Huron Avenue Reconstruction

Huron Avenue

Huron Avenue from Concord Avenue to Fresh Pond Parkway was fully reconstructed, including roadway and sidewalks, beginning in Summer of 2013 as part of the Huron B phase of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Alewife Sewer Separation Project. The project separated the storm water and sewer pipes located under the street to improve the water quality of Alewife Brook. The Community Development Department managed the community process for Huron Avenue in parallel with the community process for neighborhood streets managed by DPW.

For more information about the project, visit DPW's website.

This project is complete. No further updates will be made to this project page.

The final design as presented at the May 1, 2013 open house is available online, please see below. Two changes were made to the design as outlined in a memo that was mailed and emailed to the community. 

Highlighted materials:

PDF Final design for Huron Avenue (updated August 9, 2016)
PDF Overview brochure about the final design (updated May 1, 2013)
PDF Update memo to the community regarding new changes (May 3, 2013)
PDF Final parking regulations in the business districts (updated May 3, 2013)
PDF Vassal Lane Plaza landscape design (updated May 1, 2013)
PDF Memo regarding design changes after the 11/1/2012 public meeting (updated March 2013)
PDF Memo to the businesses regarding the final plan (Jan. 30, 2013)
PDF Detailed community comments on the design from 9/2012 to 1/2013 (updated March 21, 2013)
Please click on the "Documents" tab for additional downloadable documents.

From May to November 2012, four community-wide meetings were held plus three open drop-in sessions. These were augmented by email distribution to 350 people and USPS mailings to over 250 abutters. Note: The community process for Huron Avenue itself is run by the Community Development Department; the community process for the residential streets is run by the Department of Public Works.

  • Huron Avenue Community Meeting #1* (May 1, 2012): Project introduction.
  • Huron Avenue Community Meeting #2 (June 26, 2012): Input on community goals.
  • Huron Avenue Community Meeting #3 (September 20, 2012): Present draft concept design.
  • Huron Avenue "Drop-in any time" sessions (all at Sarah's Market, 200 Concord Avenue)

    • Thursday October 4, 2012 from 5:30 P. M. - 7:00 P. M.
    • Thursday October 11, 2012 from 5:30 P. M. - 7:00 P. M.
    • Saturday October 13, 2012 from 4:00 P. M. - 6:00 P. M.
  • Huron Avenue Tree Walk (Saturday October 20, 2012)
  • Huron Avenue Community Meeting #4 (November 1, 2012): Present revised draft concept design.
  • Utility companies begin pre-construction underground utility work (gas and electric)
  • Huron Avenue Community Meeting #5 Open House* (May 1, 2013 from 6:30 -8:30 P.M. at the Tobin School, 197 Vassal Lane): Opportunity to see the final design.
  • Construction begins (Summer 2013)

* indicates a joint Huron Avenue and "Huron B" neighborhood streets meeting.

About the Project

Huron Avenue from Concord Avenue to Fresh Pond Parkway will be fully reconstructed, including the roadway and sidewalks, beginning in Summer of 2013 as part of the Huron B phase of the Department of Public Works Alewife Sewer Separation Project. The project will separate the storm water and sewer pipes located under the street to improve the water quality of Alewife Brook. The City is taking advantage of this opportunity to incorporate streetscape improvements to Huron Avenue.

Community Process

In June 2012, postcards were mailed to 500 households. Flyers were posted numerous times through the process directly in residents doors in the entire area, especially before public meetings. Email notifications have been going to our distribution list of 400 as well as local community listserves. We attended the September 2012 Huron Village Block Party and handed out 200 draft plans, talking with many residents about the project. In October 2012, copies of updated plans were mailed to 250 abutters, including all households on Lakeview Avenue, with an invitation to the November 1 public meeting. In March 2013, copies of the plans were mailed to 500 households. Community-wide meetings for Huron Avenue have been held May 1, June 26, September 20, and November 1. Three well-attended “drop in” sessions were held in October at Sarah’s market, both on weeknights and weekends, to provide an opportunity for people to engage in the project without committing to attending public meeting. Two on-line survey tools were used to get feedback from the community. An open house was held May 1, 2013 as an opportunity for the community to see and ask questions about the final design for Huron Avenue.

Note: The community process for Huron Avenue itself is run by the Community Development Department; the community process for the residential streets is run by the Department of Public Works, click here for that web page.

Community Input

From an survey conducted from June to August 2012 of residents living near Huron Avenue:

  • Positive perceptions of the street: Small-scale businesses integrated with residential areas; stores are friendly and locally owned; a lovely tree-lined street with nice canopy; small town feel in a big city area; free parking in business district; close proximity to Fresh Pond recreation area; there is convenient bus service that are electric and quiet; ease of access when driving kids to school.
  • Negative perceptions of the street: Drivers think it’s a highway; drivers are not careful around pedestrians; sidewalk is in poor condition and the ramps are difficult for wheelchairs; sidewalks are often too narrow to walk two abreast; need more trees – that’s what makes for a beautiful neighborhood and street; improve bicycle safety, bicycle lane is uncomfortable to ride in; bus doesn’t come frequently enough.
  • How do you usually travel to get the shops? 80% by bicycle or walk, 17% by car, 3% by bus.

Guiding City Policies

  • Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance (1992) requires the implementation of, “measures to discourage, and provide alternatives to, vehicle trips and trips by single-occupancy vehicles made by residents of and visitors to Cambridge.”
  • Growth Policy Document (1993, 2007). Policy #22: “Undertake reasonable measures to improve the functioning of the city’s street network, without increasing through capacity, to reduce congestion and noise and facilitate bus and other non-automobile circulation.” Policy #23: “Encourage all reasonable forms of nonautomotive travel including, for example, making improvements to the city’s infrastructure to support bicycling and walking.”
  • Climate Protection Plan (2002) establishes a goal of reducing single occupancy vehicle trips by 10%.

Surface Design Project Goals

The goals for street reconstruction projects in the city include improving pedestrian and bicycle access, slowing the speed of traffic on residential streets, upgrading the aesthetics of a corridor, making travel safer, and improving access to businesses. Street design focuses on making it easier to bike, walk and get around by transit, as well as making neighborhood streets more livable by reducing the impacts of vehicle traffic through traffic calming and make all modes of transportation in Cambridge accessible to all regardless of age or abilities.

Huron Avenue surface design highlights

Please see the accompanying graphic showing the final design.


  • More crosswalks. It is city policy to have crosswalks at all roadway intersections where possible especially where pedestrian activity is high, such as in business districts. Nine additional crosswalks are being added.
  • Crossing island. A flush crossing island is being added at Fayerweather Street to serve as a traffic calming measure and improve pedestrian crossing safety.
  • Special intersection treatment. The intersection at Chilton and Appleton Streets will be constructed with pavers to visually reinforce that drivers are in a business district and should slow down.
  • Curb extensions. Curb extensions are being added at most intersections to shorten the roadway distance pedestrians need to cross and also make pedestrians more visible to drivers.
  • Raised side-street crosswalks. Most crosswalks parallel to Huron Avenue will be raised at side-streets to be at the same level as the sidewalk, thereby eliminating the need for curb ramps. This helps prioritize pedestrians at intersections and reduces problems of puddles forming at ramps.


  • A striped buffer will be painted between the bicycle lane and parked cars to improve bicyclist safety. Where Huron bends at Sparks Street, the painted buffer will be placed between the bicycle and travel lanes.
  • Green pavement will be used for the lane at intersections of concern, such as at Sparks Street, to improve bicyclist safety.
  • Intersection markings for the bicycle lane are included for all intersections whether signalized or not.
  • A Hubway bicycle sharing station will be incorporated into the new plaza design at the end of Vassal Lane.

Bus stops

  • Bus stop curb extensions will be created for most bus stops to facilitate the driver getting both the front and back doors of the bus aligned with the curb. This is especially critical for wheelchair users and people with mobility limitations, including the elderly, who are frequent users of the bus system.
  • Consolidation of bus stops that are too close together help speed the bus trip. The stops at Lexington and Reservoir will be consolidated.


  • New street trees will be added throughout the corridor.
  • Vassal Lane Plaza will be reconstructed to include landscaping and seating.
  • Pedestrian scale lighting will be added between Lakeview and Fayerweather Streets
  • Unrestricted parking will be changed to 2-hour/residential combination in the main business district and 1-hour/residential combination by Appleton Street to increase the amount of parking turnover which will benefit business district customers.

For more information contact Bill Deignan at 617/349-4632 or