One of the most iconic landmarks in Boston is about to experience an extreme makeover. According to the Boston Globe, the Longfellow Bridge – you know, the salt-and-pepper-esqe connection between Kendall Square and Beacon Hill – recently released renovation designs which would significantly alter its current car, bike and pedestrian lanes.
Under the new plans, the 105-year-old bridge will lose a vehicle lane on the outbound side, heading toward Cambridge, replaced by a wider bike lane and sidewalk. The inbound lanes will still have two lanes of vehicle traffic, but will also gain a wider bike lane and sidewalk. The Red Line tracks which run through the middle of the bridge will remain the same size.
The project will weigh in at a hefty $300 million, funded by the state of Massachusetts. Construction is set to begin next year, and will take about three years to complete. Unfortunately for the 25,000 cars and thousands of cyclists who frequently shuffle between Cambridge and Boston via the Longfellow, the bridge will be closed to outbound traffic for most of its construction. Additionally, the Red Line may be replaced by shuttle buses. Insert commuter groans here.
While all the construction is annoying, in the end, I think the Longfellow is due for a makeover. I used to jog from Cambridge into Boston via the bridge last summer, and the sidewalks were extremely crowded to the point of being unmovable during rush hour. Plus, I’ve said it before, this Ride the City map shows that Boston is seriously lacking in bike lanes. The Longfellow’s renovation is a step in the right direction.
Still, don’t take my word for it; the state is holding a public meeting on the plans at the State Transportation Building in Boston from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on March 1st.