Aerial photo of Cambridge near the Charles River.

Requirements + Timelines

The information below provides more details about the requirements and timelines laid out in the 2020 amendments to the Cycling Safety Ordinance. The Ordinance text is available in Chapter 12.22 of the Cambridge Municipal Code. We are providing this simplified version of the timelines to help you understand what we’re required to do and when we’re required to do it. Some dates are dependent on when we finish other tasks, so the information provided below is our current estimate. This page will be updated as time goes on.

The Separated Bike Lane Year and Annual Reporting

Many of the deadlines in the Ordinance are either “by May 1” or “by no later than May 1” of a certain year. To make it easier to understand how all the pieces fit together, we’re consistently referring to all these dates as April 30, including in cases where the formal deadline is May 1. This means that you can think of the “Separated Bike Lane Year” as beginning in May and ending in April, which will hopefully make the timeline simpler to follow.

Each year, at the end of May, we must provide a report to the Cambridge City Council detailing the progress we’ve made during the previous year and what we plan to do in the current year. We’re also required to maintain information online about the location and length of the facilities that we’ve installed.

Quick-Build vs. Construction

The Ordinance distinguishes between quick-build methods and construction. Quick-build methods include pavement markings, flex-posts, signage, and signal changes. Construction involves more extensive changes, including potentially moving curbs and/or removing medians. Work becomes more complex anytime we dig into the ground, and construction projects may include work on the infrastructure (e.g., water, drainage and sewer pipes, traffic signal wires) that we have underground.

As a reminder, under the original Ordinance passed in 2019, we must construct separated bike lanes when streets in the “Greater Separation” category of the Bicycle Network Vision are reconstructed as a part of the City’s Five-Year Plan for Streets and Sidewalks.

The MassAve4

The Ordinance splits Massachusetts Avenue into two groups. Group one, which we are calling “The MassAve4” includes all locations that have complicating factors (i.e. the two major bus stops in Harvard Square and the sections with overhead bus wires). The second group includes all other parts of Mass Ave.

The MassAve4 includes Mass Ave from

  • Dudley St to Beech St;
  • Roseland St to Waterhouse St;
  • Garden St to Church St, in the northbound direction (this segment is Peabody St); and
  • Dunster St to Plympton St.

It is possible that installing quick-build separated bike lanes on these four segments of Mass Ave would have significant negative impacts on other road users. However, construction projects may allow us to make more significant changes (e.g., removing the median) that would reduce some of the potential negative impacts.

of 2.51 miles installed or under construction

submitted April 30, 2021
Impacts Analysis Due
We were required to submit a report to the Cambridge City Council describing the impacts of installing quick-build separated bike lanes on each block of the MassAve4.
May 31, 2021 status update: The MassAve4 Impacts Analysis was submitted to the Cambridge City Council and posted online on April 30, 2021.
by April 30, 2022
Construction Timeline Approval
After the Impacts Analysis is submitted, we’ll determine which blocks can be installed using quick-build methods and which blocks require construction. This decision will be based on further analysis and review of the benefits and impacts of each approach (i.e., quick-build and construction). For the blocks that require construction, we must propose and get City Council approval on an implementation timeline.
May 31, 2021 status update: The Cambridge City Council Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will meet to discuss the MassAve4 Impacts Analysis. After the committee meeting, we will host and participate in a number of additional community conversations, which will inform the decision about which blocks can be done with quick-build methods.
by April 30, 2023
Quick-build Installation Deadline
For blocks that do not require construction, we must install quick-build separated bike lanes.
by April 30, 2024
Possible Quick-build Installation Deadline
If the City Council does not approve a construction timeline by April 30, 2022: We must install quick-build separated bike lanes on blocks where we originally said that construction was needed, regardless of the impacts outlined in the prior report.
by date to be determined
Possible Construction Deadline
If the City Council approves a construction timeline by April 30, 2022: We must construct separated bike lanes by the deadlines laid out in the approved timeline.

The Rest of Mass Ave

The Rest of Mass Ave includes all segments of Mass Ave, from Memorial Drive to Alewife Brook Parkway, that are not included in the MassAve4.

of 3.51 miles installed or under construction

by April 30, 2022
Installation Deadline
We must install separated bike lanes on all parts of Mass Ave that are not in the MassAve4. In locations where we choose to do construction, we’re only required to start construction by the end of April 2022.

May 31, 2021 status update: We will be installing the Mid-Mass Ave Safety Improvement Project in the next few weeks. Within the next year, we will begin construction on the Harvard Square Kiosk project, which includes construction from Peabody St to JFK St.

Over the course of the next year, we will conduct community engagement and install four other projects that will complete The Rest of Mass Ave. These projects are:

  • Alewife Brook Pkwy to Dudley St
  • Beech St to Roseland St
  • Waterhouse St to Cambridge St
  • Plympton St to Bow St
  • Small portions between Sidney St to Memorial Dr
by December 31, 2022
Central Square Exception - Design
If we are constructing separated bike lanes between Sidney St and Inman St, we don't have to meet the April 30, 2022 deadline. Instead, we have until the end of 2022 to begin design.
May 31, 2021 status update: We anticipate beginning the design in 2022.
by December 31, 2025
Central Square Exception - Construction
If we are constructing separated bike lanes between Sidney St and Inman St, we have until the end of 2025 to begin construction.

The Special4

The Special4 includes:

  • Broadway from Quincy St to Hampshire St;
  • Cambridge St from Oak St to Second St;
  • Hampshire St from Amory St to Broadway; and
  • Garden St, eastbound from Huron Ave to Berkeley St, and westbound from Mason St to Huron Ave.

of 7.49 miles installed

by April 30, 2025
Potential Progress Report Due
If we do not install separated bike lanes on all segments of the Special4 by the end of April 2025, we must provide a report to the Cambridge City Council explaining how we plan to get them done within the next year.
May 31, 2021 status update: We anticipate installing a quick-build separated bike lane on Cambridge St between Oak St and Prospect St by April 30, 2022. We have not yet determined the timeline of the other projects.
by April 30, 2026
Installation Deadline
We must install separated bike lanes on all segments of the Special4.

Other Locations

The Ordinance requires the installation of 22.6 miles of separated bike lanes by the dates listed below. This 22.6 miles includes lanes installed on “The Rest of Mass Ave” and the “Special4”. It does not include the “MassAve4”. This means there are 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes that have to be installed in other locations that are in the Bicycle Network Vision.

of 11.60 miles installed or under construction

by June 30, 2022
COVID-19/Public Process Extension Approval
If we need an extension due to delays in public process caused by COVID-19, we must submit a report to the City Council explaining why the extension is needed and ask for their approval.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not yet opted to request this extension.
by April 30, 2025
General Extension Notice
If we need a one-year extension (for any reason) we must provide a report to the City Council explaining why the extension is needed. Extending this deadline is the City Manager’s choice.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not yet opted to enact this extension.
by April 30, 2026
Installation Deadline
We must finish the installation of 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes in other locations (aside from Mass Ave and the Special4). In locations where we choose to do construction, we’re only required to start construction by the end of April 2026.
May 31, 2021 status update: Between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, we installed or began construction on 3.92 miles of separated bike lanes that are in this category. We anticipate installing or beginning construction on another 2.14 miles before April 30, 2022.
by April 30, 2027
Possible General Extension
If we submit a report explaining why we needed a one-year extension: We must finish the installation of 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes in other locations.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not yet opted to request this extension.
by April 30, 2028
Possible Extension (based on MassAve4)
If, when working on the MassAve4, we install 1.25 miles of quick-build separated bike lanes in the segments from Beech St to Dudley St or from Waterhouse St to Roseland St: We must finish the installation of 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes in other locations.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not determined where we will be installing quick-build separated bike lanes within the MassAve4. Therefore, we do not yet know if this extension will be enacted.
by August 31, 2028
Possible COVID-19/Public Process Extension
If we ask for and receive Council approval on an extension related to COVID-19 delays: We must finish the installation of 11.6 miles of separated bike lanes in other locations.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not yet opted to request this extension.

COVID-19 Revenue Shortfalls

The Ordinance acknowledges that we may be significantly limited in our ability to meet the requirements due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.

by June 30, 2022
Extension Approval
If extensions are needed due to revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19: We must submit a report and get the City Council's approval on a new timeline.
May 31, 2021 status update: We have not yet opted to request this extension.
by date to be determined
Possible Altered Timeline
If the City Council approves a new timeline by June 30, 2022: We must install separated bike lanes by the deadlines laid out in the timeline.
Page was posted on 2/22/2021 2:38 PM
Page was last modified on 9/14/2021 2:53 PM
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