This is the second of multiple posts covering all of the ideas generated at the Somerville by Design: East Somerville Design Charrette that was held September 30 – October 2, 2013. We have numbered all of the images so that it is easier to reference them when providing feedback.
Feedback should be provided using the comments section below to facilitate discussion among the entire community of East Somerville for each idea presented. For any further questions, please contact the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development at 617-625-6600.
East Somerville has always been a highly walkable neighborhood at least partially because motorists are primarily around East Somerville, rather than through it. However, high use of one way thoroughfares within East Somerville also makes it difficult for cyclists to navigate through the neighborhood.
The following ideas are focused on increasing cycling access in East Somerville:
The closest Hubway station to East Somerville is the Union Square station. We’re suggesting three new locations to bring service to the area: a centralized location along Broadway, at the Sullivan Square T Station, and at the new Washington Street T Station.
Pearl Street connects Gilman Square to Mount Vernon Street and is the only direct east/west connection in East Somerville. The street is highly utilized by motorist, pedestrians, and cyclists. This idea is focused on making Pearl Street a “bicycle boulevard” by using both street and roadway signage to identify this thoroughfare as a primary route for bicycle traffic. Motorists will be reminded that cyclists have the right to use the entire lane. A bike boulevard will reduce speeding on Pearl Street and reduce the risk of cyclists being doored. The image below shows the current condition of Pearl Street.
The many north-south one-way thoroughfares in East Somerville make it difficult to take a direct trip from Broadway to Washington Street. We understand that increasing motor vehicle traffic on local streets is not a desirable outcome of opening up access, but increasing accessibility for cyclists is certainly possible. Creating a north-south connection through the use of a bike boulevard or dedicated 2-way cycling lane can be used to connect Broadway to Washington Street. Depending on which street might be utilized in particular, this could be implemented in a number of ways using the existing right-of-way space.[Editors Comment] We caught an idea related to cycling that was not numbered, so the next two ideas will be 5A and 5B. Sorry for any confusion.
The Broadway Streetscape Project will provide a bike lane the length of Broadway until Mount Vernon Street. Assembly Row Drive already has a bike lane. Unfortunately, the two do not connect under the Assembly Row Drive underpass. This is a vital connection for cyclists. Access has already been provided to pedestrians and motorists.
The City of Somerville is currently investigating the development of a wayfinding system for the entire city, but East Somerville is perhaps one of the best examples where its implementation would have a large benefit due to geography. A wayfinding system can provide both locals and visitors with an understanding of just how easy it really is to get from one place to another – including Assembly Square, Sullivan Swuare, Washington Street, and Broadway. Making Somerville a great community for cycling should include a wayfinding system that helps people understand how to get around and provides each neighborhood an opportunity to brand itself. East Somerville Main Streets has already done some work in this area and could easily tap into the benefit a wayfinding system can produce for connectivity and marketing. You can learn more about the effort at branding East Broadway at: http://bit.ly/1e3y6wJ
Be sure to check out all of the East Somerville idea posts: