Dorchester’s Mass. Ave. Bikeway Project Delayed ‘Til 2022

A rendering illustrates the City of Boston's proposal to add a two-way protected bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Columbia Road in Dorchester. Courtesy of the City of Boston.
A rendering illustrates the City of Boston's proposal to add a two-way protected bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Columbia Road in Dorchester. Courtesy of the City of Boston.

The City of Boston announced Wednesday afternoon that a physically separated, two-way cycletrack planned for Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Blvd. and Columbia Road in Dorchester will be delayed until the 2022.

The mile-long bikeway has been in planning since 2019, and was identified as a priority “Better Bike Corridor” in the city’s Go Boston 2030 transportation plan.

In June, the city released its final design plans for the project, and announced that construction would be underway before the end of this year.

But in an email to project stakeholders on Wednesday afternoon, the Boston Transportation Department announced that its contractor would not begin work on the project until 2022.

“The project is delayed because of two unrelated challenges,” according to the email. “We were unable to secure the construction easement necessary to make the crosswalk across the Stop-and-Shop driveway accessible for people with mobility disabilities. As a result, we needed to make a number of design changes late in the process.”

The city also blamed ongoing construction material shortages related to the pandemic as another factor in the project’s delay.

According to the city’s design plans, the project would repurpose the westernmost lane of Mass. Ave. from Melnea Cass Blvd. to Columbia Rd. into a two-way cycletrack – essentially a protected bicycle path, separated from traffic with low concrete barriers – along the western curb of the street.

Modular concrete curbs would separate bike traffic from parking and the general travel lanes along most of the new bikeway’s length, with gaps at crosswalks and driveways.

The project would also add median barriers to restrict unsafe motor vehicle turning movements at some intersections, rebuild accessible curb ramps at crosswalks, and build five new “floating” bus stop islands between the new bike path and the rest of the street.

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