Kendall Square Is Getting Rid of Another Car Lane

A cyclist enters Cambridge on the protected bike lane at the western end of the Longfellow Bridge in May 2019. Under plans to be implemented this fall, similar improvements will be made for the eastbound lanes of Cambridge's Main Street.
A cyclist enters Cambridge on the protected bike lane at the western end of the Longfellow Bridge in May 2019. Under plans to be implemented this fall, similar improvements will be made for the eastbound lanes of Cambridge's Main Street.

In the midst of a development boom that will bring thousands of new workers and residents into the neighborhood, the City of Cambridge is continuing its policy of accommodating growth by re-allocating street space from private vehicles to cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation with a planned road diet on Main Street between Broadway and the Longfellow Bridge.

The road diet would extend the recent bike and pedestrian improvements that were implemented on the Longfellow Bridge to Boston, where a reconstruction project completed in 2018 widened sidewalks, installed flexpost-protected bike lanes, and removed one westbound travel lane for cars and trucks.

Concomitantly with the bridge project, the City of Cambridge removed a westbound car lane on Main Street to extend the westbound protected bike lane to Third Street in the heart of Kendall Square. But to date, the eastbound lanes of Main Street in Cambridge have remained in their older configuration, with two lanes for cars and trucks and an unprotected bike lane leading to the bridge. But a project expected to be implemented sometime this fall will change that.

“The City has been working closely with MassDOT to make changes to the cross section of Main Street and portions of the Boston-bound side of the Longfellow Bridge,” wrote Joseph Barr, Director of the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, in an email message. “This will remove a travel lane and install a separated bicycle lane starting just beyond the Main Street/Broadway merge, continuing along the rest of Main Street and onto the Longfellow Bridge itself for several hundred feet.”

Barr says that the changes will be implemented sometime this fall.

A sketch plan of enhancements to the eastbound approach to the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge illustrates the state's plans to reduce space for motor vehicles in order to add a buffer to the existing bike lane and install raised crosswalks for pedestrians. Courtesy of MassDOT.
A sketch plan of enhancements to the eastbound approach to the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge illustrates the state’s plans to reduce space for motor vehicles in order to add a buffer to the existing bike lane and install raised crosswalks for pedestrians. Courtesy of MassDOT.

Correction: This story was updated on Friday, Sept. 27 at 11:25 a.m. to correct the attribution of the quote from Joseph Barr. A previous version incorrectly attributed the quote to Najah Casimir, Communications Manager for the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department.

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