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.
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.
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:
“Giving primarily white and wealthy transit riders a free trip, while forcing primarily Black and low income riders to jump through hoops to access similar fare-free service, is exactly what structural racism looks like," says Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance.
The next baseline infrastructure bill can no longer ignore the need for common-sense vehicle safety improvements that save vulnerable road users’ lives, a coalition of advocates and lawmakers said on Tuesday.