The City of Cambridge is starting to plan a quick-build complete streets project that will upgrade bike lanes and add bus priority infrastructure on Massachusetts Avenue through Porter Square within the next year.
In a memorandum delivered to the Cambridge City Council at its Wednesday meeting, Joseph Barr, Cambridge Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation, wrote that his department is “in the process of hiring a consultant to support the design of quick-build separated bike lanes along Massachusetts Avenue from Roseland Street to Beech Street through Porter Square.”
Design work is expected to start by the spring.
Barr’s memo also noted that the route is a “key component” of the MBTA’s 77, 83, and 96 bus routes, and promised that “all efforts will be made to incorporate transit priority” in the upgrades.
Traffic congestion on Massachusetts Avenue through Porter Square currently causes significant delay for passengers, according to a 2016 Central Transportation Planning Staff analysis of MBTA bus speeds and congestion.
Upgraded bike lanes on this segment of Massachusetts Avenue are required to be built under the recent amendments to the city’s Cycling Safety Ordinance, which sets a deadline for installing separated bicycle lanes along much of Massachusetts Avenue by April 30, 2022.
Porter Square has been a high priority for Cambridge cycling safety advocates. In October 2016, a truck driver sideswiped and killed Dr. Bernard “Joe” Lavins, an experienced bike commuter, while he was riding through Porter Square.