The City of Cambridge expects to build two significant new bikeway connections around the edges of the Harvard campus before the end of 2020.
In two separate but linked projects, the city is making plans for upgraded bike lanes on Mount Auburn Street from John F. Kennedy Street to Massachusetts Avenue and a new bi-directional bikeway on Quincy, Bow, and DeWolfe Streets.
The Quincy-Bow-DeWolfe project would establish a new north-south bike route between the city's protected bike lanes on Cambridge Street and the Weeks Footbridge, which leads across the Charles River to Harvard's Allston campus.
These streets are currently one-way streets with limited bike accommodations. The city's plans would add a protected contra-flow bike lane (pictured in the rendering at the top of this post) to allow northbound access for bicycle users.
The southern end of DeWolfe Street, near Memorial Drive, will also get widened sidewalks, a pair of raised crosswalks, and a two-way cycletrack connection to the Weeks Footbridge:
The Quincy-Bow-DeWolfe bike route would intersect another bike lane upgrade that the city is planning for Mount Auburn Street east of Brattle Square.
That section of Mount Auburn Street, which currently has an unprotected painted bike lane alongside two lanes for motor vehicles, is identified as a link in the city's "priority network" in the city's bicycle plan.
Under the city's 2019 Cycling Safety Ordinance, reconstruction projects on Mount Auburn Street will be required to install separated, protected bike lanes.
But the city characterizes its current plans for Mount Auburn as a "quick build" project, which would make it exempt from the 2019 ordinance. The City's plans would still make room for protected bike lanes on some sections, but other blocks would retain paint-only bike lanes to preserve space for turn lanes and tour bus parking.
In a letter responding to the City's plans, the Cambridge Bicycle Safety organization wrote that "a continuous (protected bike lane) on Inner Mt Auburn St is essential... especially considering the high volume of tour bus, MBTA bus, and general motor vehicle traffic here."
In an emailed statement, Joe Barr, the Director of the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department, wrote that "we received a significant amount of feedback during the last community meeting, some of which was conflicting feedback. We are currently working to make final decisions about which changes will allow us to best meet the project goals. There will be refinements to the design, but we are still in the process of working through what those specific changes will be."
Barr also said that both projects are on schedule for implementation during the 2020 construction season, and that the city will also host pre-construction meetings for each project before work begins.