The Cycling Safety Ordinance will make protected bike lanes a requirement over the longer term, as streets are reconstructed, but we still need to advocate for quick-build protection in the shorter term because this public health crisis requires quick action.
Our 2019-2020 plan identifies street segments where we want to see quick- build protection in 2019 in order to greatly increase connectivity, provide safe equitable transportation for people of all ages and abilities, and provide immediate safety benefits for large numbers of people. The major focus for this plan is to complete a protected bicycle facility and bus priority lanes for the entire length of Mass Ave in Cambridge, completing the section between the Charles River/MIT to Harvard in 2019 and from Harvard to Arlington in 2020.
If you would be excited to see one or more of these lanes built, fill out this form and check off the segments where you would most like to see protected bike lanes.
Proposed 2019 quick-build lanes
The projects we want the city to complete in 2019 total about 4 miles, and would convert isolated segments of protected lanes into a network connecting Harvard, Inman, Central, and Kendall squares and the Charles River.
Mass Ave between Sidney St and Harvard Square. Central square is a constant hum of activity with many businesses and people travelling on all modes of transport. It has a high incidence of crashes; tragically CRLS teacher Sam Bixler died crossing Mass Ave near Central Square last year. A protected bike lane along Mass Ave would make Mass Ave a protected corridor from Memorial Drive to Harvard Square, connecting with protected bike lanes on Mt Auburn St, Western Ave, and River St (already planned for 2020).
Hampshire St. Along with Beacon Street, this street has the highest number of people on bikes travelling in the Boston area. Current bike lanes on Hampshire are painted in the door zone of parked cars, making this very important route hazardous for people on bikes. Protected bike lanes along this segment would link Kendall Square to Inman Square, which is being reconstructed with protected lanes for people on bikes in 2020. A protected lane on Hampshire would also connect with the existing facilities on Broadway and provide a protected route to Kendall Sq and the Longfellow Bridge.
Mt Auburn St from JFK St to Putnam Ave. A protected bike lane on Mt Auburn St from between JFK St to Mass Ave and Putnam Ave would allow people to bike safely from Harvard Square to Central Square, complementing the protected bike lane on Mass Ave going toward Harvard Square. With many tour buses on this route, a protected bike lane is especially important here.
Webster Ave. The section near Somerville is tiny but it’s a highly used street by all modes. The protected bike lanes on the Somerville side dead end in parked cars at the Cambridge line, creating an inconvenient and dangerous situation for all users of the street. Webster is an important route for people biking between Union Square and Kendall Square, and Cambridge must extend the existing protected bike lanes which Somerville has already built along the their part of Webster Ave stretch.
Ames St. A completed segment here would connect Memorial Drive and the Charles River Bike Path to the Kittie Knox bike path and to a future protected bike lane on Binney St. The city has already started a public process to build this section, which also includes better bike facilities at the intersection with Memorial Drive.
Main St near the Longfellow bridge & Broadway to Galileo Galilei Way Speeding is an obvious issue on the Longfellow bridge, with two lanes of fast moving traffic. Extending the protected bike lane on the Boston-bound side would separate people from this traffic and prevent parking in the bike lane. Parking in the bike lane is a big safety problem because it forces people biking to merge into the vehicle lane to pass. With 40+ MPH traffic speeding toward the Longfellow, this is something that absolutely needs to be prevented.
A protected bike lane on this part of Broadway is not in the bike plan but it is a heavily used section by people who bike with heavy traffic and painted bike lanes in the door zone of parked cars. Along with Hampshire St, this small piece would complete a path from Inman Square all the way to the Longfellow bridge.
Broadway from Quincy to Ellery. This would connect the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School to a protected bike lane on Quincy St. Providing high school students with safe routes to school is already a priority for the city. The city must act on its values and provide safe equitable transportation to students going to school.
Quincy St/Bow St/Dewolfe St, from Broadway to Memorial Drive. This would allow students from Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Harvard to bike from school through Harvard Square, connecting to other pieces of the bike network and to the Charles River Bike Path.
Garden St from Harvard Square to Walden Street. West Cambridge has large areas which are far away from any safe bike infrastructure. Garden Street is an important piece of a bike network in this area and has lots of bicycle traffic mixing with an increasing volume of motor vehicles. Stand here at 8 AM on a weekday morning and you will see many young people bicycling on their way to CRLS, squeezing between a few parked cars and lines of slowly moving cars, and after school you’ll see them headed for the athletic fields at Danehy Park. Protected bike lanes on Garden Street would enable many more people to bike safely between Harvard Square and North and West Cambridge.
Proposed 2020 quick-build lanes
Additionally, we are asking city staff and the council to begin planning now for a more ambitious set of 2020 construction. We will also be asking candidates for the 2019 Cambridge City Council election to sign a pledge to support construction of these quick- build protected bike lanes.
Entire length of Mass Ave in Cambridge, including the section from Harvard Square to the Arlington border. Massachusetts Ave is the main thoroughfare of the city, connecting many important destinations. It is also a designated large truck route and the site of numerous bicycle crashes. We will be asking the city to start a public process in 2019 for this part of Mass Ave, perhaps beginning with a listening tour to hear from the community about how poorly the street serves our needs currently. We believe this street redesign should be based on two principles: safe routes for vulnerable road users and dramatic improvements for public transit. The city must still act quickly now in Porter Square to fix urgent safety problems.
Cambridge Street from Inman Square to 1st Street. In 2017 the city implemented one of its first quick-build protected bike lanes on the western section of Cambridge St. The eastern part has not yet been touched despite having a high number of crashes and despite having painted lanes in the door zone of parked cars. With the construction of the Inman Square redesign due to complete next year, protected bike lanes would provide a safe transportation option for people biking in East Cambridge. Protected bike lanes here would connect with the future Grand Junction Path, the Community Path near the new Lechmere Station, a protected bike lane on Webster Ave, and provide a completed route between Harvard Square and Lechmere Station.
Over this year we will advocate for a real transformation of our bike network so that people of all ages and abilities will have the option to bike around the city safely. Recent survey results show that nearly two-thirds of the public want more protected bike lanes. The city council demonstrated strong support for the ordinance, which requires protected bike lanes to be built, without any negative votes. There is no reason to delay. The city must make substantial progress building its protected bike lane network, this year, so that people of all ages and abilities can be safe biking in Cambridge.