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McGrath Boulevard Project

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McCarthy/McGrath Overpass

Project Background

explained in text

Built prior to the construction of I-93, the original purpose of Route 28 in Somerville was to serve regional commuting traffic to Boston from the north. In its construction, Route 28, particularly the McCarthy Overpass bisected several Somerville neighborhoods creating a barrier to cyclists and pedestrians while isolating the Environmental Justice neighborhood of East Somerville. Within the past decade, the area surrounding the McCarthy Overpass has changed substantially and will continue to become more multimodal with the City of Somerville's goal in becoming the most walkable, cycleable, and transit accessible City in the nation.

This vision has been clearly stated by the Working Group and actualized in the concept, to convert the McGrath Highway into a Complete Street that fosters vibrant and safe street life while promoting the use of transit, walking, and bicycling as safe and accessible modes of transportation. These changes will slow traffic while creating more predictable driving behaviors resulting in a safer environment for all modes. In response to this, the Project Team's has developed a preliminary design concept to reknit the neighborhoods originally bisected by the construction of Route 28 in Somerville while activating the full potential of the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project to provide a seamless 21st century transportation corridor that is responsive to the community that currently exist there today.

Project Development Phase

The current phase known as the McGrath Boulevard Project Development has successfully achieved a preliminary design concept for an at-grade boulevard replacement of the McCarthy Overpass and improvements to McGrath Highway to be filed in an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) associated with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). This milestone has been reached through the support and contributions of the community representatives serving on the Working Group and the public at-large. While the central concern for this phase has been the number of lanes, the Project Team and Working Group have achieved reasonable consensus in producing a primarily four-lane cross section with left-turning lanes where volumes warrant it. Furthermore, the design provides separated bike facilities along both sides of the corridor, protected intersection design treatments, widened sidewalks, and clearly marked and adequately timed pedestrian crossings at intersection.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress (LTS)

In recently years, LTS has become a credited form in evaluating people's lived experienced and comfort from a non-motorized perspective. LTS is based on a scale from 1-4 with LTS 1 being suitable for the "interested but concerned" and LTS 4 being appropriate for only the 1% of "experienced and confident." Existing conditions bicycle conditions along McGrath Highway are essentially nonexistent resulting in the entire corridor receiving a LTS 4. The proposed build scenario will include separated bike lanes, protected intersection treatments, bicycle signals in addition to slower vehicular speeds resulting in primarily LTS 1 with sections of the corridor rated at LTS 2.

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