Getting Around Somerville

Somerville is a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. One reason why is that there are a lot of ways to experience the city: walk around a favorite square, conquer the seven hills by bike, traverse thoroughfares by bus, zip about by train, or drive in a car. Find out the best ways to get around (and how to do so safely) using the tabs below.

For emergency situations, call 911. For reporting non-emergency problems with streets, call 311. You can call 311 24/7 (617-666-3311 from outside the City) to report an issue or ask a non-emergency question. You can also email [email protected]

To learn more about the City’s commitment to a culture of health, including safe and active transit, visit the Shape Up Somerville and Vision Zero websites.

  • Take a Walk

  • Go for a Bike Ride

  • Hop on a Train or Bus

  • Go for a Drive

  • Safe Routes to School

There are plenty of fun ways to go for a stroll in Somerville. Here are a few of our favorites:

Short on time? Check out the Somerville Walks map to get some ideas for quick, 5-minute walks near key transportation hubs.

Tips for Walkers

Since there are so many ways to get around Somerville, a lot of families choose to go car-free – even with kids! Here are some ideas from our neighbors in Cambridge.

If you regularly walk to work, you should register for MassDOT’s Emergency Ride Home program. They’ll help you get home for free if you ever experience an emergency during your commute.

Have you encountered accessibility concerns while navigating our streets? Fill out this form or contact Nency Salamoun at (617) 625-6600 x2323 to file a report.

If you’ve noticed that cars are driving too fast on your street, you can join or start a traffic calming intervention petition here. If you have a different safety concern, report it on the City’s Vision Zero website.

Important Safety Info for Walkers

The number one safety tip for pedestrians is to be seen! We know to “stop, look, and listen before we cross the street,” but we also need to be careful about where we cross: use designated crosswalks for better visibility and predictability. Be aware: avoid keeping your head down while looking at your phone or being otherwise distracted before stepping into a roadway, even if you have the walk signal.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Prompt snow shoveling is critical to pedestrian safety. Did you know? Property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property. If you’re a renter, check with your landlord about winter procedures. If you’re a renter and you’re able to do so, consider assisting with shoveling to help make our community safer for all, particularly those with mobility impairments as well as parents with small children. You can find more snow information here.

The City has a snow shoveling program that matches seniors with teens to shovel the sidewalk on their behalf. Sign up today and be ready when the snow comes! To sign up, contact Community Services Manager Chris Hosman at [email protected], or 617-625-6600 ext 2406.

Additional Resources

We work to ensure that everyone who bikes in or through Somerville stays safe on the road. Check out our bike facilities guide if you need help understanding what all the new road markings mean. Then, use this bike routes map to plan your next trip!

Tips for Cyclists

Somerville is one of several Boston-area communities that has a bike share partnership with Blue Bikes. If you’re interested in riding more but don't own a bike, you might want to sign up for a Blue Bikes membership. With Blue Bikes, you can easily get around Somerville, as well as to and from neighboring communities. Check out the station map to see if it will work for you. You may even be eligible for a discounted income-based membership!

Visit the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee (SBAC) site for more information on biking in Somerville. You can find things like:

  • A list of fun bike-related events and activities
  • Bike route maps
  • Tips for riding safely
  • Information on registering your bike with the Somerville police, locking your bike, and requesting a bike rack installation.

If you regularly bike to work, you should register for MassDOT’s Emergency Ride Home program. They’ll help you get home for free if you ever experience an emergency during your commute.

Important Safety Info for Cyclists

Staying safe as a bicyclist means being predictable! Make sure you follow the rules of the road. When riding in the street (either in line with cars or in a painted bike lane), ride with the flow of traffic in a straight line as much as possible: for example, don’t swerve in and out of open parking spaces. If you need to avoid road hazards like debris or potholes, use hand signals. When making turns, use a hand signal so cars know you are turning.  

In addition to following the rules of the road, you should also be aware of traffic laws for bicyclists.

Vision Zero is a project that aims to end traffic fatalities and injuries in Somerville. Visit the dashboard to learn more about the project and see stats on bike and transit safety.

Click here for a video demonstrating how to fit your helmet properly.

MBTA buses and trains run within and through Somerville. Plan your trip and view maps on their website. Be sure to check if you qualify for a reduced fare! The MBTA also offers paratransit service with The Ride.

Two free local shuttles also circle the area: the Tufts Joey and the Assembly Row Partners Shuttle

Eligible seniors can schedule rides with Door2Door for grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and more.

If you regularly take the train to work, you should register for MassDOT’s Emergency Ride Home program. They’ll help you get home for free if you ever experience an emergency during your commute.

Important Safety Info for Transit Riders

If you’re taking public transit, be sure to stay mindful and be careful! Taking the bus? Once you get off, don’t walk in front of the bus to cross the street. Wait until it has pulled away and cross behind. Taking the train? Never get on the tracks if you’ve dropped something—the tracks are hazardous, and even if you think you can jump back up, the platform is higher than it looks. An MBTA employee can assist you with the proper equipment.

Drive safely with tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Visit ParkSomerville for all your parking and permit needs.

Driving solo? See if you can make a green switch in your commute with information from Go Green Streets and carpool information from mass.gov.

New rideshare zones make drop-off and pick-up easier in Davis Square and Union Square.

Looking for ridesharing for children and families? Zemcar can get you there.

Need to drive occasionally but don’t want to own a car in the city? Carsharing opportunities like Zipcar may be the right option for you.

If you regularly carpool or carshare to work, you should register for MassDOT’s Emergency Ride Home program. They’ll help you get home for free if you ever experience an emergency during your commute.

Important Safety Info for Drivers

The most important safety rule for drivers is to be aware! Check for cyclists and oncoming traffic before opening car doors, both as a driver and a passenger—using the Dutch Reach is a great way to check! Also, use your directional! This helps drivers, walkers, and cyclists know how to position themselves in relation to your car because they know your next move. Stay at least 3 feet away when passing bicycles. Especially for large vehicles, check out the new educational video from the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee and other local partners on trucking in the city.

View maps of where all the crossing guards are posted around Somerville to plan the safest route to and from school or afterschool programming.

There are numerous state and national resources for learning more about Safe Routes to School programming and opportunities.

The Somerville Public Schools conducts annual Safe Routes to School lessons for all students: pedestrian safety training in 2nd grade and bicycle riding, safety, and rules of the road lessons for 5th graders.

 

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