Binney/Galileo/Broadway Streetscape Redesign Project

The CRA is redesigning the streetscape of Binney Street (from 3rd to Fulkerson), Galileo Way and a portion of Broadway (from Ames to Galileo) in Kendall Square. The intent is to incorporate a continuous separated/raised bike lane (cycle track) using the latest complete streets design principles, new landscaping and a redesign of the intersections along the way.  It will connect the protected cycling infrastructure that was built on Vassar Street 10 years ago all the way around the Binney/Galileo curve to meet up with the new cycle track on Binney Street between 1st and 3rd.

This design project is a collaboration between the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works (DPW), Traffic Parking & Transportation (TPT), and Community Development Department (CDD). This design project is funded using CRA funds generated in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area.

Working alongside the DPW, TPT, CDD, and Fire Departments, property owners, and community groups, in 2017, the design team will present alternatives. The primary deliverable of this project is to take the final selected alternative and create 25% design drawings that will be used by other parties to construct the improvements in phases over the next 3-10 years. This project will not reconstruct the roadway.

Above: New section of Binney Street opened in 2015 between 1st and 3rd Streets. This redesign project intends to continue the raised cycle track.

Above: New section of Binney Street opened in 2015 between 1st and 3rd Streets. This redesign project intends to continue the raised cycle track.

History / Background

As part of a goal of the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan (KSURP) to attract new development in the 1960’s through 1980’s, the CRA widened many roads in Kendall Square, in an effort to enhance mobility. The successful focus on transit oriented development and transportation demand management since then has created an opportunity to revisit various street designs to better match the multi-modal goals of the City of Cambridge (City) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, consistent with current transportation behavior trends in the area.

Over the past 10 years, many of the streets in and around the KSURP area have been rebuilt, usually reducing travel lanes and expanding facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. The roadway projects have been implemented by various parties (City, MassDOT, MIT, Alexandria Real Estate) and completed with various funding sources (CRA, federal earmarks, City Chapter 91, private developer capital) at different times and with different designs.

Above: Early photo of then-new Binney Street @ 6th Street (CRA Archives)

Above: 2017 image of Binney Street @ 6th Street with the High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon (HAWK)

Purpose

The CRA and the City have taken a leadership position on creating a unified design for these important streets and intersections. As new development proposals are permitted, a pre-approved design can be handed to an applicant for applicable portions of the streetscape related to their development proposal. This will lead to a more streamlined development process for both the City and developer, and a more consistent public realm.

A bike lane has been present along this corridor for over a decade. However, given the higher speeds of vehicles and the large volume of truck traffic, this corridor was identified by the City’s 2015 Bicycle Network Plan as a location for a separated bicycle facility.  Such an installation will be consistent with the City’s Complete Streets Policy and recent adoption of the national Vision Zero pledge. Cambridge is consistently rated one of the most walkable and bicycle friendly cities in North America and has one of the nation’s highest bike to work rates. The City has been on the forefront of using progressive street design principles and national best practices to constantly improve the comfort of the pedestrian and bicycle experience.

Above: Section of Broadway between Ames and Galileo that will be redesigned in this project.

Above: Section of Broadway between Ames and Galileo that will be redesigned in this project.

Design Priorities

The focus of this project is the holistic redesign of the roadway connection along Galileo Way and Binney Street across the northern boundary of the KSURP. Consistent with the Cambridge Bicycle Network Plan and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for KSURP Amendment No. 10, the purpose is to redesign this street to connect the raised, separated bicycle facilities along Vassar and Binney Streets. The priorities of this design work are to:

  • Create a protected bicycle link from the Vassar/Main intersection to the Binney/3rd intersection
  • Facilitate bus travel and enhance waiting areas
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle accommodations and safety at all intersections and crossings
  • Integrate streetscape and proposed bike and ped facilities with Binney Street Park, Grand Junction Park and the 6th Street Walkway
  • Preserve existing street trees
  • Accommodate new development on North Parcel of MXD (from 6th to Broadway on Galileo/Binney and Broadway between Ames and Galileo Galilei Way) as well as future Volpe development (from 6th to 3rd)
  • Adequately manage access to East Cambridge neighborhood streets (cut through traffic)
  • Evaluate how designs may interact with the railroad crossing at Broadway
  • Reflect the environmental sustainability goals of the City and Kendall Square EcoDistrict
  • Reflect the City’s commitment to Universal Design and accommodations for persons with disabilities in all infrastructure design

The City and the CRA maintain a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, including collaboration on the creation of the Kendall Square EcoDistrict. This design project will seek to be responsive to the sustainability goals and stormwater issues facing Kendall Square, and consider the implementation of innovative green/blue infrastructure concepts.

Above: Images of existing bus stops that will be part of this redesign project.


Project Scope Map

ROADWAY TO BE REDESIGNED

The following roadways are being redesigned in this project:

  • Galileo Galilei Way
  • Binney Street from the Fulkerson/Galileo intersection to the 3rd Street intersection
  • Broadway from the railroad tracks near the Galileo intersection to the Ames Street intersection 

*Note: for additional detail on what are considered minimum components of the roadway redesigns, please go to page 7 of the RFP.

Intersections to be Redesigned

Potential protected intersection redesigns:

  • Broadway/Galileo (including integration with RR crossing)
  • Main/Vassar/Galileo

Other intersections for redesign:

  • Fulkerson/Binney/Galileo
  • 6th Street/Binney/6th Street Walkway
  • 5th Street/Binney
  • 3rd Street/Binney (re-designed and re-built in 2014-2015, may remain the same)

*Note: for additional detail on what are considered minimum components of the intersection redesigns, please go to page 8 of the RFP.

Above: Intersection of Broadway and Galileo to be redesigned as part of this project.

Above: Example of a Protected Intersection from an unknown city in the U.S. What is a protected intersection? Click here to find out.


Project Documents

2016 Consultant Selection Process

Downloadable Reports, Images and Memos

  • Check back later, more project documents will be posted in Spring 2017

Presentations & Public Meetings

11/9/2016 Cambridge Bicycle Committee

12/1/2016 KSA Transportation Committee

12/7/2016 Cambridge Transit Committee

2/8/2017 Cambridge Bicycle Committee & Video

2/15/2017 CRA Board Meeting PowerPoint & Island Design & Keep Median Design & Video

2/22/2017 ECPT Meeting


Integration with Binney Street Park Design

The CRA has been working closely with community planners in CDD who are managing the design of the future Binney Street Park and their design team, Stoss Landscape Urbanism. This streetscape redesign project will help inform the park design team (Stoss) of the location and size of the sidewalk along the Galileo side of the park, landscaping treatments along the curb edge, as well as the placement of future bike infrastructure connecting the park to the larger Cambridge Bicycle Network. Note, however, that the park project will be constructing only the portion of the new streetscape design from the current curb line inward. The park project will not be reconstructing Galileo or Binney Streets, or building the raised cycle tracks that are found in this redesign project. More information on the Binney Street Park Design process can be found here on CDD's website.

Above: Latest Binney Street Park design concepts from CDD and Stoss Landscape Urbanism in November 2016

Coordination

The CRA is committed to ongoing direct coordination with stakeholders to ensure that the result of this streetscape redesign project is a set of realistic, actionable, 25% design drawings. Feedback from those who own property or have planned development projects along the corridor, those who operate public transit services along the corridor and those who may be implementing the design in the future as part of their planned development projects, has been or will be incorporated during the design process.

Property owners along the corridor:

  • MIT/MITMCO
  • Alexandria Real Estate (ARE)
  • BioMed Realty
  • Boston Properties (BP)
  • Biogen
  • Equity Residential
  • Residence Inn Boston/Cambridge

Transportation providers along the corridor:

  • MBTA
  • EZ Ride / Charles River TMA

Other Interested Parties:

  • Kendall Square Association (KSA)
  • East Cambridge Planning Team (ECPT)
  • Cambridge Bicycle Committee
  • Cambridge Pedestrian Committee
  • Cambridge Transit Committee
  • Committee on Public Planting

 

FAQ's

For answers to frequently asked questions, please click here