The City of Cambridge will install new flexpost-protected bike lanes and a new inbound bus-only lane by the end of this year on a half-mile section of Massachusetts Avenue from Alewife Brook Parkway near the Arlington town line to Dudley Street, near the North Cambridge MBTA bus garage.
The city's recommended design generally replaces existing on-street parking areas on Mass. Ave. to bike lanes, with a buffer zone and flexible-post bollards to separate bike traffic from adjacent motor vehicle traffic:
A concrete median exists along much of Mass. Ave. north of Harvard Square, which limited the options available to the city in re-configuring the street in the short term.
On the southern side of the street, in the eastbound direction, one of the four existing motor vehicle lanes will be reassigned as a dedicated bus lane, which would also be a legal loading zone for adjacent businesses during off-peak hours.
The bus lane will benefit the MBTA's route 77 buses, which served 7,190 riders every weekday before the pandemic.
During Tuesday's presentation, Andreas Wolfe, a street design project manager for the City of Cambridge, pointed out that the Town of Arlington has already implemented bus lanes for the 77 on its section of Mass. Ave. west of Alewife Brook Parkway, and "they saw significant improvements in bus travel," with time savings that ranged between 5 and 10 minutes per bus trip.
Wolfe also said that "our goal right now is to install this (project) by November, before the winter kicks in."