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For Immediate Release: 06/21/2016
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MassDOT Board Approves $20.4 Million For Reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue

Boston - On Monday, June 20, the MassDOT Board approved $20.4 million for the next phase of the reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

The project will include reconstruction of the road from Alcorn Street in Boston to the Boston University Bridge to improve traffic flow. A designated bicycle track will run throughout the length of the project and new streetlights will be installed. The westbound sidewalk will be widened to 25’ and the eastbound sidewalk will be widened to 15’. Also, sidewalks and ramps along the roadway will be rebuilt to be ADA-compliant.

The total length of the project is .63 miles. 

A new state of the art water infiltration system will be installed to prevent pollutants from entering the Charles River.

Overall, the project is designed to improve transportation for all users – vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians on the highly-traveled roadway. Currently, 35,000 vehicles travel over the road each day while 27,000 MBTA Green Line passengers use the four stations along the stretch of road. Approximately 30,000 pedestrians walk the road each day. In 2014, approximately, 3,000 cyclists used it each day.

“This project is an opportunity to make major multi-modal improvements to one of the main arteries into Boston. The reconstruction will make traveling to and from work every day safer and easier for all types of commuters,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “I would like to thank the town of Brookline, the City of Boston, Livable Streets, WalkBoston, and the Boston Cyclists Union for their partnership in helping MassDOT make this stretch of Commonwealth Avenue better for all users. I also thank Boston University and individuals who took time from their busy lives to attend the community meetings to help ensure this project is a true benefit to all of the roadway’s users.”

Federal highway funding will comprise of 80 percent of the project’s costs while the Commonwealth will provide the remaining 20 percent.

"As a growing city, creating a cohesive streets plan is vital to ensure Boston is accessible to all," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "The reconstruction of this portion of Commonwealth Avenue incorporates residents' feedback on their City streets to accommodate our pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. I thank MassDOT for their partnership in our goals to implement innovative transportation strategies and infrastructure upgrades to create safe streets."

The Boston University community will also benefit from the project.

"We’re delighted that the MassDOT Board has approved funding for the next phase of work on the roadways and sidewalks on Commonwealth Avenue adjacent to the west end of the university’s campus,” said Elizabeth Leary, director of Community Relations at Boston University. "It will brighten and beautify the western entrance to our campus. We’re pleased to be part of the partnership involved in this work and grateful to city and state leaders for their efforts in moving the project forward. This is part of the ten million dollar commitment from Boston University to the City to enhance the beauty of the roadway and ensure its safety for every commuter, pedestrian, bicyclist and driver along this vital boulevard.”

Liveable Streets highlighted multi-modal aspects of the Commonwealth Avenue project.

“We are excited about the project, not only because of the improvements it will bring for the 100,000 people who use Commonwealth Avenue today, but because the new design will make it more comfortable for even more people to walk, bike and take the bus,” said Executive Director of Liveable Streets Jackie DeWolfe. “Innovative design details like parking protected bike lanes, enhanced bus stops and protected intersections, will be a great demonstration of multi-modal transportation.”

WalkBoston highlighted how the project will benefit access to the MBTA’s Green line. 

“The redesign of Commonwealth Avenue to add safe bicycle accommodations and safe pedestrian access to the Green Line results in a successful overall plan that balances many elements: widened trolley boarding areas fenced to focus pedestrian crossings at crosswalks, a cycle track on both sides of the street protected by parked cars and other barriers, continuous safe sidewalks and shorter crosswalks, new and safer bus boarding areas, redesigned and relocated parking spaces, space for intersecting streets and driveways, and additional street trees,” said WalkBoston Senior Project Manager Bob Slaone.

The Boston Cyclists Union believes the new cycle track will make bicycling safer.

“The number of people biking is only increasing, and we need to see more commitments like this one to keep up with the demand for safer infrastructure.  Now, with MassDOT's pledge to fund and move this project forward, we could not be more excited for increasing biking and street safety in the city and region and hope to see much more of the same,” said Becca Wolfson Executive Director of the Boston Cyclists Union.

 

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