Safer Commonwealth Avenue (Phase 2a)


The city's latest plan diagram for Comm Ave
The new and improved design from the city of Boston (click for full resolution)

For years, we have been saying no to an inadequate design for Commonwealth Avenue in Boston that focuses on cars at the expense of biking, walking, and transit. The stretch of Comm. Ave. from the BU bridge to Packard’s Corner is about to get an $18 million dollar upgrade, with the project going to bid in fall 2015. The original plan, since 2009 and as of fall 2014, called for wider car lanes that would encourage speeding, narrower sidewalks, and no protected bicycle lanes. The city has since updated its plan to include crucial improvements suggested by LivableStreets, our partner advocacy groups, and the public. The plan now includes protected bike lanes, raised crosswalks, improved bus stops, and transit signal priority for the Green Line and 57 bus. This is a landmark improvement, and big victory for the 100,000 people using Comm Ave. Ultimately, we envision a seamless network of improved streets throughout Greater Boston.


  • Walking: safe, one-cycle crossings and raised crosswalks to protect you from turning vehicles
  • Biking: a cycletrack from end-to-end and protected intersections, to take a national lead on bike safety
  • Transit: stop-light signal priority for the Green Line and buses for faster, more reliable transit connections
  • Driving: calmer traffic, slower speeds, and reliable signal cycles so all people can move safely and easily
  • Business: loading zones for easy delivery; increased walking and biking traffic
  • People: a safe, open, and accessible street for all of us to live, work, and play


  • To date, our Street Ambassadors have collected over 2000 signatures and stories urging the City of Boston to change course.
  • We convened a coalition includes LivableStreets, Boston Cyclists Union, WalkBoston, MassBike and BU Bikes and collectively launched the Safer Comm. Ave. campaign.
  • Executive Director Jackie Douglas took Boston Transportation Commissioner James Gillooly on a bicycle ride along Comm. Ave. to highlight safety problems.
  • LivableStreets and Boston Cyclists Union (on behalf of the coalition) were invited to present to a packed room of public officials and consultants at City Hall.
  • BU students took matters into their own hands and hosted an open community meeting in December 2014 where LivableStreets and other coalition members presented and the over 150 attendees gave personal testimony, with Commissioner Gillooly and BU officials in the audience.
  • The city of Boston hosted a public meeting on March 24, 2015, to unveil their updated plan for the road, which now includes protected bike lanes, raised crosswalks, improved bus stops, and transit signal priority for the Green Line and 57 bus. 


In the news

  • "Protected Bike Lanes Coming To Commonwealth Avenue" featuring Jeff Rosenblum.Radio Boston, WBUR (3/25/15)
  • Listen to LivableStreets Jeff Rosenblum on Radio Boston, Radio Boston (3/25/15)
  • "Boston to install protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue" The Boston Globe (3/24/15)
  • "The city went back to the drawing board after an outcry by advocates, media criticism, and an impassioned public meeting two months ago at Boston University..." The Boston Globe (2/8/15)
  • “So the question is whether the Walsh administration and BU are going to step up and say, ‘[Do] we want the best and safest for our students and for the city of Boston, or are we going to settle for the status quo?’” BU Free Press (9/25/14)
  • “Rather fittingly, Gillooly joined LivableStreets Alliance executive director Jackie Douglas on a bike ride along Comm. Ave. at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.” BostInno (8/27/14)
  • “The city is moving backwards,” and includes a photo of LivableStreets volunteer Evan Sullivan gathering signatures in opposition to plans for Commonwealth Ave. Boston Globe (8/2/14)
  • Twitter Feed #SaferCommAve

Additional materials

For more information

Project Lead: Matthew Danish, [email protected], 617/621-1746

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