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Map of project limits for the Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project

Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project

Project Description

Through this project, we will install separated bike lanes on Brattle Street between Mason Street and Mount Auburn Street, make improvements to pedestrian crossings, and improve safety and comfort for people walking, biking, and driving.

Project Status

  • Installed: Phase 1 (Mason Street to Sparks Street) was installed in Fall 2022. 
  • Upcoming: Phase 2 (Sparks Street to Mount Auburn Street) will be installed in spring/summer 2023.

Project Plans 

Already Installed: 

Coming This Spring/Summer: 

What will the street look like between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue?

Between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue, there will be two parking lanes, one on each side of the street. For more details, see the project plans.

A mock-up of what a two-way separated bike lane with pre-cast concrete curbs could look like on the portion of Brattle Street between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue, in front of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church.

Image: Mock-up of what the separated bike lanes will look like on this section of Brattle Street, with two parking lanes. 

Between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue, there will be two parking lanes. The layout: parking lane on south side of the street, two travel lanes, parking lane on the north side of the street, two-way separated bike lane on the north side of the street.

What will the street look like between Riedesel Avenue and Mt Auburn Street?

Between Riedesel Avenue and Mt Auburn Street, there will be one parking lane on the south side of the street and a two-way separated bike lane on the north side of the street. For more details, see the complete roll plan.

A photo from the Phase 1 project area shows a person on a bike traveling in the two-way bike lane, separated from the vehicle lane with concrete curbs. On the opposite side of the street, two cars are parked.

Image: Photo from the part of Brattle Street that already has separated bike lanes. The layout of the street between Riedesel Avenue and Mt Auburn Street will be similar, with one parking lane. 

Between Riedesel Avenue and Mt Auburn Street, there will be one parking lane, two vehicle travel lanes, and a two-way separated bike lane (on the opposite side of the street as the parking).

What will pedestrian crossing islands look like?

Image shows a rendering of a pedestrian crossing island in between the two-way bike lane and vehicle travel lanes.

As part of this project, we plan to add pedestrian crossing islands between the bike lanes and vehicle travel lanes at Appleton Street, Lowell Street, Fayerweather Street, Lexington Avenue, and Fresh Pond Lane. To see the planned layout, check out the project plans

What should I expect during construction?

Construction will last approximately two to three months, beginning in early April.

Sign up for the email list to receive updates on when work will occur

During construction, you should expect:

  • Temporary parking restrictions to allow for construction of crossing islands and repaving of the street.
  • Possible detours during milling, paving, and line striping. Milling and paving will occur during the day and line striping with occur at night. 

Work will include:

  • Removing existing crossing islands and curb realignment
  • Installing new traffic signal equipment and making changes to signal timing
  • Installing new signposts and signs (posts will be added before signs)
  • Installing new parking on Fresh Pond Lane
  • Building new pedestrian crossing islands
  • Milling and paving the street
  • Painting lines, colored markings, and stencils on the street
  • Adding concrete curbs and flex posts to separate bike lanes from traffic 

Installation & Construction Updates

May 24, 2023: Pedestrian crossing islands nearly finished, milling and paving begins in June

Pedestrian Islands

Crews are nearly finished with construction of pedestrian crossing islands on Brattle Street. Last week, crews performed island construction and curb realignment work at Fayerweather Street, Lowell Street, and Appleton Street. We expect work to finish next week.

Milling and Paving Begins in June

The City will fully re-pave:

  • Brattle Street between Sparks Street and Fresh Pond Parkway
  • Brattle Street between Larch Road and Mt. Auburn Street

We expect this to begin in early or mid-June. The date is weather dependent and not yet scheduled. We will email an update to the email list when paving is scheduled.

Parking Restrictions During and After Paving

During paving, we will need to temporarily restrict parking on both sides of the street. This will let us fully repave the street from curb to curb. 

When paving is complete, parking will only be allowed on the south side of the street. 

May 9, 2023: Pedestrian Crossing Islands and Curb Work Underway

A pedestrian crossing island under construction on Brattle StreetPedestrian Islands

We are currently building pedestrian crossing islands on Brattle Street.

Two crossing islands are nearing completion between Fresh Pond Parkway and Mt. Auburn Street.

Crews began work east of Fresh Pond Parkway on May 9, starting at Lexington Avenue and moving eastward. Crews will reconstruct curbs and add pedestrian crossing islands near Lexington Avenue, Fayerweather Street, Lowell Street, and Appleton Street.

Traffic Detours

Traffic detours are currently in place on Brattle Street during working hours, typically 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Detours will change throughout the construction period, and are most likely to impact traffic headed away from Harvard Square.

Parking restrictions are also posted throughout the construction area.

Next Steps

  • Now to end of May (approximately): Construction of pedestrian islands
  • June: Milling and repaving of the street

April 3, 2023 Update: Phase 2 Work to begin

Preliminary Work on Phase 2 of the project will begin in early April.

  • Beginning the week of April 3, crews with DeRoma & Sons will begin removing existing crossing islands and realigning curbs to accommodate the new design. This work is weather-dependent. 
  • The city's signal work contractor Dagle Electrical will begin work in early April at the intersection of Brattle Street and Fayerweather Street. This will include the installation of new signal equipment to accommodate bike signals and a left turn signal for people driving.
  • City crews will install new signposts to accommodate parking changes at Brattle Street and Fresh Pond Lane. These changes include a new accessible/disability space on Brattle Street and new parking spaces on Fresh Pond Lane. These changes will take place ahead of other changes to parking.

These initial construction tasks will take one to two months. Later this spring (after the construction of crossing islands is complete), we will begin repaving the street.

December 7, 2022 Update: Installation of precast curbing will begin the week of December 19

Beginning the week of December 19th, the city's contractor, EM Lofgren, will begin installation of precast curbing along Brattle St between Mason St and Craigie St. This is part of the Phase 1 installation of the project.

Installation will take approximately three days to complete. This work is weather dependent, and dates are subject to change. Please look for signs directing you where to drive and/or park, and make sure to drive, walk, and bike carefully around construction crews.

November 4, 2022 Update: Phase 1 Installation Begins Next Week

Beginning next week, the City will install Phase 1 of the Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project, between Mason Street and Sparks Street. Previously, we announced that we would delay installation to the spring, but we have adjusted our approach after re-evaluating the feasibility of using temporary materials.

We plan to use tube-style cones to separate people biking from vehicle traffic until concrete curbing becomes available this winter. These cones are taller and have a heavier base than a typical traffic cone.

Parking Restrictions

On Tuesday, November 8, City crews will remove all parking signs on the north side of the street and replacing them with "No Stopping" signage. You will start to notice temporary signage beginning on Monday, November 7, to let people know that these changes are coming.

Timeline

After changing parking signs on Tuesday, we expect to begin pavement marking work Wednesday, November 9, at 8 p.m. This includes:

  • Adding a two-way separated bike lane between Mason Street and Sparks Street
  • Reconfiguring the intersection of Brattle Street with Craigie Street
  • Painting all remaining crosswalks
  • Finalizing all other remaining road markings, including parking stalls, turn arrows, and lane lines

Additional nights of work may be needed on an ongoing basis. This work is weather-dependent, and we will communicate any changes we make to the schedule.

We anticipate having all curbing installed by January 2023. Curbing will be installed by a city contractor, E.M. Lofgren, under city supervision.

More Information

We still plan to install Phase 2 of the project in 2023, with community engagement continuing this winter. We look forward to hearing your feedback. Please let us know if you have any questions in the meantime!

November 4, 2022: What will change during Phase 1 installation?

Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project implementation phases. Phase 1, between Mason Street and Sparks Street, will be installed in 2022. Phase 2, between Sparks Street and Mt. Auburn Street, will be installed in 2023.

We will install Phase 1 of the Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project starting Wednesday, November 9 (weather permitting). 

A mockup of the Brattle Street layout. From left to right, we see a sidewalk, parking lane, a traffic lane in each direction, a buffer zone with concrete curbs, and a two-way separated bike lane.

New Bike Lanes

We are adding a two-way bike lane between Mason Street and Sparks Street on the north (odd) side of the street. Installation will begin on Wednesday, November 9 (weather permitting). 

Parking changes on Brattle Street for the Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project: all parking will be removed from the north/odd side of the street between Sparks and Mason Streets. On the south/even side of the street, there will be permit parking, one handicap/accessible parking space, and a 8am to 4 pm loading zone

Parking Changes

We will remove all parking on the north (odd) side of the street between Mason Street and Sparks Street. Signage will begin changing on Tuesday, November 8. 

Currently, Craigie Street and Sparks Street merge together into Brattle Street. This project will create two distinct intersections.

Reconfigured Brattle/Craigie Intersection

We will reconfigure the intersection of Brattle Street with Craigie Street. This will create two distinct intersections at Brattle Street/Craigie Street and Brattle Street/Sparks Street. 

October 28, 2022 Update: Brattle Street Installation Delayed to Spring 2023

We are still waiting for the concrete curbing required to separate bike lanes from parking and vehicle travel lanes. We don't expect to receive the materials until early winter, which will delay the installation of separated bike lanes and the realignment of Craigie Street.

We now plan to install the separated bike lanes and realign Craigie Street in the early spring, when pavement parking work can resume and the curbing is available. 

Over the next one to two weeks, we will be completing minor pavement marking work. 

October 2022: Pavement Markings

Beginning the evening of Wednesday, October 12, the City of Cambridge will install pavement markings on Brattle Street. Work will begin at 8 p.m. on the section of Brattle Street near Harvard Square.

Work will continue in the evenings as weather permits.

Parking restrictions will be in place during this work, and we will indicate restrictions with signs posted at least 24 hours in advance. If you park your car in the area, please check for temporary "No Parking" signs.

First, we will restripe the portion of the street between Harvard Square and Mason Street, adding back markings that were recently removed during repaving. This will return the street to its previous configuration, with the same layout of a two-way bike lane, single travel lane, and crosswalks. As time allows, we will also begin to install new pavement markings between Mason Street and Sparks Street, including vehicle travel lane lines and crosswalks.

We do not expect to install separated bike lane markings or markings reconfiguring the Brattle/Craigie/Sparks Street intersection this week. 

October 2022: Curb Reconstruction

The City's contractor, Fred DeRoma & Son, will start reconstructing the curbs at Longfellow Park and Willard Street on Friday, October 7. Curb reconstruction should conclude the following week. All work is weather dependent. Please look for signs directing you where to drive and/or park, and make sure to drive, walk, and bike carefully around construction crews.

Meetings

Project Open House - April 11, 2023

On Tuesday, April 11, we held an in-person open house on at the History Cambridge headquarters on Brattle Street. The open house focused on the final project plans from installing separated bike lanes and pedestrian crossing islands to Brattle Street between Sparks Street and Mt Auburn Street. Staff displayed the plans and talked to attendees about what to expect during installation. 

Materials shared at the Open House included: 

Photo of a poster on a fence. The title is "What will the street look like?" and the poster includes mock-ups of the two-way bike lane, a photo from Phase 1, and street-level views of the layout of the street, with parking, vehicle travel lanes, and separated bike lanes.  Image shows a printed-out aerial view of the project area, with planned changes highlighted.  Photo of a poster hung on a fence titled "What to Expect During Installation." Headlines include "What's Happening?", "What to Expect During Construction", "Already Underway", "Next Steps", and "Timeline

Cambridge Historical Commission Meeting - February 2, 2023

On Thursday, February 2, at 6 p.m. staff presented plans for the project to the Cambridge Historical Commission. The Historical Commission reviewed the parts of the project that fall within the Old Cambridge Historic District -- the section of Phase 2 between Sparks Street and Fresh Pond Parkway.

At the meeting, the Commission granted a Certificate of Appropriateness for Phase 2 the project. 

Fourth Community Meeting - January 31, 2023

On Tuesday, January 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., we held the fourth community meeting for the project. 

Download meeting slides

Watch meeting recording

At this meeting, we discussed:

  • Preliminary feedback we received on Phase 1 of the project, Installed last Fall.
  • Feedback we have heard on the project since our previous set of community meetings in August of 2022.
  • Updates regarding Phase 2 of the project between Sparks Street and Mt Auburn Street.
  • Preliminary plans for the intersection of Brattle Street and Mt Auburn Street, including a bike-lane connection to Aberdeen Ave.

Key Updates

Pedestrian Crossing Islands: We plan to construct pedestrian crossing islands along the corridor and realign several curbs to do so. Our current draft designs include pedestrian islands at crosswalks at Appleton Street, Lowell Street, Fayerweather Street (on each side), Lexington Avenue, and Mount Auburn Street. 

Parking: The current design removes about 24 spaces between Fresh Pond Parkway and Mount Auburn Street, and about 10 spaces between Sparks Street and Fresh Pond Parkway. Click here for more information

Mount Auburn Street at Aberdeen Avenue: As part of a separate project, we will construct new traffic signal equipment and consider changes to signal operations at Mount Auburn Street and Aberdeen Avenue. Click here to sign up for the project mailing list

Responses to Community Requests: 

  • We heard: "Improve for pedestrian safety"
    Key changes include raised concrete pedestrian islands and narrowed bike lanes at crosswalks to encourage slower speeds.
  • We heard: "Reduce the impacts of parking loss"
    We have added parking on select side streets and plan to collect parking occupancy data so we can compare the before and after of this project.
  • Community Request for a One-Way Conversion
    We looked into a community request to convert a section of Brattle Street between Fresh Pond Parkway and Mount Auburn Street into a one way. We determined that this is not a good location for a one-way conversion.

Block-by-Block Designs: Click the links below to see proposed designs for different parts of Brattle Street. Please note: these plans might change slightly before installation. Refer to the latest project plans/updates for the latest information. 

Traffic Signals: Click the links below to see intersection and traffic signal details. Please note: these plans might change slightly before installation. Refer to the latest project plans/updates for the latest information. 

 

Community Conversations

Throughout this process, we've hosted smaller conversations with community members, residents, schools, and houses of worship. We're happy to meet to discuss your particular concerns and needs - reach out to the project manager to arrange a conversation.

We met with bus drivers from the BB&N school to test driving in and out of the reconfigured Craigie St before it was completed.

Cambridge Historical Commission Meeting - September 8, 2022

We presented again in front of the Historical Commission on September 8, 2022.

At the meeting, the Commission granted a three-year temporary Certificate of Appropriateness for Phase 1 of this project. 

Materials:

Open House at Buckingham Browne & Nichols Lower School - August 8, 2022

On Monday, August 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., we hosted an in-person open house. The event took place outdoors at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols Lower School at 19 Craigie St.

There was no formal presentation and no new information was shared; instead, community members were invited to drop in any time from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to browse project plans and ask city staff and consultants questions.

Public Information Board 1

Public Information Board 2

Project Plans

Click the links below for the draft roll plans shared at the open house.

Cambridge Historical Commission Meeting - August 4, 2022

Brattle Street falls within the Old Cambridge Historic District. Given its location, on August 4, 2022, we presented plans to the Cambridge Historical Commission regarding Phase 1 of the project from Mason Street to Sparks Street. 

The Commission voted in favor of a continuance and the discussion will continue at the next meeting on September 8, 2022. Members of the public are invited to attend Historical Commission meetings and may comment or ask questions of fact. Information on how to attend the meeting, along with a full agenda, will be posted on the Historical Commission website.

Third Community Meeting - August 2, 2022

On Tuesday, August 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., we held a third community meeting for the project over Zoom. This meeting covered both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project. City staff shared draft plans for Phase 1 of the project between Mason Street and Sparks Street. This portion will be installed in summer or fall of this year. Staff also shared preliminary plans for Phase 2 of the project, between Sparks Street and Mount Auburn Street. We plan to install Phase 2 in 2023.

Note: the materials below were created for this meeting. There may be future updates to the design of this project. Please look at more recent updates for the latest news. 

Meeting Materials

Meeting Update

Please review the slides above for a full overview of what was discussed at the meeting.

A mock-up of what a two-way separated bike lane with pre-cast concrete curbs could look like on the portion of Brattle Street between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue, in front of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church.
A mock-up of what a two-way separated bike lane with pre-cast concrete curbs could look like on the portion of Brattle Street between Sparks Street and Riedesel Avenue, in front of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church. 

We shared preliminary designs for Phase 2 of the project, including: 

We also shared draft designs for Phase 1 of the project, which were unchanged from those shared at the second community meeting. See the "Second Community Meeting" tab below, watch the meeting recording, or view the full presentation, for draft designs of the section of Brattle Street between Mason Street and Sparks Street. We plan to install these changes in 2022. 

Contact us if you have questions or thoughts about these draft designs! 

Second Community Meeting - June 21, 2022

We held a second community meeting for the Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project on June 21, 2022, over Zoom. The meeting focused on Phase 1 of the project -- the portion of Brattle Street between Mason Street and Sparks Street. City staff shared preliminary plans for adding separated bicycle lanes and improving safety at intersections in this area. 

Note: the materials below were created for this meeting. There may be future updates to the design of this project. Please look at more recent updates for the latest news. 

Meeting Materials

Meeting Update

Please review the slides and/or watch the recording above for a full overview of what was discussed at the meeting.

A mock-up of what a two-way bike lane with pre-cast concrete curbs could look like in front of the Longfellow House.
A mock-up of what a two-way separated bike lane with pre-cast concrete curbs could look like in front of Longfellow House.

Updates included:

Contact us if you have questions or thoughts about these draft designs! 

First Community Meeting - May 3, 2022

On Tuesday, May 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., we held the first community meeting for the project

During the meeting, we:

  • discussed the goals and objectives of the project
  • reviewed background information, including the Cambridge Bicycle Plan and the Vision Zero Action Plan
  • shared the timeline for the project
  • provided an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments

This meeting was held virtually over Zoom.

Click here to view the slides from the meeting.

Background

Project Schedule

Installation Schedule

Fall 2022: Install Phase 1: Mason Street to Sparks Street
Spring/Summer 2023: Install Phase 2: Sparks Street to Mount Auburn Street

Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project implementation phases. Phase 1, between Mason Street and Sparks Street, will be installed in 2022. Phase 2, between Sparks Street and Mt. Auburn Street, will be installed in 2023.

Phase 1 Community Engagement Schedule

May 3, 2022: First Community Meeting

June 21, 2022: Second Community Meeting

  • Review plans for Phase 1: Mason Street to Sparks Street

August 2, 2022: Third Community Meeting

  • Final review of plans for Phase 1: Mason Street to Sparks Street

  • Initial review of plans for Phase 2: Sparks Street to Mount Auburn Street

August 4, 2022: Phase 1 Historical Commission Meeting #1

August 8, 2022: Open House at Buckingham Browne and Nichols Lower School

September 8, 2022: Phase 1 Historical Commission Meeting #2

Phase 2 Community Engagement Schedule

Fall 2022/Winter 2023: Ongoing Community Conversations

January 31, 2023: Fourth Community Meeting 

  • Review of Updated plans for Phase 2: Sparks Street to Mount Auburn Street

February 2, 2023: Phase 2 Historical Commission Review

April 11, 2023: Project Implementation Open House outside of History Cambridge headquarters

  • Discussion of what to expect during construction and implementation
  • Review of project plans

*Note that this schedule is based on the latest information we have. 

Project Goals

Community Feedback Survey

Our community feedback survey closed on Friday, June 24, 2022. 

2017: Separated Bike Installation Between Brattle Square and Mason Street

Separated bike lanes that were installed on Brattle Street closer to Harvard Square in 2017. Click here for information on this project.

This project will build on this previous work and extend separated bike lanes the length of Brattle Street to the intersection of Mount Auburn Street.

2018 Meeting: Long-Term Brattle St at Sparks St/Craigie St Intersection Safety Improvements

In 2018, we held a community meeting presentation about long-term improvements at the Brattle Street/Sparks Street/Craigie Street intersection.

As part of that community process, the community selected a roundabout as the preferred alternative for this intersection. Funding for roundabout construction is not identified at the moment in the city's Five Year Plan for Sidewalk and Street reconstruction.

As part of this process, we can install interim improvements at this intersection. We will also refine design and cost estimates for the long-term proposal. We do not have a timeline for work on the roundabout at this time.

Click here to view the presentation slides from that meeting.

Page was posted on 8/24/2021 5:10 PM
Page was last modified on 5/9/2023 3:20 PM
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