Western Washington Street Mobility Improvements

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The City of Somerville is planning to reconstruct sidewalks and repave Washington Street between Webster Avenue and Line Street. As part of this effort, the City has the opportunity to explore a new design that makes it safer and more comfortable for people walking, wheeling, biking, taking the bus or driving.

The City launched a community engagement process in March 2022. A conceptual design for the street was developed over 2022 shaped by community input. The City finalized design in 2023 and initiated preliminary construction in late 2023. Construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2024.

Check out final design illustrations in English, Español, Português, Kreyòl Ayisyen, नेपाली, 简体中文版, 繁體中文版.

The City of Somerville is planning to reconstruct sidewalks and repave Washington Street between Webster Avenue and Line Street. As part of this effort, the City has the opportunity to explore a new design that makes it safer and more comfortable for people walking, wheeling, biking, taking the bus or driving.

The City launched a community engagement process in March 2022. A conceptual design for the street was developed over 2022 shaped by community input. The City finalized design in 2023 and initiated preliminary construction in late 2023. Construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2024.

Check out final design illustrations in English, Español, Português, Kreyòl Ayisyen, नेपाली, 简体中文版, 繁體中文版.

  • Preliminary Drainage Work - Begins 11/30 or Soon After

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    Beginning as early as tomorrow, November 30 or soon after City of Somerville’s contractors will begin installing new drainage structures along Washington St. as part of the City’s Western Washington St. Reconstruction and Mobility Improvements project.

    This preliminary work will take place over the coming weeks as weather permits. After breaking for the winter, construction crews will remobilize in full force in early April along Western Washington St.

    Anticipated Schedule and Locations of Work (Subject to Change):

    • Work hours are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    • Locations of work are along Washington St. between Line St. and Webster Ave.

      • Work expected to begin at the intersection of Washington St. and Caldwell Ave.

    Construction Impacts:

    • On-street parking may be temporarily restricted around work zones during construction.

      • Please observe posted signage.

    • Two-way traffic will be maintained during construction.

    • Sidewalk access may be restricted at times to facilitate construction.

      • However, temporary sidewalks will be installed to maintain safe crossing and allow access to businesses and residences along the affected stretch.

    • Trash/recycling pick-ups and deliveries will not be affected.

    If you have questions, please email construction@somervillema.gov or call the Engineering Division at (617) 625-6600 ext. 5400.

  • Construction Now Expected to Begin Spring ‘24

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    The City's Engineering Division has been working over recent months with our project design consultants at Tetra Tech and our general contractors Charles Construction and D&R paving to prepare for construction on Western Washington St.

    While construction was initially slated to begin this fall, we now anticipate work will begin in spring of 2024. The decision to defer construction until the spring was made in light of a number of factors including long lead-times to acquire necessary materials (e.g. granite curbing), City contractors’ engagement with other ongoing streetscape improvement projects across the city, and a desire to have work begin and continue uninterrupted through our full construction season (April through November).

    While some preliminary work may still take place this fall (additional notification will be provided), construction crews will mobilize in full force in early April along Western Washington St. Additional notification will be provided to nearby residents and shared here once plans are finalized.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have questions, please call the Engineering Division at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400 or email construction@somervillema.gov.

  • Construction Kick-off Update - Anticipating Fall '23 Start

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    The City's Engineering Division is currently working with our project design consultants at Terta Tech and our general contractors Charles Construction and D&R paving to prepare for the initial phases of work along Western Washington St.

    Work is currently expected to begin sometime this fall. Additional notification will be provided to nearby residents and shared here once plans are finalized.

    Charles Construction and D&R Paving are also the City's general contractors on the currently ongoing Pearl St. Reconstruction and Safety Improvements Project. Crews will be working to complete that project over the coming weeks prior to beginning work on Western Washington.

    Visit our Pearl St. project page for more info on that project and photos of street safety improvements being installed (including Somerville's first ever neighborhood traffic circle).

    Staying Informed

    Below are a number of ways you can stay up to date on this project and others around the city:

    Sign-up for City Alerts - Receive important notifications about this project and work in your area.

    Visit our new construction page - Get a comprehensive look at work across the city.

    Sign-up for the City's Construction Newsletter - Receive a monthly digest on infrastructure work across Somerville.

    Follow us on Twitter - Tweets about curb-cuts, culverts, and more.

  • Safety Improvements Coming to Washington Street starting in 2023!

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    Information available in English, Español, Português, Kreyòl Ayisyen, नेपाली, 简体中文版, 繁體中文版.

    The City of Somerville plans to reconstruct sidewalks and repave Washington Street between Webster Avenue and Line Street. As part of this effort, we aim to increase safety and comfort along the street by constructing wider sidewalks at bus stops, installing more raised crosswalks, and constructing protected bike lanes. We will also incorporate new trees, greenery, and benches into the project.

    Background

    In 2020, we implemented a pilot project on the street with paint and flexible plastic posts to provide more reliability for the Route 86 bus using short bus lanes and increasing safety for people biking with separated bike lanes. Over the next three years, we engaged community members to hear feedback, collected data, and evaluated safety and travel needs to develop a new permanent design for Washington Street.

    We heard from community members about the concerns for safety for people walking, biking, and rolling. We heard the desire for improved bus facilities and more trees. We heard concerns about impacts to teacher parking. We heard advocacy for improved crosswalks and reduction in vehicle speeding.

    Thank you so much to everyone who took surveys, attended meetings, sent in email comments, or spoke to us at our street pop-ups. Your feedback helped shape the proposed new designs. You can also learn more about the project by reviewing the feedback we heard, scrolling through this webpage, reviewing the survey summary reports in the documents tab, or checking out recordings of the past public meetings in the videos tab.

    Proposed Final Designs

    The City is proposing to install protected bike lanes on both sides of Washington Street. Protected bikeways offer the maximum comfort for people biking and have the widest appeal to riders of all ages and abilities. One side will have sidewalk-level bike lanes and the other side will be street level and protected with concrete curb barriers.

    Bus stops will be expanded out into the street to provide a larger waiting area. Expanded bus stops also reduce bus delay because a bus doesn't have to pull in and out of the vehicle lane. Raised crosswalks will be constructed across Washington Street and across some adjacent side streets. New trees will be planted along the reconstructed sidewalks.

    For any questions about the design, please reach out to the Mobility Division at transportation@somervillema.gov. You can come ask your questions at our upcoming street pop-up event on Wednesday, June 7, (Rain date: June 14) at Perry Park, 355 Washington Street, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

    Descriptions of the New Features


    Separated Bike Lanes are at street level but separated from motor vehicle traffic with barriers. On Washington Street, concrete curbs with plastic flexible posts installed on top of the concrete will provide protection and separation for people traveling by bike.

    Raised Bike Lanes are protected bike lanes raised to sidewalk level and separated from the parking lane.

    Floating Bus Stops are sidewalk bump outs that provide dedicated waiting and boarding areas for bus riders, while streamlining bus service and improving accessibility by enabling the bus to stop in the travel lane rather than having to pull over to the curb. Floating bus stops are separated from the sidewalk by a bike lane, eliminating conflicts between buses and bikes at stops and improving safety for people biking. Floating bus stops are constructed like sidewalks with raised concrete areas. All 7 of the bus stops along Western Washington Street will become floating bus stops.

    Raised Intersections give priority to people walking by bringing the intersection up to sidewalk level. Raised intersections reinforce slow speeds and encourage people driving to yield to people in the crosswalks. There will be raised intersections on Washington Street at Skehan Street, Hanson Street at Skehan Street, and Oak Street at Houghton Street.

    Raised Crosswalks make crossing the street safer and more comfortable for everyone. Since they are elevated (roughly to sidewalk height), people driving must slow down as they approach the crossing. Because they are sidewalk height, they enable people using wheelchairs and other mobility devices to cross more easily. There will be 4 raised crosswalks across Washington Street, 5 raised crosswalks across side streets that intersect Washington Street, and 1 raised crosswalk on Perry Street at Lincoln Park.

    Speed humps are asphalt traffic-calming devices intended to reduce vehicle speeds to 10 to 15 mph. We paint them with white triangles and yellow stripes and place signage nearby to ensure they are visible to approaching vehicles. Speed humps are typically placed 200 feet apart to prevent people from speeding in between them. Speed humps maintain access for residents, first responders, and services such as street sweeping, snow removal, and deliveries. Speed humps will be added on Dane Street, Calvin Street, Perry Street, Wyatt Street, Concord Avenue, and Newton Street.

    Pedestrian Signals are dedicated lights at intersections for people crossing in the crosswalk. New pedestrian signals will be added to the intersection of Calvin Street, Dane Street and Washington Street.

    Construction

    Construction on Washington Street is scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed by November 2024. City contractors will start on sidewalk reconstruction and then move to repaving the roadway and installing the new traffic calming features such as raised crosswalks and sidewalk curb extensions.

    To stay up to date on construction, sign up for City Alerts available via phone call, text, or email at somervillema.gov/cityalerts. You can also sign up for the City Construction Newsletter at somervillema.gov/construction. Regular updates will be posted on this project website. If you have any questions during construction, reach out to construction@somervillema.gov or 617.981.2896.

  • February 2023 Update

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    Thank you to all who took the Western Washington Street Design Feedback Survey in October, attended the virtual public meetings in 2022, sent in email comments, or spoke to us at our street pop-ups. We appreciate hearing your feedback on transportation needs in the area, traffic safety concerns along Washington Street and around Ward 2, and your comments on the proposed reconstruction designs.

    Feedback

    Below is a summary list of what we heard in feedback about the proposed designs. You can also check out the survey summary report that summarizes what we heard in the design feedback survey.

    Transit

    • Recognize that there is a strong push for protected bike lanes, but don’t want to forget about bus riders

    • Support from some who identified as transit riders for bus lane approaching Union and Dane St since it cuts through car congestion

    • Some support for consolidation of bus stops to reduce bus delay, and some concern over the placement of the consolidated bus stops

    • Urged to continue to do outreach to bus riders

    • Interest in improving the waiting experience at bus stops with amenities like benches or shelters

    Bike facilities

    • Enthusiastic support for protected bike lanes

    • Skepticism about bus/bike lane as an option for people of all ages and abilities

    • Washington Street described as an important connector to other bike facilities and key destinations like Union Square

    • Right turn out of Dane Street is heavily used for both people biking and driving and needs attention

    • Desire to provide safe ways to make left turns from Washington Street

    • Dangerous turning conditions at Beacon Street and Washington Street

    Pedestrian facilities

    • Concerned about sidewalk condition and walking safety issues on nearby Hawkins Street due to speeding

    • Support for the increase in crosswalks proposed in the designs, with some asking for more crosswalks

    • Enthusiastic support for better sidewalks, especially as it improves access for people with mobility impairments or people traveling with children or strollers

    • Support for traffic calming facilities like raised crosswalks to reduce speeding vehicles, especially at key destinations such as Perry Park and Lincoln Park

    • Desire for additional raised crosswalks on adjacent streets, albeit these might be outside of the scope of the project

    • Advocacy for wider sidewalks when possible

    • Request for yellow flashing lights at crosswalks; audible crosswalk lights

    • Request for raised crosswalk at school entrance

    Driving/Parking

    • Some support shared from people who drive – they like the clarification of bike movements and better visibility

    • Concern for teacher parking options near the Argenziano

    • Concern for increased frustration for people driving experiencing more congestion or being forced to go slower

    • Requests for loading zones and short-term parking options near businesses

    • Concern with the reduction of parking along the street

    • Desire for more accessible spaces with curb ramp access

    Greenery

    • Desire for more trees and green space wherever possible

    • Requests to explore options for more trees around bus stops to make it easier while waiting in the sun

    • Advocacy to enlarge tree pits to provide more space to trees

    Maintenance

    • Enthusiastic support for repaving the road and fixing the sidewalks

    • Reiterated need for continued maintenance to keep new protected bike lanes clear of debris and snow

    Speed humps

    • The City initially identified Dane Street, Calvin Street, and Perry Street as candidates for speed humps. In the survey, 74% shared that they really support installing speed humps on these streets

    • Additional streets that residents asked the City to consider included Concord Ave, Newton St, Lake St, and Village St

    • Some concerned about installing any speed humps as they can be uncomfortable to drive over

    Next Steps

    The City Council’s Finance Committee approved funding of the upcoming street and sidewalk reconstruction package that includes the Western Washington Street improvements. The package also includes the completion of the Holland and College Mobility Improvements project street repaving and sidewalk reconstruction for Meacham Road.

    Along with street reconstruction, this package includes the installation of approximately 20-30 speed humps. Speed humps are traffic-calming devices intended to reduce vehicle speeds. These asphalt structures are 3-4 inches high. Speed humps are typically placed about 200 feet apart to prevent people from speeding in between them. Speed humps significantly reduce speeding while maintaining access for residents, services, deliveries, and first responders. Speed humps do not impact drainage, street sweeping, snow removal, or street parking. When selecting streets for speed humps, we first review any available speeding or traffic volume data that has been collected on the street. We look at a street’s design and if it has large distances between when a vehicle needs to stop at a stop sign, crosswalk, or traffic light. And then we prioritize streets that are next to schools, parks, and community path crossings. We place speed humps on streets that are relatively flat and straight.

    The streets that are being proposed for speed humps in this package that are in Ward 2 include:

    • Dane Street

    • Newton Street - between Webster Ave and Springfield Street

    • Perry Street

    • Wyatt Street

    • Calvin Street

    • Concord Ave - between Beacon Street and Springfield Street

    Now that City Council has approved the project financing, the next step is to secure a contractor to perform the construction work. In the meantime, City staff are developing final plans for Western Washington Street and incorporating the feedback we heard from the community. We will post the final plans on this website later this spring. The construction start date has not yet been determined but could begin anytime between Spring 2023 and Spring 2024.

    If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to the Mobility Monthly Newsletter to get email updates about Somerville transportation planning projects, like the Western Washington Street project, and signup for City Alerts to receive notifications on construction, special events, and snow emergencies via text, phone call or email. If you have any questions, please reach out to the team at transportation@somervillema.gov.

  • Take the Design Feedback Survey!

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    The City of Somerville shared proposed designs at the Second Western Washington Street Mobility Improvements Meeting on September 28, 2022. The City is proposing to implement protected bike lanes on both sides of the street, expand bus stops, install new crosswalks, and build raised crosswalks in addition to repaving the street and reconstructing the sidewalks. The side of the street that has parking will have raised bike lanes and floating bus stops, and the other side will have concrete curbs to separate bikes from traffic. Check out the presentation slides and recording of the meeting to learn more.

    We now want to hear from you!

    Take the survey to share your feedback on the proposed designs. What did we get right? What did we miss? The deadline for survey responses is October 31, 2022.

    The survey is available in English, Español, Português, Kreyòl Ayisyen, नेपाली, 简体中文版, 繁體中文版.

    You can also share comments, questions and ideas to our team by emailing transportation@somervillema.gov.

    We will be hosting a pop-up event at Perry Park on Thursday, October 6, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Come check out maps of the proposed designs and ask the project team your questions.

  • Join us for the second community meeting on September 28!

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    Flyers available in:

    Join us for the second virtual community meeting to discuss roadway upgrades and traffic safety improvements on Washington Street.

    At this meeting, City staff will:

    • Provide an update on the project timeline
    • Share public survey response summaries
    • Present proposed designs for Washington Street from Line Street to Webster Avenue
    • Gather public feedback

    The meeting will take place virtually on Wednesday September 28, at 6:00 p.m. Portuguese interpretation will be provided. Interpretation into Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, or Nepali may be available upon advance request by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at somerviva@somervillema.gov or calling 311 at 617-666-3311.

    To join by phone:

    • For higher quality, dial a number based on your current location.
      US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 720 707 2699 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799

    • Meeting ID: 880 3264 6900

    For any questions, please email transportation@somervillema.gov.

    Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or ADA@somervillema.gov.

  • Western Washington Updates June 2022

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    We continue to develop a conceptual design for Western Washington Street to improve safety and mobility for everyone traveling the street. We are aiming for our next community meeting to present proposed conceptual designs in September 2022. This is a slightly later schedule than we had anticipated for design development, but we do not expect this to hold up the anticipated construction schedule.

    After the community meeting, we are aiming to release a design feedback survey and host a pop-up on the street to gather feedback on the proposed designs.

    Please subscribe to our Mobility Monthly Newsletter to get updates on the project and be notified on the next community meeting. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at transportation@somervillema.gov.

  • Take the Future Options for Western Washington St Survey!

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    The City of Somerville is reconstructing sidewalks and repaving Western Washington Street. City staff presented a potential scope, evaluation of the Quick-Build Pilot, and future options at the community meeting on March 1, 2022. We now want to hear from you!

    Please let us know your feedback on how we can improve the street for people walking, taking the bus, or riding bikes.

    The survey is available in English, Español, Portugues, Kreyòl Ayisyen, नेपाली.

    The survey deadline is Monday, March 28, 2022.

    You can also put comments in specific locations on the Public Input Map!

  • Western Washington Mobility Improvements Community Meeting 3.1.22

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    Join us for a virtual community meeting on to discuss roadway upgrades and traffic safety improvements on Washington Street.

    At this meeting, City staff introduce the scope and timeline of the possible sidewalk reconstruction and repaving project, review the Quick-Build Pilot, and explore future options with attendees. If you are not able to join, there will be an opportunity to provide feedback through a survey.

    The meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday, March 1, at 6:00 p.m. Portuguese interpretation will be provided. Interpretation into Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, or Nepali may be available upon advance request by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at somerviva@somervillema.gov or calling 311 at 617-666-3311.

    To join by phone:

    • For higher quality, dial a number based on your current location.
      US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 720 707 2699 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799

    • Meeting ID: 894 8829 0436

    • Passcode: 032025

    For any questions, please email transportation@somervillema.gov.

    Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or ADA@somervillema.gov.

Page last updated: 09 Feb 2024, 10:36 AM