From design to construction, the Main Street Reconstruction Project has been many years in the making. The vision was for a Main Street streetscape unique to Kendall Square, and was developed through the City’s collaboration with residents and businesses who helped with planning and participated in meetings about the future of this area. Today, it can now be enjoyed by all who live, work, and visit Kendall Square.
Design & Infrastructure Improvements
The improvements to Main Street are a result of infrastructure recommendations outlined for Kendall Square during the K2C2 planning process. These recently completed improvements include:
- Enhanced areas for people who walk, bike, take transit, or drive;
- A new bike and vehicular connection from Third Street to Main Street (now called the “Third Street Connector”);
- Reconstructed sidewalks;
- Full bike lanes;
- A contra-flow bike facility, with bike signal, providing access to Third Street from Main Street;
- An improved mid-block crossing between the subway entrances through raised crosswalks and curb extensions;
- Expanded space for bus transit and bikers;
- Increased total number of street trees by 20
- New pedestrian amenities — street lighting, seating, plantings, bus shelters;
- A new larger Hubway station; and
- Double the number of bike racks in a combination of City standard racks and also artist-designed racks fabricated in stainless steel.
The new connection from Third Street to Main Street is a particularly significant part of this project. It facilitates increased transit, bike, and vehicular connections, and improves urban design by connecting Main Street to the broader Kendall Square area. Enhanced pedestrian amenities facilitate a more direct southbound connection to buses. Also, the new Third Street Connector allows for future bus connectivity between Lechmere Station and the Kendall/MIT Station, and flexibility for bus expansion in the area.
The 20 feet wide sidewalks in the area now have a 10 feet “path of travel” and a 10 feet “furniture zone.” New furniture throughout the corridor encourages collaboration and comfort through newly created “mini rooms” along the street. Also, contemporary black powder coated benches complement pre-cast star shaped concrete benches. These amenities punctuate the large crossing at the Marriot Plaza, create visual interest, and offer atypical types of seating.
Challenges of Improving Infrastructure in Dense Urban Areas
When designing above-ground public space and roadway infrastructure, below- ground infrastructure can play a defining role. For example, sidewalk and public space design along Main Street is influenced by the Red Line tunnel. There is also a proliferation of existing water, sewer, telecom, electrical, and plumbing lines below Point Park that any redesign would need to consider.