Location: Davis Square occupies a strategic location in west Somerville, situated between Tufts University and the Somerville-Cambridge border. The Davis Square commercial district is located in Ward 6, although the Ward 5 and Ward 7 boundaries are only a few blocks away.
Access: Davis Square is located at the intersection of Holland Street, Dover Street, Day Street, Elm Street, Highland Avenue, and College Avenue. The MBTA Red Line stops in Davis Square, providing inbound access to Cambridge and Boston, and outbound access to Alewife. The Square is also served by several MBTA bus lines (88, 89, 90, 94, 96). In addition, the Somerville Community Path provides pedestrian and bicycle access to the Minuteman Commuter Bicycle Path.
Attractions: Davis Square is one of Somerville's most vibrant economic and cultural engines. It is home to many cafes, restaurants, theaters, clothing and sundry shops, as well as office space and a range of affordable to high end housing. The Square hosts several arts-related festivals each year, including Art Beat, Honk! and Open Studios. Located on the Red Line and less than a mile away from Tufts University, Davis Square is a true urban neighborhood with a diverse population and range of services.
History: Davis Square was first developed in the mid- to late-1800's with a number of transportation expansions that provided carriage road and horse-pulled trains. Later, the railroad that connected Davis Square with Boston, Cambridge and surrounding areas. From the end of the nineteenth century until the Great Depression, Davis Square was an active commercial center.
During the 1930's to the middle part of the twentieth century, many of the transit options were discontinued and many businesses, factories and residents left the area. During this time, traffic and parking, as well as a deteriorating local economy became significant issues.
In 1982, the Somerville Office of Planning and Community Development and the Davis Square Task Force created and adopted the Davis Square Action Plan which led to the construction of the bike path, Red Line station and a number of parking lots and street improvements. Coupled with growth in the economy and swing of investment and interest back into urban areas across the nation, Davis Square came back to prominence. Davis Square is now known nationally as a model of vibrant mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
Ongoing Development in Davis Square
Project Description: The future development in Davis Square will mostly be strategic infill or rehabilitation projects that will enhance an already vibrant community. Currently, the City is in the process of assessing City-owned parking lots in the Square and determining the future use of the Powder House School. The City is actively working on continued improvements on streetscapes, parks, playgrounds and open space. The City is requesting proposals for a comprehensive streetscape infrastructure analysis of Davis Square. The study will have a multimodal focus, and will assess safety, amenities and other infrastructure conditions in the Davis Square area. The enhancement of cultural events is another goal of the city that has led to the Honk! Festival and Open Studios. Outside of the Square but in the surrounding neighborhoods there are plans to upgrade the Clarendon Hill apartments and Capen Court residential areas west of Davis and Teele Square.
For more information, please see the links on the right.