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Share Feedback on South Mass Ave Bus Only Lanes and Separated Bike Lane Proposal

The City of Cambridge would like your feedback on a proposed expansion of bus-only lanes and separated bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue between Douglass Street to Memorial Drive.

The City of Cambridge is working in partnership with the MBTA to provide more reliable and faster bus travel for bus riders travelling on Massachusetts Ave. This project is a follow-up to the South Massachusetts Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements Project, which was completed in 2018. The MBTA Bus Route 1 is important to Cambridge workers, residents, students and visitors because it provides access to jobs, many destinations, and other opportunities. The MBTA has identified the Massachusetts Ave corridor in Boston and Cambridge as a high-frequency corridor in the Bus Network Redesign process. Envision Cambridge, the citywide plan, calls on the city “to collaborate with the MBTA on bus service planning to support bus priority initiatives,” like this one.

Requirements

This work is being done now since the Cambridge Cycling Safety Ordinance requires us to install separated bike lanes on this section of Mass Ave by April 2022. While the previous South Mass Ave Corridor Safety Improvements Project added sections of separated bike lane, there are some gaps that we must fill in.

We will create two additional sections of separated bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue from Memorial Drive to Central Square. These additional separated bike lanes are located on the northbound side of Massachusetts Avenue between Memorial Drive and the mid-block crosswalk in front of 77 Massachusetts Avenue and between the Grand Junction railroad crossing and Albany Street.

In order to create the separated bike lanes, we will:

  • Reorganize accessible parking and loading zones between Vassar and Amherst Streets in front of 77 Massachusetts Avenue without reducing the amount of parking or loading zone available
  • Relocate a food truck, which we are discussing with MIT and the food truck vendor

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 conventional bike lanes. Separated bike lanes also increase safety for people walking by reducing crossing distances.

New Travel Patterns - Extension of Bus Lanes

Massachusetts Avenue currently has two separate sections of bus-only lanes in the Boston-bound direction: one from Sidney Street to Windsor Street and from south of Vassar Street to Memorial Drive.

We propose to create one continuous bus-only lane from Douglass Street to Memorial Drive. Bus-only lanes provide dedicated space for public transit, shuttles, school buses and emergency vehicles. The City will implement the section of bus lane between Douglass Street and the mid-block crosswalk at Lafayette Square, after further decisions on outdoor dining are made later in 2021.

These changes will require the:

  • Relocation of the bus stop at Albany Street from the northeast to the northwest corner
  • Elimination of 7 metered parking spots on Massachusetts Avenue between Windsor and Albany Streets
  • Banning of left turns from Massachusetts Avenue northbound to Vassar Street southbound

Dedicated bus lanes help make MBTA buses more reliable and make the travel time for bus trips closer to automobile trips. In addition, relocating the bus stop from the northeast to the northwest corner of the Albany Street intersection means buses are more likely to make it through this intersection on a green light. This means that buses can be a bit more reliable at this location. Relocating the bus stop also means that people cycling will have more space and vertical separation approaching the intersection with Albany Street where there are many people in cars turning right.

People turning left in all vehicles from Mass Ave northbound to Vassar St southbound today have two alternative routes to destinations on Vassar St. These are:

  • Using the BU Bridge, turning right onto Memorial Drive, then turning left onto Vassar Street
  • Using the Longfellow Bridge, continuing to Broadway, turning left onto Galileo Galilei Way, then continuing to Vassar Street

People in automobiles may also use the Massachusetts Avenue | Harvard Bridge, turning left onto Memorial Drive, turning right onto Amesbury Street, then turning right onto Vassar Street.

Share Your Feedback

We closed the online comment form at the end of day on Sunday, October 3. If you have questions about this proposal, contact the project manager, Andrew Reker at areker@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-6959.

The graphics below illustrate the proposed plans for Massachusetts Avenue.

Cross section at 410 Massachusetts Avenue | Lafayette Square - Click here to view larger image

Image of Massachusetts Avenue at Lafayette Square (410 Massachusetts Avenue) facing north.

Cross section at South of Sidney Street- Click here to view larger image

Image of Massachusetts Avenue at Sidney Street facing north.

Cross section at North of Albany Street- Click here to view larger image

Image of Massachusetts Avenue at Albany Street facing north.

Plan Drawing – Douglass to Sidney - Click here to view larger image

Plan drawing of Massachusetts Avenue from Douglass Street to Sidney Street 

Plan Drawing – Sidney to State/Blanche - Click here to view larger image

Plan drawing of Massachusetts Avenue from Sidney Street to Blanche Street 

Plan Drawing – Windsor to Grand Junction Railroad Crossing - Click here to view larger image

Plan drawing of Massachusetts Avenue from Windsor Street to Grand Junction Railroad Crossing 

Plan Drawing – Grand Junction Railroad Crossing to Mid-block crosswalk - Click here to view larger image

Plan drawing of Massachusetts Avenue from Grand Junction Railroad Crossing to mid-block Crosswalk at 77 Mass Ave 

Plan Drawing – Mid-block crosswalk to Memorial Drive - Click here to view larger image

Plan drawing of Massachusetts Avenue from mid-block Crosswalk at 77 Mass Ave to Memorial Drive
Page was posted on 9/21/2021 9:39 AM
Page was last modified on 10/12/2021 12:50 PM
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