Following completion of the highly acclaimed improvements to Commonwealth Avenue Phase 1 (Kenmore Square to the BU Bridge), BETA was retained to design Phase 2A (BU Bridge to Alcorn Street) and to assist both the Boston Transportation Department and MassDOT through the Construction Phase. This effort provides the opportunity to continue the restoration of Commonwealth Avenue as one of the grand gateway boulevards to Boston. Commonwealth Avenue is a Complete Street with high demands by vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, trucking, bus transit and trolleys.
The project includes a broad range of safety improvements such as signal upgrades, protected turn lanes and phasing. There is significant bicycle activity (>350 bikes/hr) along Commonwealth Avenue. In response to safety issues for cyclists, the project will provide the City’s first separated protected bike lane designed in compliance with the City’s Complete Street design guidelines and MassDOT’s new design guide for Separated Bike Lanes.
A major challenge in the project’s development was balancing the competing demands on the available right -of-way width. Through an extensive workshop process, the Design Team coordinated with numerous City Departments, MassDOT, FHWA, MBTA, Boston University, Livable Streets, The Town of Brookline and many others to derive a design that met the requirements of all modes of transportation.
An extensive streetscape program will upgrade the corridor’s appearance. The program includes planting more than 120 trees, brick inlay treatments on sidewalks, period lighting, planters and street furnishings. In addition to the numerous roadway and streetscape innovations, the design team also modified the existing drainage system to incorporate extensive infiltration features. This innovation was an important consideration for Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s initiatives to reduce phosphorous loading in the Charles River basin.
Schedule was a critical consideration. The BETA Team successfully accommodated a condensed design schedule (twelve months to six months) in order meet the timeline for project funding.