Eyes On the Street: A New Network of Protected Bikeways Around Harvard Square

A new protected bike lane on Mount Auburn Street extends east from John F. Kennedy Street near Harvard Square in Cambridge.
A new protected bike lane on Mount Auburn Street extends east from John F. Kennedy Street near Harvard Square in Cambridge.

The City of Cambridge has removed motor vehicle lanes and delineated new protected bikeways on several streets around Harvard Square, partly in response to the recent deaths of Darryl Willis, 55, killed in August while riding his bike in the square’s previously-unprotected bike lane, and Sharon Hamer, 67, a retired Boston Public Schools librarian, who was killed in September 2019 while walking across Brattle Street on the other side of the square.

A new ghost bike memorial to Darryl Willis, who was killed by a truck driver in Harvard Square on August 18.
A new ghost bike memorial to Darryl Willis, who was killed by a truck driver in Harvard Square on August 18.
New protected bike lanes on Brattle Street in Harvard Square, where the City of Cambridge recently eliminated one travel lane for motor vehicles to provide more space for bikes and pedestrians in response to recent killings by motor vehicle drivers.
New protected bike lanes on Brattle Street in Harvard Square, where the City of Cambridge recently eliminated one travel lane for motor vehicles to provide more space for bikes and pedestrians in response to recent killings by motor vehicle drivers. The Harvard Square plaza will eventually be expanded into this space, eliminating the empty pavement to the right of this new bike lane to create more public space for pedestrians around the busy Harvard Red Line station entrance.

The City of Cambridge is implementing two linked bike facility upgrades in the Harvard Square area. The Inner Mount Auburn project would add some physical protection to the street's existing paint-only bike lane, while the Quincy/Dewolfe project creates a new, bi-directional connection between Cambridge Street and the Charles Riverfront.
The City of Cambridge is implementing two linked bike facility upgrades in the Harvard Square area. The Inner Mount Auburn project  adds some physical protection to the street’s prevous paint-only bike lane, while the Quincy/Dewolfe project creates a new, bi-directional connection between Cambridge Street and the Charles Riverfront.

These “quick-build” improvements on Brattle Street and Massachusetts Avenue are only an interim safety measure until a planned reconstruction of the Harvard Square plaza makes the changes permanent with new curbs, crosswalks, and traffic signals. That project is expected to break ground within the next few months.

The newly widened bike lane with flexible post bollards on Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square. The City of Cambridge implemented the new layout after a truck driver struck and killed Darryl Willis while he was riding in the previous bike lane, which lacked any physical protection, earlier this summer.
The newly widened bike lane with flexible post bollards on Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square. The City of Cambridge implemented the new layout after a truck driver struck and killed Darryl Willis while he was riding in the previous bike lane, which lacked any physical protection, earlier this summer.

Meanwhile, the City of Cambridge is also putting finishing touches on two other quick-build bikeway improvements nearby: a new eastbound protected bike lane on Mt. Auburn Street, and a perpendicular route that would link the Charles River paths to Cambridge Street:

 

At DeWolfe Street, the new protected bikeway will include turn lanes for bikes bound for the new Quincy-Bow-DeWolfe bikeway.
At DeWolfe Street, the new protected bikeway on Mount Auburn Street includes turn lanes for bikes bound for the new Quincy-Bow-DeWolfe bikeway.

 

Preliminary pavement markings on Bow Street show the location of a new contraflow bike lane, which will be buffered from southbound motor vehicle traffic with flexible post bollards.
Preliminary pavement markings on Bow Street show the location of a new contraflow bike lane, which will be buffered from southbound motor vehicle traffic with flexible post bollards.

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