NOTE: Beacon St. Closed from Park St. to Washington St. Through October. More information below:
Last Weeks’ Accomplishments Beacon Street was paved between Park St. and Washington St., on Wednesday, October 19. Two-way traffic has been reopened along all of Beacon St.
While work will not officially end for the season until mid-November, construction operations will continue on a much smaller scale until colder weather prohibits this work. Any traffic closures between now and the end of the season (barring any unforeseen circumstances) will only be small, single-lane closures as necessary for crews to conduct drainage work. Additionally, sidewalk work will continue between Oxford St. and Washington St., as weather allows.
On Monday, October 24, the City’s water and sewer team will be inspecting sewers in some areas, and for a period of time traffic may be restricted to one lane. There will be no full road closures during this work.
END OF SEASON UPDATE
While the final schedule will be heavily weather-dependent, major construction will wrap up by November 15 for the winter season. No roadway excavation is anticipated until the spring, except in case of emergency. Any sidewalk excavation that had begun will be completed prior to the end of this season. If sidewalks in your immediate area have not yet been excavated, no work will begin this year, but they will be completed during the following construction season.
On-street parking will be restored for the winter! In order to complete additional road work and remaining sidewalk work, parking will not be restored until mid- to late-November, however it will be restored on BOTH sides of Beacon Street, along the entire length, unless otherwise posted. Please check all posted signage.NOTE: When the project is complete (in approximately 2018), not all parking will be restored. For more information and project plans, visit www.somervillema.gov/beaconstreet.
Temporary Bike Lanes
Crews are currently also working on installation of the protected bike lane on Beacon St. Depending upon the work schedule in the coming weeks, the project team will reassess the condition and safety of existing bicycle infrastructure and bike lanes on Beacon St., and make a final determination on how to proceed for the winter. Please stay tuned for updates.
If you have questions, concerns, or a report of a health or safety hazard, please call 311 (for emergencies, always call 911).
There will be a drop-in meeting (no presentation, just come and ask questions) on Wed., Oct. 26, from 6 to 7 p.m. with City, state, and project staff, at the Thirsty Scholar Pub. Come for as little or as long as you’d like, and support a local business at the same time!
In 2016, MassDOT will begin a full-depth reconstruction of Beacon Street, which will improve the lifespan of the road by rebuilding the sub-surface, grading the surface for positive drainage, and installing a new high-quality asphalt surface. The roadway design will improve the safety and flow of traffic, while dramatically improving pedestrian accessibility and bicycle safety.
Improvements Above and Below Ground
Improvements will include:
New sidewalks and new crosswalks
Traffic and pedestrian signal upgrades between Oxford St. and the Cambridge City line.
New curbing and other drainage upgrades will be installed.
Tree canopy and landscaping will be dramatically improved, with more than 200 new tree plantings in high-quality planter boxes.
A separated bicycle facility along some portions of the corridor will provide enhanced protection for cyclists by physically separating bicyclists from vehicle traffic. This technique is a national standard intended to serve all ages and abilities of bicyclists, rather than just the young, strong or fearless who are comfortable riding in mixed traffic.
A full-depth reconstruction means that crews will dig all the way down to the base layer to completely replace the roadway. The new surface will thus be far less prone to pot holing than it is currently.
In 2015, water and sewer pipes were repaired using a cutting-edge, trenchless method to give the existing pipes a new structural lining. This involves injecting a coating into the pipes that lines the old pipe, hardens, and effectively creates a new pipe within the old pipe. The method requires less time, money, and excavation than traditional dig-and-cut pipe replacement.
Building a Better Bike Lane
Beacon Street reconstruction is Somerville's first roadway project that will include an exclusive bike lane that is separated from the roadway and traffic. Unlike bike lanes marked by a stripe of paint, separation can be achieved through pavement markings, curbs/medians, on-street parking, bollards, or a combination of these elements.
Parking will be removed to balance multi-modal needs along this busy corridor. On street parking on the even side of Beacon Street between Oxford Street and Museum Street will be preserved, but on-street parking on the odd-side between Oxford and Museum will be removed. Between Museum Street and Park Street that alignment will flip: on-street parking will be preserved on the odd-site, but removed on the even-side. Between Washington Street and Dickinson Street, on-street parking will be preserved on both sides of the street. Based on current use levels, a parking study determined that enough parking capacity would remain in the area despite this reduction in spaces.
As of 2015, the league of American Bicyclists ranked Somerville #3 in the country and #1 in the region for the percentage of bike commuters at 7.8%. The City's semi-annual Bike and Pedestrian Counts have repeatedly shown Beacon Street to be the city's most heavily used corridor with over 500+ cyclists during peaks hours. The installation of the separated bike lane will promote traffic safety for all road users while supporting the ever-increasing bicycling volumes along this multi-modal corridor.
Will there be any posted detours allowing bicyclists to avoid the construction?
The City encourages cyclists to use alternative routes during the construction. A recommended detour route has been prepared in partnership between the Somerville Traffic & Parking Department, the Somerville Police Department, and the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee. These routes will be marked with vertical signage.