Safety Improvements Coming to Washington Street starting in 2023!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 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 email@example.com or 617.981.2896.