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Watertown Healthy
Transportation News

Friends Walking Together

May, 2019.  Welcome to the second edition of Watertown Healthy Transportation News, a production of the Watertown Department of Community Development and Planning, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, and Live Well Watertown.

Upcoming Events:

  • "Get Out Your Bike".  Saturday May 11 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (rain date, 5/19) at Watertown Square Dock, Charles River Road and Galen Street Bridge. 
  • Mount Auburn Bus Priority Project Open House
    Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    BB&N Administrative Offices (formerly known as the Sacred Heart School)
    46 Belmont Street, Watertown, MA 02472
  • Cambridge reconstruction of Belmont Street, from Mt. Auburn Street to Cambridge City Line, public meeting.
    Wednesday, May 15 at 6:00 PM at the Russell Youth Center, 680 Huron Avenue. For more information, go to:

Girl riding her bike

Get Our Your Bike!

Time to get your bike out of storage and get it in shape for spring and summer riding.  The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and Live Well Watertown are sponsoring this annual event with bike check-ups, trail maps, and safety tips.  Or, try a Lime Bike electric-assist bicycle.The event will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2019, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, at Watertown Square Dock, Charles River Road at the Galen Street Bridge. Rain date is 5/19. 

Bus Priority Lanes Save Commute Time

Did you know that more than half of all commuters on Mt. Auburn Street during rush hour are riding the bus?  You might not, because buses represent only 3% of the total vehicles.  In order to improve the public transit commute for bus riders, the Town of Watertown is working with the City of Cambridge, MBTA, DCR, and the Barr Foundation to provide a Bus Priority Lane on Mt. Auburn Street, from Cottage Street in Watertown to Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge.  Both the #71 and the #73 buses use it, as well as bikes and corporate shuttles. Early data collection shows a savings of up to 8 minutes in that segment during the morning rush hour, with minimal change for drivers.  Learn more about the project, and its results, at a community meeting. 
Mount Auburn Bus Priority Project Open House
Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
BB&N Administrative Offices (formerly known as the Sacred Heart School)
46 Belmont Street, Watertown.

Local Legislators Sponsor Bike and Pedestrian Safety Legislation

Representative Jon Hecht, Representative Dave Rogers, and Senator Will Brownsberger have sponsored a bill to make our roads safer for all users and especially cyclists and pedestrians.  The bill, known as  An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities, mandates side guards on state-owned and state-contracted trucks, establishes a safe passing distance for cars overtaking cyclists and other vulnerable road users, and calls for creation of a uniform reporting tool for crashes involving a pedestrian or cyclist. The bill further requires cyclists to have rear red lights when riding at night. Currently the bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee, having passed in the Senate. 

Bike and Pedestrian Plan About to Launch

The Watertown Town Council voted in April to move forward with a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  Watertown’s 2015 Comprehensive Plan recommends that the Town “Update the 2002 Bicycle Transportation reflect current land use [and] bicycle demands". Project goals include 1. Increasing opportunities for bicycling and walking, and thereby reducing the number of vehicle trips in Watertown;  2. Increasing safety and access for bicyclists and pedestrians, to promote biking and walking; and 3. Creating a road map for future improvements to the Bicycle and Pedestrian network in Watertown. The Town will hire a consultant over the summer. Watch for community meetings in the fall of 2019. The project will be managed by the Department of Community Development and Planning, with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and the Department of Public Works.

DCR Greenway from Huron Ave. Bridge, looking toward Mt. Auburn Street
DCR Greenway from Huron Ave. Bridge, looking toward Mt. Auburn Street

Pedestrian and Bike Path Under Construction:
The Watertown-Cambridge DCR Greenway

Construction continues on the 1.25 mile DCR Greenway, which will connect Watertown to Fresh Pond and points beyond with an off-road, multi-modal path. Rails and trees have been removed, drainage installed, and the path is taking shape. The path is expected to open officially in June of 2020. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. This is a state and federally funded project.

Read the MassDOT press release & coverage in Watertown TAB/Wicked Local.

Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee 

The Committee works to improve the bicycling and pedestrian environment within the Town for commuting and recreation. The Committee, formed in 1995, is composed of volunteer residents appointed by the Town Manager. Anyone interested in any aspect of bicycling or walking in Watertown is encouraged to attend and participate in one of our monthly meetings, which are always open to the public. Meetings take place at 7:30 pm, on the 1st Monday of each month (except major holidays or where noted) at Town Hall, Administration Building, 149 Main Street, Lower Hearing Room (unless otherwise noted). Meeting minutes and agendas can be viewed on the Town's website: 

Live Well Wattertown logo

The Live Well Watertown coalition promotes healthy living and offers community education programs aimed at preventing or managing chronic diseases and increasing overall well-being. Live Well Watertown offers a variety of activities, including Walking Wednesdays Lunchtime Meetup. Learn more about Live Well Watertown, a program of the Watertown Health Department, at

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