As part of the mobility safety upgrades announced in September, a series of roadway improvements on western Washington Street will be installed starting in mid-November. The project is supported in part by the MBTA’s COVID-19 safety initiative for bus riders and will be installed by the City.
The first phase will involve the conversion of 55 parking spaces between Dane Street and Webster Avenue to improve pedestrian safety, speed up buses to reduce transit time and possible exposure of riders to the virus, and provide protected bike lanes for commuters seeking travel modes with reduced COVID-19 risk. New pavement markings will be painted after the updated parking regulations have been installed. Next spring, additional changes are anticipated to be added between Dane Street and Line Street. The presentation from a virtual public meeting on the project held on October 7 may be viewed at bit.ly/BusBikeLanes.
As the most heavily used bus corridor in Somerville, Washington Street is an urgent priority for bus transit improvements to support riders during the pandemic and beyond. While the bus lane initiative is funded by and grew out of MBTA efforts to reduce COVID-19 risks for bus riders, these changes are also designed to make the roadway safer for all users. The new bike lanes will create safer facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and narrower travel lanes will discourage speeding.
This project is considered a pilot. All changes can be quickly modified, and the most successful elements may be incorporated into future long-term changes on Washington Street.
The City is undertaking a number of similar quick-build bus and bike improvements across Somerville as part of its response to COVID-19. For more information, visit bit.ly/BusBikeLanes.