Please send an email before July 3!

The Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation will soon rebuild the Cambridge St overpass between Harvard Ave and Lincoln Street and repair the Franklin St pedestrian bridge. This $10 million, 2 year construction project can be improved in several ways:
  1. Our neighborhood deserves to look good, with street trees, attractive fencing and proper lighting
  2. We need safe ways to cross Cambridge Street at Linden Street and the top of the Mansfield St stairs, not just at Lincoln Street and Harvard Ave
  3. Bike lanes need to be separated from the auto lanes with curbs, cones, or planters so they are safe for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
  4. All pedestrian routes during and after construction must be safe for seniors, children, and the disabled. Project #606376

Group letter to MassDOT

We encourage all folks interested to submit their own letter (by July 3rd!), but you may also sign onto a group public comment letter (link). A web sign-up form is now available at to put your name down, and it will be submitted along with the letter by the deadline.

In Missouri, they got $4.5M to beautify highway overpasses

I-70 Enhancement Project:

MoDOT's goal is to design and construct visual enhancements to the Interstate 70 highway from Goodfellow Boulevard to St. Louis Avenue. Senator Jean Carnahan and Representative Clay secured $4.5 million dollars in federal transportation funds, with the assistance of Mayor Slay's office. 

MoDOT has held a series of neighborhood workshops in early 2002 that allowed residents to express their concerns on the existing conditions and recent construction of the corridor. I-70 is the front door to the city of St. Louis and what enhancements are made are very important to the people living, driving and working nearby. 

Numerous issues were expressed regarding the lack of landscape, the chain link fencing, the concrete slope embankments and general appearance of the recent construction. Residents wanted the corridor to reflect the spirit of the people and architectural character of their neighborhoods.

Thoughts from Storrow Drive

Current and planned pedestrian overpasses over Storrow Drive have railings look are much less like a jail than the "anti-missile" fence currently on Cambridge StreetAlso, it is nice that the State cares enough about making a nice looking Storrow Drive to plant these flowers. It would be nice to see similar beautification efforts as part of the new Cambridge Street overpass.

Why does the westbound bike lane end?

In the proposed design, cyclists heading west on Cambridge Street (towards Harvard Ave) would see their bike lane end and merge into a "shared use path" for pedestrians and cyclists.

It isn't clear why this is a good idea.

Many cyclists will continue straight on Cambridge Street or turn left onto Harvard Ave. Bringing them up onto a sidewalk (even if it is 13' wide and called a "shared use path") would seem to create a crowded mess.

This is particularly problematic because this stretch of sidewalk will have:
  • people walking east (up the slope of the overpass) 
  • people walking west towards Harvard Ave
  • bikes going east from Harvard Ave to the Franklin Street bridge
  • bikes going west (downhill)  because the bike lane ended
It is hard to imagine how all these activities can co-exist safely in a 13' wide zone. Perhaps a few feet of the grass strip next to the sidewalk (between the parking lot retaining wall and sidewalk) could be used for the new sidewalk which would make more space for bikes and fewer conflicts.

Need a complete eastbound bike lane

The proposed design has no bike lane between Harvard Ave and Linden Street for eastbound cyclists. This is shown by the red line in the drawing below. Then the bike lane would start after you pass Linden Street. 

A better design would have a continual and complete bike lane for eastbound cyclists.

How can construction impact be minimized?

A certain amount of disruption is inevitable for a project of this size on a road that carries more than 20,000 vehicles every day.

What could be done to minimize this disruption and give people more options for better travel?
  • Add some Hubway bike rental stations in the area? As the map shows, the nearest ones aren't that close.
  • Increase the frequency of the MBTA bus routes?
  • What are your ideas?

Beware the Linden Street Detour

There may be no way to avoid this inconvenience, but it is not going to be pretty.

For several months of construction, the north block of Linden Street will be reversed, so instead of going north to Cambridge Street, it will go south to Pratt Street.

This means that if you are going north on Linden from Comm Ave or wanting to turn onto Linden from Brighton Ave, you will not be able to travel on Linden to Cambridge Street. Instead, you will have to use Harvard Ave, following the black line shown above.

This portion of Harvard Ave is already very congested during rush hour, and this added traffic will only make it worse.

When the Franklin St Overpass is closed

One phase of this project will involve closing the Franklin Street bike/ped overpass for repairs. During this time, what alternate routes are available?

You could take the long route shown in yellow. MassDOT recommends the blue route using the stairs and ramp at the end of Mansfield Street.

Unfortunately these stairs and railing are in bad shape, the ramp is too steep for a wheelchair, and the whole thing is impassable in the snow. Some repairs and improvements seem necessary for this to be an adequate route while the Franklin Street Overpass is closed.

Need Safe Crossings During Construction

During several months of construction the north sidewalk of the overpass will be closed. MassDOT suggests that we use the path in green during this time.

Not only is that a much longer walk, it is also not a safe walk, especially in the area circled in yellow. There is no curb cut and no crosswalk and even though it isn't raining today there is a huge puddle. No problem if you are a fit 25 year old, but not everyone can get around that easily.

Its a Bridge, not a Jail

Walking over the Cambridge Street Bridge is far from a beautiful experience today.

But that doesn't mean that the new bridge needs to look as sad as today's bridge does.
In Redding, California this bridge over Highway 44 incorporates a mountain scene.

.Here's one in Missouri that looks pretty good
And here are a couple more:

State plans 2-year, $10m project to rebuild Cambridge Street bridge over I-90 in Allston

The state is planning a two-year, $10-million project to completely rebuild a bridge that carries Cambridge Street over the Massachusetts Turnpike and commuter rail tracks in Allston

For an estimated 18 months of the construction period, Cambridge Street will have just one eastbound traffic lane and two westbound travel lanes open between the project limits

For a six-month phase of construction, Linden Street between Cambridge Street and Pratt Street will become a one-way southbound, reversing its current configuration as a one-way street northbound. During that period, northbound traffic on Linden Street will be rerouted to Harvard Avenue.

The project will also include foundation repairs and patching of the Franklin Street pedestrian bridge that runs from Cambridge Street, over the turnpike, and connects to Lincoln Street. The pedestrian bridge will be closed for about six weeks while areas of the deck are repaired. Pedestrians will be directed to the stairs and ramps and the east end of Cambridge Street

MassDOT Presentation at June 17 meeting

June 17 Meeting Presentation for the Cambridge Street Overpass

MassDOT's proposed design