City of Somerville Highland Avenue Redesign Project in full swing

by Highlander News staff

The work began earlier in 2023 and is expected to finish in 2024. 

Aging pipes, constructed in the late 1800s - early 1900s and water quality problems were motivators for redesigning Highland. Thus, the city is coordinating the Spring Hill Sewer Separation Project and the Highland Ave Redesign Project to meet water needs as well as streetscape and mobility needs. 

Potential benefits of this project include better traffic signals and patterns, better green stormwater infrastructure that will improve infiltration, and sewage, drainage, and water main repairs. It will also add protected bicycle lanes, which will require the limiting of parking to only one side of the street. However, parking will be made more efficient by focusing on rules regarding loading zones and pick up and drop off locations.

Increasing the accessibility of Somerville’s streets and sidewalks for people with mobility issues is also a focal point. All sidewalks will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The redesign hopes to better accommodate people of all mobility levels as well as those using any type of transportation, particularly bikes and buses. In a survey of 82 people done by the project committee, 53 of them got to Highland Ave by walking, biking, or bus. While only four of these were bikers, 11 said they would prefer to bike if it was safer. Somerville welcomes a wide range of transportation methods, and the redesign project wants to improve the viability of these methods on Highland.

Somervision2040, which aims to increase the percentage of commuters without cars in Somerville to 75% by 2040, has guided the green initiative of the redesign process.

The project is headed by Brad Rawson (Somerville’s Director of Transportation & Infrastructure), Justin Schreiber (Transportation Planner - Mobility Division), Kate White (Community Outreach Coordinator - Mobility Division), and Viola Augustin (Transportation Planner/Designer - Mobility Division). The link to information about the redesign and future meetings can be found here.