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Person biking on Garden Street

Garden Street Safety Improvement Project

Project Description + Goals

Through this quick-build project, we will install separated bike lanes along Garden Street from Huron Avenue to Mason Street near Cambridge Common. Separated bike lanes create space that is physically separated from vehicle traffic, which improves safety and comfort for people biking. Our toolbox includes pavement markings, traffic signal modifications, signs, and flex posts.

Goals

Current Status 

Click here to see the draft plans for the project. These plans convert Garden Street to a one-way for vehicles eastbound (toward Cambridge Common) between Huron Avenue and Concord Avenue. People biking will still travel in both directions, with a one-way separated bike lane on each side of the street. 

We held the Fourth Community Meeting on Tuesday, September 20, where we presented the preferred layout for the corridor. We are working to finalize the project plans based on community feedback. We will post final plans here when they are complete. 

We plan to install most of this project by the end of 2022. Installation will include signal changes, sign installations, new markings, bicycle stencils, flex posts, and colored surface treatments. Temporary parking restrictions will be in place during this work. Stay tuned for more details on the schedule.  

Upcoming Meeting 

  • Thursday, November 3: The Historical Commission will review the part of this project that falls within the Old Cambridge Historical District. This review pertains to flex posts and curbing changes between Chauncy Street and Mason Street. Click here for the calendar listing

Meetings + Background

September 22, 2022 - Community Open House

On Thursday, September 22, we held an in-person community open house to discuss safety improvements to Garden Street between Huron Avenue and Mason Street. City staff set up the project's roll plan and informational boards on the brick sidewalk at the intersection of Garden Street and Concord Avenue. 

Click here to see the boards shared at the open house

September 20, 2022 - Community Meeting 4

We held the third community meeting for the Garden Street Safety Improvement Project on September 20, 2022, on Zoom. At the meeting, City staff discussed plans to install the preferred layout for the street and heard comments on the plans. 

Based on the feedback we received in previous meetings, we will move forward with "Option 3" as the preferred layout for the corridor. This plan changes Garden Street to a one-way for vehicles eastbound (toward Cambridge Common) between Huron Avenue and Concord Avenue. People biking will still travel in both directions, with a one-way separated bike lane on each side of the street. This configuration addresses several preferences we heard from community members. We heard:

  • One-way bike lanes on each side of the street are preferable to two-way bike lanes on one side of the street
  • Preserve as much parking as possible.

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 or watch the recording for a full overview of what was discussed at the meeting.

To zoom in on the plans, the project was separated into four sections. Click the links below to see draft layouts for each section. 

One-way Analysis:

To understand the impacts of making Garden Street one-way, Toole Design analyzed how people currently use the corridor. See the "One Way Impacts Analysis" tab below for the analysis. 

Key Intersections:

We discussed what six intersections in the project area will look like: 

Parking Impacts:

Click here for a parking impacts summary. Over the whole corridor, we expect to remove 53 parking spaces. Our layout retains a significant amount of permit parking closer to Harvard Square. Between Shepard Street and Waterhouse Street, we expect to only remove five permit parking spaces. 

The layout increases the number of accessible/disability spaces in Section D (closest to Harvard Square) from three to five. 

Improvements for People Walking:

Click here for a summary of improvements for people walking

Next Steps

  • Finalize the plan. We will compile feedback on the preferred layout and complete our final plans within the next few weeks. These will be posted to the project website. 
  • Notify the community about the installation timeline and what to expect. 
  • Historical Commission Meeting on November 3 to review flex posts and curbing changes between Chauncy Street and Mason Street. 
  • We plan to install a vast majority of the project by the end of 2022. 
    • The MBTA’s unused catenary wires above the roadway affect a portion of Section D between Concord Avenue and Waterhouse Street. This area will be partially installed until wire removal work takes place (anticipated 2023). Click here for interim designs for this section

August 9, 2022 - Community Meeting 3

We held the third community meeting for the Garden Street Safety Improvement Project on August 9, 2022, on Zoom. At the meeting, City staff presented three layout concepts that respond to community feedback we have heard so far.

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

Draft Layouts for Garden Street Safety Improvement Project

In the meeting, you learned that there are two options for the middle section of the project, between Linnaean Street and Concord Avenue. Below, see how these two options look in the context of the full corridor. See the meeting update below for further materials. 

  • Option 1 (two way traffic, two way bike lane from Linnaean to Concord)
  • Option 2 (one-way traffic from Shepard to Concord, one-way bike lanes from Linnaean to Concord)
  • Option 3 (one-way traffic from Huron to Conrod, one-way bike lanes through the whole project area)
Meeting Update

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

To compare options, the project was separated into four sections:

Starting from the west, Sections A, B, and C which make up the area from Huron Ave to Concord Ave, are where we have the three layout options, while Section D, Concord Ave to Mason Street is the part that only has the preferred layout.

  • Section A: Huron Avenue to Linnaean Street
  • Section B: Linnaean Street to Shepard Street
  • Section C: Shepard Street to Concord Avenue
  • Section D: Concord Avenue to Mason Street

Based on community feedback and the width constraints of the roadway, staff prepared draft three layouts for the area between Huron Avenue and Concord Avenue (Sections A, B, and C). We have one preferred layout for the area between Concord Avenue and Mason Street, closest to Cambridge Common (Section D).

Sections A, B, and C – Option 1:

  • Two way vehicle traffic
  • Two-way separated bike lane on the south side

Sections A, B, and C – Option 2:

  • Two-way vehicle traffic from Huron Avenue to Shepard Street (Sections A and B)
  • One-way vehicle traffic eastbound (toward Cambridge Common) from Shepard Street to Concord Avenue (Section C)
  • Two-way separated bike lane on the south side from Huron Avenue to Linnaean Street (Section A)
  • One-way separated bike lane on both sides from Linnaean Street to Concord Avenue (Sections B and C)

Sections A, B, and C – Option 3:

  • One-way vehicle traffic eastbound (toward Cambridge Common)
  • One-way separated bike lanes on both sides of the street

Section D:

  • Two-way vehicle traffic
  • One-way separated bike lanes on both sides. The eastbound separated bike lane will go toward Berkeley Street only.

One-way Analysis:

To understand the impacts of making Garden Street one-way, Toole Design analyzed how people currently use the corridor. Click here for their full analysis.

Parking Impacts:

Click here for a parking impacts summaryfor each of the three options.

July 12, 2022 - Community Meeting 2

We held the second community meeting for the Garden Street Safety Improvement Project on July 12, 2022, on Zoom. At the meeting, City staff presented several layout concepts that respond to community feedback we have heard so far.

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

Draft Layouts for Garden Street Safety Improvement Project

In the meeting, you learned that there are two options for the middle section of the project, between Linnaean Street and Concord Avenue. Below, see how these two options look in the context of the full corridor. See the meeting update below for further materials. 

  • Option 1 (two way traffic, two way bike lane from Linnaean to Concord)
  • Option 2 (one-way traffic from Shepard to Concord, one-way bike lanes from Linnaean to Concord)
Meeting Update

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

Based on community feedback and the width constraints of the roadway, staff prepared draft layouts to discuss. The draft designs have two options for street layout in the section of Garden Street between Linnaean Street and Concord Avenue.

Updates included: 

In Section A (the part of Garden Street between Huron Avenue and Linnaean Street), only a two-way separated bike lane will fit. Draft designs: street-level view and overhead.

In Section B (between Linnaean Street and Concord Avenue), there are two layout options.

In Section C (between Concord Avenue and Mason Street), our draft design has a one-way separated bike lane on both sides of the street. Draft designs: street-level view and overhead.

Parking impacts: Click here for an overview of parking impacts with these designs.

May 24, 2022 - Community Meeting 1

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, we held our first community meeting via Zoom to introduce the project. You can view a PDF of the presentation; or watch, listen to, or read a recording of the meeting. The video recording is captioned in English.

One-Way Impact Analysis

To understand the impacts of making Garden Street one-way, Toole Design analyzed how people currently use the corridor and analyzed how trips might be impacted by making directional changes. 

Separated Bike Lane Example

Mt Auburn St at Holyoke St - Before and After

The images below show Mt Auburn St at Holyoke St before and after separated bike lanes were installed as a part of the Inner Mount Auburn Safety Improvement Project.

The left image shows Inner Mt Auburn St with a standard bike lane, travel lane, and a parking lane. The right image shows Inner Mt Auburn St with a bike lane, buffer area with flex posts, a travel lane, a parking lane, and daylighting.

Key Components of Separated Bike Lanes

  • Bike lanes create dedicated space for people who are biking.
  • Buffers (painted lines on the street) create space between people biking and people driving. They help prevent unintentional collisions that could cause serious harm to the people involved. Depending on the location, there may be a parking lane next to the buffer area. In these instances, drivers can use the buffer area to safely get in and out of the car and to load and unload items.
  • Flex posts are placed in the buffer area and serve as a vertical barrier in the buffer area.
  • Travel lanes allow space for people to drive down the street, but can be used by anyone.
  • Green markings help alert people turning from the travel lane that they should look out for people on bikes. These are generally installed at intersections and across driveways.
  • Parking creates space for people to store their vehicles while they are in the area. This part of the street may also be designated as loading zones, which help make it easier for delivery people to do their jobs.
  • Daylighting is when the parking lane is pulled back 20 feet to make it easier for people driving down the street and people waiting to cross the street to see each other. These areas are generally marked with lines on the ground. There may also be flex posts.

Why Install Separated Bike Lanes

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 in traditional bike lanes or in traffic with cars, buses, and trucks. Separated bike lanes also increase safety for people walking by reducing crossing distances. As we install separated bike lanes, we also look for opportunities to increase visibility at intersections, refresh crosswalk markings, and install appropriate pedestrian crossing signs.

Outreach

Throughout this project, we have sent postcards, posted physical signage, and placed flyers at doors in the project area to inform nearby residents of the Garden Street Safety Improvement project. As the scope of the project expanded to include a directional change for drivers, we expanded our outreach to inform a larger group.

 

Webpage and Emails

We have consistently updated this project webpage and sent email updates.

Website: Throughout the project, we posted project updates, materials, and meeting announcements to the project website. All meetings have been added to the City calendar.

Email List: We send emails for project updates, materials, and meeting announcements. You can sign up for this email list here. You can read through those emails below:

City's Daily Updates: We have announced meetings in the City’s daily update emails. Sign up for those emails here.

Business and Institutional Outreach

At the start of the project, staff made in person visits to businesses, houses of worship, and institutions within the project area. For entities that we were unable to meet with in person, we communicated through email and phone call. We remained in contact with these entities as the project evolved.

Before Community Meeting 1 (May 24)

In addition to the email, web, and business outreach above, we announced Community Meeting 1 through:

Postcards: In May 2022, we sent postcards announcing the project to 3,500 addresses in and around the project area. 

Physical Signage: In May 2022, we placed 40 laminated posters sign poles on Garden Street and side streets. The posters announced the start of the project and the first community meeting. (These posters were removed following each meeting and replaced by new posters announcing the next meeting. To differentiate them, each poster was a different color than the one before it.)

Flyers: In May 2022, we distributed flyers at doors along Garden Street within the project area. These were smaller versions of the laminated posters that were placed on sign poles

Before Community Meeting 2 (July 12)

In addition to the email, web, and business outreach above, we announced Community Meeting 2 through:  

Physical Signage: In June 2022, we placed 40 laminated posters sign poles on Garden Street and side streets. The posters announced the second community meeting. 

Before Community Meeting 3 (August 9)

In addition to the email, web, and business outreach above, we announced Community Meeting 3 through: 

Physical Signage: In July 2022, we placed 40 laminated posters sign poles on Garden Street and side streets. The posters announced the one-way option and the third community meeting. 

Flyers: In July 2022, we distributed flyers at doors along the streets impacted by a potential one-way change. This flyer alerted community members about the three options being considered. These streets included: 

  • Garden Street
  • Concord Avenue
  • Chauncy Street
  • Walker Street
  • Walker Street Place
  • Garden Lane
  • Bond Street
  • Madison Street
  • Fernald Drive
  • Gray Gardens East
  • Gray Gardens West
  • Robinson Street
  • Raymond Street
  • Garden Terrace
  • Holly Avenue
  • Huron Avenue
  • Winslow Street
  • Tierney Street
  • Orrin Street
  • Sherman Street
  • Cutler Avenue

Before Community Meeting 4 (September 20)

In addition to the email, web, and business outreach above, we announced Community Meeting through:

Postcards: In September 2022, we sent postcards with information on the meeting and intended directional change to over 4,700 addresses in and around the project area. 

Physical Signage: In September 2022, we placed 40 laminated posters sign poles on Garden Street and side streets. The posters included information on the directional change, the project as a whole, and upcoming meetings.

Page was posted on 2/17/2021 5:17 PM
Page was last modified on 10/3/2022 10:24 AM
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