Transportation

 

Expanding and improving transportation in the N-Squared Innovation District is one of our top priorities. We recognize that in order to attract and retain the best businesses and the best talent, our transportation infrastructure needs significant upgrades to meet the needs of an audience that increasingly lives without owning a car. We also know that no single mode of transportation or improvement can accommodate all needs or eliminate gridlock: only multi-modal solutions will address N-Squared’s needs and that’s precisely what we’ve been working on.

The good news is that our municipal and regional leaders share our concerns and, in at least some instances, our sense of urgency. The other good news is that -- while there’s still much to do -- a lot is either happening right now, has been funded, or been designed.

Here’s an update on what’s in the works that aims to enhance the ways motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit riders move to, from, and through the N-Squared Innovation District.

 

Needham Street and Highland Avenue Rebuild
Construction start expected: Spring 2019; Completion expected 2022
The most important and transformative project within the N-Squared Innovation District is the Massachusetts DOT redesign and rebuilding of a two-mile stretch from Route 9 in Newton to Webster Street in Needham. This newly rebuilt roadway will allow more people to move through thanks to a lining up of road crossings, a reduction in curb cuts, better walkability, protected bike lanes, and a widening of the bridge over the Charles River.

Green Line Upgrades
2018 through 2021
New MBTA Green Line cars that promise a more comfortable ride will be coming online this year, but also will increase capacity by roughly 10 percent and allow for faster boarding. The goal is to make trips in and out of Boston more efficient, more reliable, more comfortable, and easier for everyone involved.

Across the entire Green Line, the MBTA will add 24 new cars in 2018 to the existing fleet of 197, each with an average age of 25 years. In addition to the new cars, $235 million has been earmarked for a project aimed at upgrading the existing fleet by the end of 2021.

Intersection Upgrades
Throughout 2018 several key intersections in the area are either being upgraded or are undergoing the initial phases of a longer-term upgrade project. The goal is to make these intersections safer for both pedestrians and cars. In all cases, traffic signals are being upgraded to take advantage of new smart technology to allow for better traffic flow instead of relying on simple timers.

Upcoming upgrades include:
  • Dedham and Nahanton Street, set to be completed by summer 2018
  • Wells Ave entry at Nahanton Street, project to be studied in 2018 to understand how improvements will help with traffic flow, public safety and helping adhere to Complete Streets goals with work to be done the following year.
  • Oak Street and Christina Street, better aligning of the two streets, construction to start in 2018.
  • First Ave. and Highland Ave., new traffic signal will allow motorists direct access to I-95 from N-Squared’s Needham Crossing section.
  • Carlton Ave and Brookline Street, construction will align the two roadways in 2018.
  • I-95/ Route 128 Add-a-Lane Project has already opened all the new ramps to Kendrick Street. The full Add-a-Lane project is slated to be completed in 2018.

Bike Sharing
Expected launch: Summer 2018
Dockless bike sharing is coming to the suburbs! Newton and Needham, along with the Massachusetts Area Planning Council and 15 other municipal partners are working with bike sharing companies to help them start operating in the area.

Bike Infrastructure
The Upper Falls Greenway in Newton and the DCR path along the Charles River in Needham are two of the key protected bike paths in the area. The Upper Falls Greenway will soon be connected to Needham Street via a new spur along the Newton Nexus property. In addition, the connection from the Greenway to Columbia Avenue is scheduled to be improved, thereby making it easier to connect to the Green Line by bike via the Eliot MBTA station.

A project is also underway to beautify the Upper Falls Greenway by developing art projects along the path.

Painted bike lines are already in place along Winchester street, offering a pleasant country-like ride along the edge of the district, connecting the amenities of Needham Street with the bucolic settings of the Charles River Country Club and the Newton Community Farm. Newton is working with a consultant to look into additional bike lanes along Nahanton Street and Brookline Street. Those on Nahanton Street would meet with the existing bike lanes in Needham that end at the Charles River.

Additional bike passageways exist in Cutler Park as well as connections between Wells Avenue and both Millennium Park in West Roxbury and Saw Mill Brook Parkway in Newton.

When completed, the Needham Street/ Highland Ave. corridor will include raised, separated bike lanes.

Covered bike parking is available at 75 Wells Ave, as well as at the TripAdvisor headquarters. Indoor bike parking is offered at several local facilities.


 

 
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