. (October 25 Update: The schedule has changed slightly due to rain. Visit the project page for the latest details.)

The switch to one-way vehicle traffic heading eastbound (toward Cambridge Common and Harvard Square) accompanies other changes, including new separated bike lanes traveling in both directions, crosswalk improvements, and changes to parking and loading.

It will take about one week to install new traffic signals, update metal street signs, and add major markings to the road. In November, the City will complete the project by adding bicycle stencils, flex posts, and colored surface treatments.

“The new street layout incorporates suggestions that the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department heard in four community meetings,” said Project Manager Stephen Meuse. “The idea to make the road one-way to vehicles comes from community members. Residents asked us to preserve as much parking as possible and preferred one-way bike lanes on each side of the street, instead of a two-way bike lane on one side of the street.”

This project helps the City of Cambridge meet the requirements of the Cycling Safety Ordinance, which mandates the installation of 25 miles of separated bike lanes, including on Garden Street, by approximately 2026.

“Separated bicycle lanes increase comfort for people biking by using a buffer zone and physical barrier to separate them from vehicles,” said Assistant Director for Street Management Brooke McKenna. “This separation increases safety, and building a network of these separated lanes will encourage more people to bike by more-comfortably connecting important destinations throughout Cambridge.”

A small section of planned separated bike lanes between Waterhouse Street and Concord Avenue cannot be fully installed until the MBTA removes overhead catenary wires previously used to power electric trolleybuses. Until then, the block will have a standard bike lane instead of a separated one.

Conditions will also improve for pedestrians: by installing separated bike lanes, crossing distances at crosswalks become shorter and the roadway narrows visually for drivers, encouraging lower speeds. Changing the street to a one-way also means that pedestrians will only have to cross one lane of vehicle traffic. The City will repaint existing crosswalks and install a push-button activated flashing crosswalk sign at Waterhouse Street.

The project also brings changes to parking and loading on Garden Street: the City prioritized retaining permit parking spaces closer to Harvard Square, but the total permit spaces on the street will decrease from 112 to 59. The number of accessible/disability parking spaces will increase from three to five, and a new loading zone will be installed near Shepard Street.

“This project is ‘quick-build,' which means that we won’t dig into the ground or make changes to the width or shape of the road,” said Meuse. “Instead, we’ll make improvements using paint, stencils, flex-posts, and new signage and signals.”

Find plans, FAQs, and more information on the project at www.cambridgema.gov/GardenStHuronMason.

To receive installation updates, sign up for the project mailing list

Page was posted on 10/14/2022 9:55 AM
Page was last modified on 10/25/2022 4:12 PM
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