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Building Connections with Separated Bike Lanes

Monday, November 21, 2022
The City of Cambridge aims to design our streets for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or taking transit. Our goal? To eliminate transportation-related deaths and serious injuries while increasing healthy, equitable mobility for all.

Building separated bike lanes is one way for us to meet that goal. Using a barrier or curb to physically separate people biking from vehicle traffic increases comfort and encourages more people to use this active, sustainable form of transportation. If people who want to can safely avoid car trips, Cambridge can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve our air quality, and reduce vehicle traffic.

But having separated bike lanes scattered randomly throughout the city doesn’t get people where they want to go: that’s why the City is building a network of separated lanes that connect people to important destinations around Cambridge. The City’s Cycling Safety Ordinance requires that Cambridge install 25 miles of separated bike lanes by roughly 2026, and we’re making progress on that goal. Since 2020, the City has installed approximately 8 miles of separated bike lanes.

Over the summer, the City installed quick-build separated lanes along Massachusetts Avenue near Porter Square. This fall, we installed quick-build lanes on Garden Street, a key east-to-west route connecting residents and visitors to retail, jobs, parks, and squares. The City is also in the midst of longer-term construction projects that will include separated lanes in Inman Square, River Street, and segments of Mass Ave known as the MassAve4.

These projects were designed with significant community input. Cycling Safety Ordinance projects generally include at least three community meetings, outreach to local businesses and other organizations, conversations with key stakeholders, and pop-up informational sessions that sometimes lead to the creation of community working groups.

What’s coming next?

Quick-build separated bike lanes will come to part of Brattle Street (between Mason Street and Sparks Street) and the City is finalizing plans for Phase 2 of the project, between Sparks Street and Mt. Auburn Street.

The City of Cambridge is also starting design and engagement for upcoming quick-build projects on Hampshire Street, Main Street, and Aberdeen Avenue.

Visit Cambridgema.gov/streetsandtransportation/projectsandprograms to learn more and sign up for mailing lists.
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