Action: Sign Letter On Crucial Inman Square Redesign Changes

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 19

From the email:

Want to ensure that the design Cambridge is fast-tracking for Inman Square maximizes our ability to deliver on a vibrant, people-centered neighborhood? Please review and sign our letter calling for changes right now! Read on for more info.

As you know, the city is redesigning Inman Square and has selected a signalized design. The city’s proposed signalized design includes a number of essential features including protected bike lanes throughout the intersection, floating bus stops at the edges of the intersection, and a bus priority lane through a congested part of the intersection.

Unfortunately, the design also has two significant flaws that a coalition of neighborhood groups and residents, including Cambridge Bicycle Safety, are asking to be addressed.

  1. The current design includes four lanes of motor vehicle traffic in the heart of Inman Square, which represents a significant increase relative to the status quo.

  2. Because the design dedicates so much space to motor vehicles, it requires the removal of most of Vellucci Park, including a number of mature trees, in order to create space for cars to queue while still allowing for a new plaza space in front of Punjabi Dhaba.

These flaws are not necessary. The Inman Square Coalition has put together a list of recommendations for how the plan can be modified to avoid these flaws. The full list of recommendations is available here, and a letter to the City Council, City Manager, and other city staff in support of the core recommendations is available here.

TAKE ACTION: Please sign onto our letter requesting the city make these changes. Add your name here and share this email with your networks.

In addition to signing the letter, we encourage you to write your own thoughts to [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

We’ve placed some FAQs below.

The CBS core team


Q: Does the design really work with only two lanes?

A: Yes, the Coalition’s proposal has been reviewed by a traffic engineer and it works.

Q: What about the fire trucks, ambulances, etc? Will they be able to get through with only two lanes?

A: Yes, they will be able to get through. The two lanes will be wide enough for cars to pull over and allow fire trucks and ambulances to pass, just like they do on other two-lane streets around the city. The city’s other signalized design option included only two lanes, and although it was not chosen, the city gave it a thumbs up on public safety grounds.

Q: Doesn’t Vellucci Park suck anyway? Who cares?

A: Vellucci Park can and should get a makeover as part of the redesign process. But, its 40-year old trees – and their environmental and quality-of-life benefits – cannot easily be replaced. Also, even in the long run, the city’s design appears to create a net loss of contiguous open space, particularly when one looks closely at the placement of driveways in the proposed new plaza space. In contrast, if Vellucci is preserved and a new plaza space is created, the redesign results in a significant net increase in open space.

Q: Doesn’t the city’s design include protected bike lanes? Why are we still complaining?

A: Yes, the city’s design includes a number of awesome features, in particular, protected bike lanes throughout the intersection, which is a huge win for bike safety! However, that doesn’t mean that the design doesn’t have significant flaws, including safety flaws due to excessive speed at off-peak hours, etc., which the city should correct.

Q: I have additional concerns with the design. Should I still sign this letter?

A: Yes! And also send your other concerns separately. We are not claiming that this is an exhaustive list of concerns with the design. The Coalition’s two core recommendations are structural changes with the design that must be addressed ASAP in the design process, so it’s important to focus a broad consensus behind the need to make those two changes at this moment.

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