February 2023 Update
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
Newton Street - between Webster Ave and Springfield 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.