The City of Somerville will install protected bike lanes on Route 28 across the Wellington Bridge thanks to a MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Program grant award.
This new statewide funding program supports public health by facilitating quick-build projects that provide new or repurposed space for socially-distanced walking, bicycling, dining, retail, and bus travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wellington Bridge has long represented a gap in the regional network of walking and biking routes along the Mystic River. A narrow 4-foot sidewalk prevents social distancing for people walking, jogging, rolling, and biking across the bridge. Local and regional policy plans identify this crossing as a priority for upgrades to better connect the riverside parklands, employment centers, and transit hubs of Somerville, Medford, Everett, and Boston. Although the City of Somerville will perform the work, the project was planned in partnership with the City of Medford and with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Installation is expected to take place in late fall 2020.
The grant-funded project will reconfigure pavement markings on the bridge, reducing the width of the motor vehicle lanes and using the reclaimed space to establish a physically-separated bike lane in each direction that connects to existing pathways in Assembly Square, Station Landing, MacDonald Park, and Blessing of the Bay Park. The separated bike lanes will reduce crowding on the sidewalks, improving comfort and safety for people on foot or on wheels. Narrower lane widths for motor vehicles are intended to reduce speeding, improving safety for all road users.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Somerville has prepared and implemented strategies for safe and equitable mobility. A citywide Shared Streets network was established to better connect residents to essential services and destinations. A major outdoor dining initiative transformed streets into restaurant seating spaces to support the economic recovery. And to reduce crowding on MBTA buses, the City will build new on-street transit lanes, including a dedicated bus lane and protected bike lane along Washington Street in East Somerville.
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