Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016
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.
Updates & Alerts
Presentations & Notes
Updates & Alerts
Line Striping Begins
On Friday, December 23, from 7 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m., crews will complete painting and line striping for vehicle, bicycle, and parking lanes between Oxford St. and Washington St. In order to complete this work efficiently and safely, no parking will be permitted between Oxford St. and Washington St. during these hours. Any car parked on Beacon St. between Oxford and Washington as of 7 a.m. on Friday morning will be towed.
Beacon St. between Oxford St. and Park St. will be closed to all traffic between 7 a.m. and approximately 12 p.m. Traffic will be detoured along Somerville Ave. and Park St..
Beacon St. between Park St. and Washington St. will be closed between approximately 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Traffic will be detoured along Dane St. and Washington St.
Access for abutters along the entire length of Beacon St. will be maintained throughout the day.
For cyclists, the City recommends using established detour routes publicized earlier this summer, which are available at
Work will be completed by approximately 5 p.m., and once complete, the temporary parking plan for Winter 2016-17 will go into effect. For the full plan, visit www.somervillema.gov/beaconstreet , or refer to an email update sent on Dec. 13.
Winter Parking Information
Though major construction has now wrapped up for the winter, we want to provide you with an important update regarding the status of parking over the winter.
Over the last several weeks, the construction team as well as City and MassDOT transportation and planning staff have reviewed proposed plans for vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic along Beacon Street for the winter months. As a result of the concerning number of bicycle-related fatalities this summer and fall, all of which occurred in highly trafficked areas very close to Beacon Street, our team has carefully made the determination to reduce the number of available on-street parking spots this winter in order to retain safe width for vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. While a number of options were considered, including a reduction in travel lane size(s), safety is and must be our top priority.
The temporary parking plan for winter 2016-2017 will be as follows:
EVEN SIDE PARKING:
- Allowed: from Oxford St. to Musuem St., and from Park St. to Washington St.
ODD SIDE PARKING:
- Allowed: from Kent St. to Park St.
Bike lanes and bike travel accommodations are as follows:
- Marked bike lane from Roseland St. to Oxford St., feeding into a protected bike lane from Oxford St. to Museum St.
- There is a gap in the protected lane from Sacramento St. to Beckwith St., where temporary posts will be installed to connect the curb lines and to prevent vehicle access.
- At Museum St., cyclists will transition to an on-road, painted bike lane against the curb
** NOTE: DO NOT RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK in this location
o After Park St., the painted bike lane transitions back into a protected bike lane, which continues until the approach at Washington St.
There is an on-road, painted bike lane.
**NOTE: between Park St. and Kent St., vehicles are allowed to park between the bike lane and the curb line. USE CAUTION.
Note for all: please be mindful that we are seeing bike counts back to pre-construction levels already ( approximately 400 bikes per hour). We ask that all who travel on Beacon St., whether drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians, please be cautious and be courteous.
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.
The bike facility type is supported by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Federal Highway Adminisrtation (FHWA) Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide, and MassDOT's Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.
Balancing Multi-Modal Needs
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.
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.
Please see the detour routes below:
Please call 311 from any phone within the City, or contact 311 by dialing 617-666-3311 from anywhere
Reporting Construction Hazards:
Call 311, which will be routed to all City and MassDOT project staff, including the private contractor.